Spain’s National Health System is thought to be one of the best within the world, with both public and private facilities providing a high degree of care. State care is free of charge to anybody living and working in Spain; you need to have a Social Security number. Expats should register on the municipal register to receive a Social Security number and card, which may then be presented at the local doctor’s surgery to receive a medical card.
Those who are employed, a child, pregnant, receiving benefits, studying, a pensioner, or have an EHIC card may receive free care. chances are, whether on vacation or living in Spain, you may be able to receive public medical care.
The public hospitals in Spain are well equipped and staff are very skilled and sometimes bi-lingual. If not, most usually have interpreters available. The sole drawback of general hospitals is that of the waiting time to access specialists and have special procedures carried out.
Many expats choose to opt for private services as queues tend to be shorter than the general public system and there’s a wider access to different treatments and specialists. Single consultations within the private sector are very affordable, however costs will increase if complications or an emergency arise. this is often why it’s imperative to take out insurance if you wish to utilise the private sector.
For minor sicknesses and injuries, many employ the numerous 24-hour pharmacies dotted throughout Spain. thanks to strict price restrictions, medicines are reasonable in Spain, and just about anything can be purchased over the counter. All pharmacies will have the sign of a neon green cross displayed outside.
The emergency number in Spain is 112. Most operators are able to speak English and can dispatch the relevant emergency service, as well as private ambulances. whether or not public or private, Spain is championed for its short wait times for emergency help.
Expats ought to keep in mind that the majority medical workers aren’t fluent in English, however a voluntary translation service is typically obtainable.
The National Health Service of Spain incorporates a wide network of hospitals and health centres set throughout the country. These health centres offer primary care services that embody family and general practitioner services, nursing and paediatric medicine, social workers and physiotherapists. inclusively, if circumstances require, it’s usually possible for the medical professionals to travel to the patient’s residence.
Anyone who pays into the Spanish Social Security system can make use of the government-subsidised public care system. Visitors who are from another European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) member state and can present a legitimate EHIC or equivalent are going to be able to use the Spanish public care system at the same price as locals. For the most part, unemployed, non-EU citizens won’t be able to use the general public care system have to got to contribute to a non-public medical insurance scheme throughout their stay within the country.
Health Insurance In Spain
As you know, the vast majority of immigration procedures in Spain require the purchase of health insurance. But there are dozens of options. Many offers, hundreds of companies, different prices. Which one should you choose?
A health insurance is nothing more than a contract in which the insurer pays all the health and medical expenses that the insured may need for a year. And it does so in exchange for a monthly fee. It is widely known that Spain has one of the best health care systems in the world. And it offers those services for free. However, unless you are a Spanish citizen or a resident employee or self-employed person, you cannot benefit from it. That’s why many immigration procedures require that foreigners who are setting out to live in this country take out private health insurance.
Do I need health insurance to live in Spain?
It depends. The answer depends on the amount of time you are going to spend in the country and on your country of origin.
If you are only going to be in the country for 3 months, you will only need travel insurance. And this is very important; because not having one can be a cause for denial of your entry to the country. However, this is only valid for non-EU residents, as EU residents are entitled to free health care in Spain during the first 3 months of their stay. They will only need the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
On the other hand, if your stay is of long duration (more than 90 days), then you will need to have a private health insurance contract, regardless of whether you are from the EU or not.
How much does a health insurance cost?
Prices are not that high compared to other western countries. As a rule, those valid for residence will cost less than 100 euros per month. If you buy a family package, which includes several people, the individual prices will be drastically reduced. The cost will vary according to the company and especially according to the age of the insured.
Types of Health Insurance
There are basically three different types of health insurance in Spain:
Firstly, there is the travel or tourist health insurance, also called medical insurance for non-resident foreigners. Then there is the health insurance for students in Spain. Finally, all the private medical insurance required for foreigners residing in the country.
Travel medical insurance for tourists
In cases where you enter Spain as a tourist, staying less than 90 days in the country, you will be required to have travel insurance. This insurance must be valid throughout the European Union. It must also cover hospitalization in case of emergency or repatriation in case of medical necessity or death.
The law does not explicitly require them to do so. However, on many occasions foreigners have been denied entry because they lacked this type of insurance. Even if they did not need a visa. So, our advice is to apply for one and protect yourself legally against a possible ban on entry into the country.
