The European Commission has opened a disciplinary file on Spain for discriminatory practices that violate EU regulations regarding member citizens’ rights to social security cover when travelling within the Union.
Although the EU healthcard should guarantee any EU pensioners full access to public healthcare and medication when travelling to another member state, the Spanish Ministry of Health says the card does not prove the holder is a pensioner. Spanish nationals do this by showing their DNI national identity card.
Spanish law does allow EU pensioners to obtain free medication, but those on holiday in Spain must produce another document released by their national social security department, that certifies they receive a state pension.
Health ministry officials claim many pensioners present documents ‘of dubious validity’. “A photocopy, at times illegible and in a language not widely understood, is not valid proof of a pensioner’s status,” says the ministry.
The Ministry of Health has already replied to the EU ultimatum saying OAPs on holiday in Spain are required to do the same as Spanish pensioners, namely, prove they are pensioners. The suggestion is that the EU healthcard is altered to include a field showing the pensioner's status.