Spain has one of the longest life expectancies in the world, and it looks set to keep on improving. Spanish people traditionally follow the Mediterranean diet. This diet has been strongly linked to excellent health outcomes.
Spain also has one of the most effective health systems in the world. There is a public health service, and all citizens have access to free healthcare. In addition, expats who pay into social security can also use this system.
Main features of Spanish healthcare system
Spain has a high quality healthcare system, guaranteeing universal coverage for all residents. Healthcare in Spain consists of both private and public healthcare, with some hospitals (hospitales) and healthcare centres (centros de salud) offering both private (privado) and state healthcare services (asistencia sanitaria pública).
Around 90% of Spaniards use the public healthcare system, which is called the National Health System. However, it is very decentralized with service delivery organized at regional level. The system is overseen by the Spanish Ministry of Health, which develops policy and oversees the national health budget.
How Spanish healthcare works for expats?
Who can access healthcare in Spain? State healthcare is free of charge to anyone living and working in Spain. However, on some of the Spanish islands, you may have to travel to find a state healthcare provider. As the Spanish healthcare system is decentralized, you will need to check the conditions in your own area for using healthcare services.
As an expat, you can get free state healthcare if you are:
• A resident in Spain and work in employment or self-employment and pay social security contributions
• Living in Spain and receiving certain state benefits
• A resident in Spain and recently divorced or separated from a partner registered with social security
• A child resident in Spain
• A pregnant woman who is a resident in Spain
• Under 26 and studying in Spain
• A state pensioner
• Staying temporarily in Spain and have an EHIC card
Spain has bilateral agreements with some countries, that allow citizens from these countries visiting Spain, for short periods of time, to obtain free emergency medical treatment. Check with your local Spanish embassy to see if any agreements are in place between Spain and your home country. If you don’t have the right to state healthcare, you will have to organize private health cover.
Healthcare costs in Spain
Spanish health care spending accounts for around 9% of annual GDP, making Spain the 13th biggest healthcare spender out of EU/EFTA nations. Spending works out at just over €2,000 per person.
Despite this, most public healthcare in Spain remains free. Residents only need to pay a proportion of prescription charges if they are making regular public health insurance payments in Spain. They also have to pay for certain specialist medical procedures and may need additional private insurance coverage.
Social security contributions fund the Spanish state healthcare system. Each region of Spain takes individual responsibility for a health budget, which is ultimately allocated by the central government.
Many expats choose to add optional private health insurance to their budget. The benefits of this include greater choice and shorter waiting times.
In addition to this, private insurance may also give you more access to English-speaking medical professionals.
Should I get a private health insurance in Spain?
Health insurance in Spain is covered by Spanish social security payments, which are made by all employees and self-employed workers. Spouses and children of workers also receive coverage.
Certain other groups such as pensioners and those receiving benefits can also register for healthcare if they are residents. They can do this even if they haven’t paid into the health insurance scheme. There is also a discount state contribution scheme for low earners and those out of work called the convenio especial.
Those not covered by state insurance or the EHIC card will need to take out private medical insurance. See our Tiekom health insurance
How to register for Spain’s public healthcare
First of all, you must register with Spanish social security (Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social or TGSS), which has offices throughout Spain, to get a social security number.
To register for social security, you will need to provide:
• a valid passport or ID card
• your residency certificate
• proof that you have registered your address at your local town hall
Once you have registered with the TGSS you will be given a Spanish social security number and a certificate stating that you are entitled to medical help. You can then register for medical treatment and apply for a health card (tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI).
Private healthcare in Spain
Private healthcare provision in Spain runs alongside the public system, with some providers offering both public and private provision. Anyone not eligible for state healthcare will need to take out private health insurance or pay the full amount for any medical costs.
Many people also choose to cover themselves for private treatment to give them access to wider and quicker treatment. Around 19% of the Spanish population have some form of private healthcare coverage. Private insurance is also popular among expats.
Private health insurance in Spain usually costs between €50-200 a month, depending on the coverage plan.
Mistakes to avoid when taking out insurance
Below some tips to assess when hiring insurance. Don’t forget these points that will be very useful to take out the insurance that best suits your needs:
• The cost of the premium and discounts
• Concepts excluded in coverage
• Commitment to remain
• Remember the insurance renewal date in case you decide to change any of the insurance coverage…
Main most valued advantages that we provide in our insurance offer for expats:
• Work with a reference company to ensure quality, safety and solvency.
• English-speaking, telephone assistance, speed and efficiency in dealing with incidents and compensating the client.
• Instant quotes
• Online applications
Whether you’re looking to protect the health, your home or your car, Tiekom can help. Choose the insurance that best suits your needs, with the best coverage and special prices for expats.
The best way to offer quality service is to be close to you. That is why we keep improving day by day because you are our priority. You can find all the information about our insurances on the Tiekom website or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org In all cases we will be happy to help you.