End of free drugs for senior citizens in Spain.

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This ends the free distribution of drugs for pensioners in Spain. The government begins to charge 10% of the value of the prescriptions with a limit between 10 and 20 euros depending on income. Pensioners with low and medium pensions will not pay more than 10 euros per month. If they pay more than this amount for three consecutive months they will be entitled to a refund of the difference.

How are you affected by health co-payment if you’re retired?

No more free medicines. If you are retired, effective July 1, 2012 will have to pay 10% of the drugs prescribed by the doctor you. If your income is less than € 18,000, you will pay no more than 8 euros a month. If your income is above the ceiling is 18 euros. If you go over this amount the state gives you back the money, although this process varies from region to region. As of August 1 will have to pay 100% of a total of 425 different medicines.

So far, the National Social Security Institute (INSS) recognized the free medical and pharmaceutical care for pensioners. Medicines are free for both the beneficiary and family members who are in charge. In the case of pensioners from other EU countries, they can receive the same services under the same conditions as Spanish pensioners. That is, a European pensioner temporarily visiting Spain and has the EHIC card does not have to pay for prescription drugs. If you are paying more than € 18,000 per year for your prescriptions you will have to pay 50% of the cost. If you only pay up to € 18,000 per year, you will have to pay 40% of the prescription and people who pay more than € 100,000 per year will have to pay 60% of the medicines. Te affect follows:

– Less than € 18,000:        40% of the value of the prescriptions.
– From € 18,000:               50% of the value of the prescriptions.
– More than €100,000        60% of the value of the prescriptions.

At first the Government raised the minimum annual prescription cost from € 18,000 to € 22.000  but then withdrew to settle the limit back at € 18,000 and a fixed by the regulations published in the BOE .

In this way the government creates a payment system based on the age of the person and their annual income. This takes into account income, but not equity.

This new legislation involves  the implementation of new health cards including each person’s tax data, thus when citizens go to the pharmacy they will be charged according to their income.

How does the copayment system work?

You pay on one hand, the other State. Here’s how the health copayment. This method was already used in Spain in purchasing medications prescribed by your GP. The patient pays 40%, the NHS 60%. Pensioners are the only ones that remain exempt from this new legislation.

The news is that from now on, the percentage you will pay, in most cases, will be greater. Another novelty is the possibility that the unemployed who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, receive medicines free of charge worldwide .

Moreover, people over 26 who have never worked are also entitled to be served by public medicine and receive prescriptions. In the previous system they had to be beneficiaries of other people, for example, their parents.

  4 What if my prescription does not have a code?

The health co-payment entered into force on 1 July 2012. Prescriptions issued before that date do not have any code that reflects the income of the citizen. In these cases, the pharmacist will know how much you have to pay through a computer system called IPAF. To avoid problems, always bring your ID to the pharmacy. In some cases a health card may be insufficient.

  5 If you suffer from a chronic illness you will pay a maximum of 10%.

One thing you should keep in mind is that people suffering from chronic diseases pay for prescriptions based on their personal situation. If you are retired and receiving a non-contributory pension you will pay nothing for these drugs. If you are retired, you get another type of pension but you need a drug on the ATC group (chronic diseases), you will pay a maximum of 10%. This percentage is the same as paid workers suffering from such a disease.

Depending on your income the limit to pay for these drugs will be between 8 and 60 euros per month. If you pay more at the pharmacy, the NHS will pay back the difference in the account where you domiciled pension. You do not have to do anything. Your data and your recipes will be reviewed at the end of each month.

If you want to be safe, check your account periodically to check that you are returned the money  overpaid. If there is any error, file a claim in the office of the National Institute of Social Security or the Ministry of Health in your autonomous region.

  6 The co-payment in Catalonia: a euro prescription.

Catalonia was the first autonomous community health copayment adjustment . From 1 June 2012 doctors prescriptions in this autonomy cost 1 euro. This measure will affect residents in Catalonia and those who are just passing through.

The only exception is for drugs with a lower price of 1.67 euros. In this case the prescription is free.

We explain this process in detail in practicograma ‘How are you affected by health copayment in Catalonia’ .

  7 Up to 425 drugs will lose its public funding.

The government and the regional governments have approved a list of 425 medicines that are no longer funded by the state. Thus, if your doctor has prescribed any of these drugs, you can not benefit from a discount. You will have to pay the full amount. The list is subject to change from time to time and could be expanded to add treatments involving drugs that have not yet been included. For more information, see the practicograma ‘How are drugs that stop financed and have to pay’ .

  8 86% of primary care physicians are in favor.

The health co-payment arises with two objectives. On the one hand to curb public spending and re-organize accounts NHS. The Government aims to achieve savings of more than 3,000 million euros. It also seeks to reduce unnecessary visits to the doctor and the costs incurred by the State.

survey conducted by the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians reveals that 86% of these doctors are in favor of establishing “some form of co-payment.” They feel the need to reduce unnecessary consultations and to contribute to the financing of the National Health System.

47% think that it is best to charge per visit, 33% for each visit to the doctor unnecessary.

  9 A debate that takes airtime.

The implementation of health co-payment takes several months in Spain in the air.Jesus Plywood, vice president of the CEOE, was in favor of this formula in an interview with RNE in October 2011.

“There are people who can afford to pay for these services,” said the businessman.Then he made specific reference to “workers, employers and pensioners”. The proposed co-payment system would fit the business income of each person. Everyone would have to pay, but always according to their income.