Health insurance for students
As you know, to get your student visa you need to have a specific medical insurance contract. Public or private, you must have the same health coverage as the Spanish national health system. In addition to being valid throughout the country.
Health insurance for foreigners
This is a crucial requirement for the application and residence to be successfully accepted.
Not only will you need a medical insurance plan, but you will also have to make sure that it meets certain criteria. And that will largely depend on the type of residence permit you are trying to obtain. Please note that many visa application rejections occur only because the health insurance was not valid.
The first thing to consider is that your health insurance should be private and comparable to what the Spanish public health system offers. Obviously, if you already benefit from public health care in Spain there is no need to take out private insurance for your immigration procedure.
There are many companies and many different offers. But not all of them will be valid to match the characteristics of public health care. Tourist or travel insurances are not valid for you to get your residence permit. Health insurance for a residency permit must have complete coverage. This means that there cannot be any period of time when you do not have any type of benefit. You must contract a complete package, which covers hospitalizations or any type of medical transfer.
With maximum coverage
It must be valid throughout Spain, covering any type of illness or disease.
Valid throughout your stay in the country
It is crucial to understand that your health insurance is linked to your green card. In that sense, the contract with the insurance company must be valid for the entire duration of your permit. If you want to renew your card, you must also renew your health insurance subscription for the duration of your stay.
If you want to apply for any of the following residencies, start looking for a valid insurance company:
- Non-Profit Residency Visa
- Investor’s permit or golden visa
- Long-term residence in the EU
- Registration certificate for EU citizens living more than 90 days in Spain
- Entrepreneurial visa
- Visa as a family member of a community
- Residence permit for job search
Please note that both the principal applicant and his/her family members, if included in the joint application, must also have this contract.
In what situations is it not necessary to have private health insurance?
Basically when you are registered with the Spanish Social Security, something that happens when you work in any company or as a self-employed person. In those cases you are already paying monthly contributions to the Social Security, so you can benefit from the public Health System. Thus, you don’t need an extra medical insurance.
Do undocumented immigrants have the right to health care in Spain?
Yes, undocumented immigrants in Spain have access to basic health care in Spain.
They have this right for a period of 90 days. After the Healthcare Reform in 2012, foreigners without papers could only benefit from healthcare in case of an emergency, such as a major illness or childbirth. But now they have access to full services for 90 days.
How Health Insurance Works in Spain
If you are planning to move to Spain, you are probably busy making plans to obtain your employment status and arranging accommodations. But it is also important to consider how you will stay safe and well. It is important you understand what medical treatment is already covered in Spain. You should seriously consider health insurance if you plan to live in another country, otherwise you could end up with major medical bills to pay if you get sick.
Spain Health Care System
In Spain, health care is provided by the National Health System, which has an extensive network of primary care centres with some 800 hospitals and 2,700 medical centres throughout the country. However, as the country is divided into different regions, the availability of services varies, which means you may have to travel to a different area for specialized treatment if facilities are not available locally.
Doctors in Spain are as highly qualified as in any other European country, sometimes more so. Many doctors and nurses speak English, especially in tourist areas. In major urban centres it is also often possible to find an interpreter to help with communication if one is requested in advance.
In order to be eligible for state health care in Spain it is necessary to contribute to the Spanish Social Security system. This involves working for a Spanish company or being registered as a self-employed person in Spain and obtaining a Spanish Social Security number. The Spanish health system suffers from waiting lists for certain types of treatment, so many locals also purchase private health insurance.
Who is covered by Spanish health insurance?
All employees and self-employed workers in Spain are required to make social security contributions, which in turn entitles them to Spanish health coverage. The spouse and children of workers are also entitled to health care in Spain, provided that they also reside in Spain. Some additional conditions are listed here.
EU / EEA / Swiss nationals
EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who have reached retirement age in their home country are entitled to free health care in Spain. To qualify they must obtain a Form S1 (formerly known as E121) from their country of residence. The acquisition of this form before departure is recommended and will help simplify the registration process in Spain. You can read more about EU citizens moving to Spain.
European Health Insurance Card
EU residents staying temporarily in Spain can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles them to receive medical treatment at the same cost as a Spanish citizen.
Nationals of third countries
Nationals of non-EU/EEA countries may be required to provide proof of private medical insurance before being granted a Spanish visa. However, some non-EU countries have an agreement with Spain, so it is important to inquire about your rights with the consulate or embassy in your home country prior to your arrival.
