Q. Having just read your article Worried Over Medical Bills I question the statement that the medical card is valid in all of Spain.
My wife and I have held a SIP card for five years and every year we spend five or six months in Tenerife. Each time we try to use the SIP card there we are told they do not accept it. Could you clarify?
K.A. (Costa Blanca)
A. Tenerife rejects your SIP card because it is not a Spanish Social Security card. In the Valencian region your health services are provided by the Valencian health service and in Andalucia, they are delivered by the Servicio Andaluz de Salud. They are all part of the national system but they are individually administered, often with some differences.
The SIP card is one of these differences. The SIP stands for Sistema de Información Poblacional, (System of Information regarding the Population). Every resident of the Valencian Region is supposed to have one. Even a newborn baby gets a SIP. Basically, it is a census. The SIP card entitles holders to health care, but only in the Valencia Region.
Thousands of SIP cards have been cancelled on the Costa Blanca because the holders have not met all the conditions required. A foreign resident who has no means must obtain from his home country a statement that he does not have the right to medical assistance there. A retired person receiving his pension can transfer his medical care to Spain, receiving a Spanish Social Security card valid in all regions.