My situation is that I am working in Morocco but not a permanent resident inasmuch as I leave the country to go back home every 3 months precisely not to lose my health care benefits there.
I was recently in Madrid for a short, 5 day break and needed to see a doctor for an acute problem that I was sure I needed antibiotics for. The hotel referred me to the University Hospital, where I was triaged and then seen, even though I was the lowest priority, within an hour. I was given a prescription for 2 strong antibiotics. I paid a proportion of the cost for these at the pharmacy.
Now, some months later, the hospital has written to me saying that I owe consultation fees of 180 Euros. I had my valid European Health Insurance Card with me, which I had assumed gave me the same costs and services as a Spanish person would get. I understand that a Spanish person would not be paying 180 Euros for this service.
My question is, why should I pay this? Is this normal?
I'm actually not inclined to pay at all. To be honest, I would have preferred to see the private doctor in the clinic across the road from the hotel for 80 Euros if I had known I would have been landed with such a stinging bill from the public sector - the result would have been the same, it was a simple diagnosis and I would have been given the same very specific drugs.
Is this a mistake? As I said, I am not amenable to paying this. No one mentioned to me that there would be a bill for emergency treatment at the time, nor gave me any form warning me that this was a possibility. What can they do if I simply don't cough up?