EU citizens studying in Spain will also be covered by their EHIC during their period of study. However, non-EU students may be required to take out a private health insurance plan prior to arrival, although your university can provide more details.
Health Insurance For Expats in Spain
Migrating to Spain requires contracting health insurance, as your health insurance is a really important part of your residence permit application, but there are many of options out there. Here we will analyse all the important considerations when choosing health insurance as a foreigner in Spain. From how the Spanish health care system works to the specifics of all the private options.
Health insurance is nothing more than a contract in which the insurer pays all the medical and health expenses the insured may have during one year. And it does so in exchange of a monthly fee.
It is widely known that Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but unless you are a Spanish national or self-employed or employed resident, you won’t be able to benefit from it. That is why many immigration procedures require expats who will start living in the country to contract private health insurance.
Do I need medical insurance to live in Spain?
It depends. The answer depends on the amount of time you are going to spend in the country and your country of origin.
In that sense, we find the following distinction:
If you are going to spend just 3 months in the country, then you just need travel insurance. And this is really important, as it can be one of the reasons that can deny your entry to the country.
Nevertheless, this is only true for non-EU nationals, as EU residents are entitled to free health care in Spain for the first 3 months of their stay. They just need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
On the other hand, if you are staying for the long-run (over 90 days), then you’ll need to hire a private health insurance contract, no matter if you are from the EU or not.
So, with the aim to answer this question, in the vast majority of the cases yes, you’ll need medical insurance to live in Spain.
How much does expat health insurance cost?
Prices are not that high in comparison to other western countries. As a general rule, those that are valid for your residency will cost less than 100 € per month.
If you a purchased a bundled one together with your family, individual prices will be reduced drastically.
Prices will vary according to the company and specially to the age of the insured individual.
But focusing on price may not be the best alternative, as there are specific requirements your contract must meet for your residence permit application to be valid.
Types of health insurance contracts
There are, basically, three different types of medical insurances in the Spanish territory:
• First of all we find the travel or tourist health insurance, also called health insurance for non-resident foreigners.
• Then we find health insurance for students in Spain.
• Finally, all the private health insurance contracts that are required for foreign residents in the country.
We will now analyse each of them carefully so you can understand the main differences.
Tourist health insurance
In those cases in which you enter Spain as a tourist, staying less than 90 days, you may be required to get a travel insurance contract.
If your country of origin requires you to get a tourist visa to enter Spain, then you 100% need to contract this type of insurance.
This insurance must be valid throughout the whole European Union.
Furthermore, it must to cover hospitalization in case of emergency or repatriation in case of medical need or decease.
This sums up to a minimum of 30.000€ of coverage.
On the other hand we find those tourists who are not required to possess a tourist visa to enter Spain. Should they hire a tourist insurance contract?
The law doesn’t explicitly require you to do so. Nevertheless, on many occasions foreigners are not enabled to enter because they lack this type of insurance.
So our advice would be to get one and legally protect yourself against a possible entry rejection.
Health insurance for students
As you may already know, obtaining your student visa requires having a specific health insurance contract.
Public or private, it must provide the same health coverage the national Spanish healthcare system provides; and be valid throughout the whole country.
That insurance company must be certified to operate in the Spanish territory.
And what happens if you wish to renew your student visa to extend your stay in Spain?
That your health insurance must still be valid for the time the extension lasts.
Health insurance for your residence permit
Throughout all the articles in this website we’ve covered the application procedure for the main visas and permits in Spain.
And whenever we encountered the specific requirements a non-EU citizen must meet in order to get the residency we stumbled upon health insurance contracts.
Indeed, that is a crucial requirement when it comes to getting your application accepted.
Not only will you need to hire one, but also you must make sure that it meets certain criteria.
And that will vastly depend on the type of residence permit you are trying to obtain.
Which conditions should my medical insurance contract meet in order to get residency Spain?
Bear in mind that many application rejections do happen because the health insurance was not appropriate.
So, what should you take into consideration when choosing one?
The first thing to consider is that your health insurance must be private and can be equated to the offerings of the Spanish public healthcare system.
Then, of course, if you already benefit from public healthcare in Spain, there’s no need to contract a private insurance for your immigration procedure.
Nevertheless, in case you actually need one, you will find different options.
Many companies and many offerings. But not all of them will be valid to match the features of the public one.
Tourist or travel insurances won’t work for your residency application.
