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New co-payment scheme for Spanish medical prescriptions

The Spanish health service is under pressure. One of the ways in which it is hoping to increase revenue is through prescription charges. But announcements about the increase in the cost of prescriptions have caused both consternation and confusion.


This is the information we are aware of at the time of writing. On July 1 a co-payment system for prescriptions in Spain was introduced. Everyone now has to make a contribution towards the cost of medical prescriptions in Spain according to their income.

This new co-payment system is being implemented in two stages:

Stage 1

From July 1 anyone given a prescription in Spain should notice that it will include the percentage of the cost of the medication that they have to pay. This percentage will be taken from information about your income obtained from the annual resident tax declaration (IRPF).

Anyone with an income greater than €18,000 a year will have to pay half the cost of the medication. Those below this amount will pay up to 40 percent. Pensioners with an income of less than €18,000 who have made a tax declaration will pay 10 percent with a maximum payment of €8 per month. Pensioners with an income greater than €18,000 will pay a maximum of €18 per month.

If you have not made an annual resident tax declaration in Spain there will be no indication on the prescription of how much you must pay. Instead, blanket charges will be made of 40 percent for non-pensioners with low incomes and 10 percent for pensioners. However, it is important to note that no income information means no cap on your monthly contribution.

Stage 2

Longer term, the intention is that this rate of pay information will be incorporated into your Spanish SIP card. A chip inside it will link to your resident tax declaration. This information will be much more specific and it will be increasingly difficult to obtain a discount if you haven’t presented a tax return in Spain, even if it is a zero one.

Evidently, we would all prefer prescriptions were free. However, drugs and medicines remain a substantial drain on the economy. The Spanish government is trying through this means testing to ensure that the contributions people are asked to make are administered as fairly as possible.

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Ábaco Asesores

Ábaco Asesores is a firm of lawyers and tax advisers established on the Costa Blanca in 1999. We have clients all over the world and provide legal and tax advice in seven different languages.

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1 Comment for “New co-payment scheme for Spanish medical prescriptions”

  1. If you are not earning anything at all why do i still have to pay 40% for my medication.

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