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Traveling? Leave your (health) worries to the European Public Health givers

by Jack Wright

In a short while, summer in Europe will come to and end. In fact it’s over up north. At this precise point, we can safely say that for the Spanish tourism industry it has been a banner season seeing the influx of enthusiastic foreign and local tourists to Spanish playgrounds, from inland and coastal hotels and resorts to charming little casas rurales after the pandemic confinement.

And the outbound rush of Spanish nationals and residents who couldn’t wait to fly the coop is comparable to the influx. Moreover, after summer, travel will continue to be uppermost in the minds of people around the world, not least the Europeans, who had been locked out of the exciting world outside. Heat or cold, fires or droughts, will likely not be much of a deterrent as they have not been this summer. Can’t blame the tourists, gripped as they are by post-pandemic wanderlust. It seems they must make up for lost time imposed by the pandemic lockdown. They won’t wait for their suntan to pale before they enthuse over new plans for those long weekends that crop up on their work calendar, the Christmas holidays, and even as far away as next year’s spring and summer vacations.

Spain’s Ministry of Health, shown above, located in Madrid, to which the Sistema Nacional de Salud de España belongs, is responsible for the issuance of the Tarjeta Sanitaria and the Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea

And a card in time saves nine hassles during vacations beyond national borders. Therefore, Spaniards and their European brethren had better be aware, if they aren’t yet, that there’s such a thing as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Free of charge, this card entitles travelers to public health assistance in the country they’re visiting if they are nationals or residents of a country in the European Union plus the UK, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. First issued in 2004, by 2015 there were already 200 million EHIC holders.

However, only those who in their home country or country of residence hold a card for statutory public health insurance (in Spain this card is called the Tarjeta Sanitaria issued by the Sistema Nacional de Salud de España) are entitled to the European Health Insurance Card (Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea).

For a comprehensive info on the Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea, and especially how to apply for the card if you’re from spain, go to

Ministerio de Inclusion, Seguridad Social y Migraciones

Featured image/Brigitte Werner, Pixabay
Ministry of Health/Luis Garcia (Zaqarbal), CC BY-SA3.0 via Wikimedia Commons