Which are, then, the basic features the immigration office will require?
Lack of co-payments
This basically means that you don’t have to pay every time you go to the doctor or hospital. Your health insurance must cover all those types of visits, no matter their nature.
No vesting periods
Meaning that it can’t have any period in which it lacks any of its features.
It must be complete
You need a complete package, covering hospitalizations or any kind of medical transportation.
With maximum coverage
It must be valid throughout the whole Spanish territory, covering any type of disease or illness.
Valid during your whole stay in the country
It is crucial to understand that your health insurance contract is tied to your residency card. In that sense, the contract with the insuring company must be valid throughout the whole validity of your permit.
Types of Health Insurance in Spain
The use of private health insurances has recently increased in Spain. Approximately 18 percent of the population has private health insurance. The advantage of using private insurance in Spain is that there are much shorter queues. This is because private care often has its own network of clinics and hospitals. In addition, private health insurance has even more advantages: everything is more comfortable and the clinics are equipped with modern technologies. In some cases you can even talk with doctors that speak your native language.
What types of health insurance are there?
There are different types of health insurances depending on the coverage they offer. Normally you’ll find full medical insurance to be the most complete in terms of services, but you can also opt for a more limited range of services, choosing for example a Dental Insurance.
Full Medical Insurance
Your health insurance company provides you with a list of doctors and clinics that you can visit at no extra cost because they are included in the company’s medical directory. They can be with or without co-payment. Reimbursement of expenses: you can go to any doctor you want, but you will have to assume part of the cost.
Mixed Health Insurance
With this option, you can go to the associated centres or choose another one and receive a percentage reimbursement of the bill, depending on the situation.
These policies only cover consultations with specialists and do not include hospitalisation.
These are policies that cover visits to the dentist and some treatments.
How much does Health Insurance Cost in Spain?
Health Insurance prices can vary from 50€ to 350€ a month approx.. The price depends on the plan you choose.
Why is private health insurance is important in Spain?
Let’s be clear. Accidents can happen and will happen. A private health insurance for Spain guarantees you in this case the optimal care.
As a private patient in Spain, you also enjoy a number of advantages that will help you make a quick and stress-free recovery. For example, if you have private health plan, you will be accommodated in a single room and have the option of having a relative close by.
Which residence permits and visas require health insurance for its application?
The vast majority of them. Nevertheless, here’s a quick list that will give you a general idea.
If you are preparing to apply for any of the following, start looking for a valid health insurance plan:
• Non-lucrative visa
• Investor permit or golden visa
• Long-run EU residency
• Registry certificate for EU citizens living more than 90 days in Spain
• Entrepreneur visa
• Family member of an EU citizen card
• Residence permit for students who are looking for a job or setting up their own company.
Take into consideration that both the main applicant and its relatives, if included in a joint application, need to have this contract.
When do you NOT need private health insurance in Spain?
We have explored those situations in which it is required to get your contract, but when it is not required?
Basically when you are registered on the Spanish Social Security, something that happens when you are employed in any company or working as a freelancer or self-employed individual.
In those cases you will be already contributing on a monthly basis to the Social Security, hence can benefit from the Public Healthcare System in Spain.
What is the European Health Insurance Card?
A free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.
Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider.
Important – the European Health Insurance Card:
• is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,
• does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,
• does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.
Please note: when you move your habitual residence to another country, you should register with the S1 form instead of using the EHIC to receive medical care in your new country of habitual residence.
Despite the high standard of public healthcare in Spain, most expats and wealthy locals opt to make use of private healthcare. Expats using private care are going to be able to avoid the queues and waiting lists related to the country’s public healthcare system. Spanish private hospitals typically have wonderful facilities and deliver top quality, attentive service and improved comfort for patients. Private healthcare in Spain can be usuriously expensive, and per se it’s essential that all expats intending to use it take out comprehensive international healthcare insurance. without the help of private insurance some treatments in private hospitals are often prohibitively expensive.
Pharmacies and medications
Pharmacies in Spain are plentiful and easily accessible. Spanish pharmacists are typically knowledgeable and economical and may often suggest medications and treatments without a doctor’s prescription. Expats living in larger urban centres can find that some pharmacies will open 24-hours, and there are even some that may deliver medication to one’s home. Expats living in rural Spain could have a problem obtaining medication after hours. Expats who qualify to use public healthcare are going to be able to purchase most medications at reduced rates. it’s sensible to seek out out the generic name of any long-term medicinal drug, as whole names tend to vary from one country to another.
