Medical insurance companies in Palma have reported a “spectacular” increase in policies taken out in recent months by immigrants from the European Union and outside the community, especially the latter. One company said that this because health insurance was necessary before a residence permit can be issued. The same source said that an immigrant from outside the European Union had to be registered in the social security service of his or her own country, or have private insurance, before obtaining a residence permit. The controversial reform to the law on foreigners also stipulates that an applicant should have enough money to cover the costs of surgery, but sources at the government representative's office say that this happens “only in one case in a thousand.” Sources at the foreigners' department declined to tie the increase in policies with the obligation of having health insurance to obtain a residence permit. If an immigrant has a work permit and a job in the islands, he or she comes under the Spanish social security system and therefore has health cover. One of the medical insurance companies said that if a foreigner seeking a policy did not have a residence permit, they would not be accepted. However, this is not the case with other companies. The foreigners' department said that an immigrant who did not have a work or residence permit could contract private insurance.


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