Emergency services and important numbers
Expats in Spain will be able to use the general EU emergency number, 112. Operators on this line are going to be able to speak English and communicate with the relevant local emergency service. 061 is the specific local medical emergency number for Spain. Those living in urban areas can have access to timely emergency response services, whereas expats in rural areas could experience longer wait times or maybe have to drive themselves to hospital. Expats ought to also note of the number for his or her home country’s embassy or consulate for cases of emergency.
Spain Expat health insurance Guide
If you’re heading to Spain – either as a tourer or associate expat – it’s important that you understand how you’ll access the care facilities on offer. We’ve put together an entire guide to health insurance in Spain ensure that you make sure that you’ll get the treatment you need while away… The reality is that many tourists and expats visiting Spain from another EU country are under the impression that an EHIC (European health insurance Card) grants them free and unlimited access to healthcare in Spain. Sadly, this is usually not the case. various stories exist of disappointed visitors not receiving the standards of care they expected. If you’re heading to Spain shortly and are seeking to know how the healthcare system works and whether or not you need health insurance read on for our clarification explanation of the system as of 2016…
Is Healthcare Free in Spain?
As in most countries there are two broad kinds of care on offer in Spain; public, state-funded facilities and privately-run facilities. curiously, whereas the queues in private clinics may be shorter, several expats report similar standards of care whether or not choosing personal or state facilities.
Some expats moving to Spain are going to be entitled to “free” care if they meet one in all the subsequent requirements:
• health insurance for employed Expats
Those expats who move to Spain so as to work can typically be registered for a Social Security number and can then pay into the Spanish system. due to these payments working expats can then gain access to the state-run Spanish healthcare system.
Healthcare in Spain for self-employed Expats
Self-employed expats living and dealing in Spain also can gain access to the general public healthcare system. so as to try and do thus you will need to register yourself for local taxation. under this system you may then receive a Social Security number and can be entitled to free care at public hospitals.
“Free” health insurance for Travellers
Visitors to Spain from within the EU will make use of an EHIC card so as to gain access to the healthcare system. It ought to be noted, however, that such a card really only gains you emergency medical treatment (rather than long-term care) and is just appropriate for temporary visitors. Due to the severe limitations of this option, therefore, many travellers exploring Spain prefer to take out supplemental health insurance policies providing broader care. Visitors from outside Europe don’t gain access to the same European health insurance Card system ought to should regard private medical insurance obligatory in Spain.
Private Expat Health Insurance In Spain
Spain Expats who do meet any of the above necessities won’t have free or discounted access to the State-run medical facilities. Instead you may need to make use of two potential alternatives. The first of those may be a “buy in” through the “convenio especial” system. Here you pay into the National Health Service and in exchange gain access to its facilities. That said, this solution is far from perfect because it incorporates a distinct range of limitations. a good example of this is that such people can find their prescriptions aren’t being subsidized thus will need to be paid fully. The second choice is to choose a fully-featured private insurance policy for Spain. Such policies are usually recommended as the best choice due to the amount of coverage provided. Not only can such a policy grant you access to all or any the services that you need but they also cover medical repatriation and cost-effective dental care.
Prescriptions in Spain
Generally speaking Spain operates a co-payments system for prescriptions. this suggests that you are unlikely to receive “free” medications while in Spain, although it’s likely to be heavily subsidized.
It is fascinating to notice that in contrast to the united kingdom where most working adults pay the same fixed fee for prescriptions, in Spain the policy is very different. Here the amount of subsidy you enjoy depends on your taxable income; the more you earn the more you will pay in general. moreover whereas some people’s annual contributions for prescriptions are capped at a maximum, others are not.
Therefore if you expect to need prescription medication while visiting or living in Spain it pays to research how the system can work in your case to make budgeting for such eventualities a lot of easier.
Lastly, bear in mind that as with other alternative Spanish businesses many pharmacies maintain “Spanish” hours. In other words several drug stores close for a lot of the once noon (2-5pm typically) on the other hand re-open after “siesta time” and work late into the evening.
As a result it’s wise once requesting a prescription to consider when you’ll be able to collect it. try and avoid afternoons if possible in all but the most cosmopolitan areas otherwise you could also be disappointed to find the pharmacy closed.