INOV Expat offers its insurance kowledge to answer your questions about insurance in Spain.
Your assigned health centre (referred to in Spanish as the “centro de salud”) depends on the neighbourhood where you live. You must register by giving them your social security number and address. If you don’t have the card, you may request one upon registration (it may take up to one year to receive it). The community health centre will assign a doctor to you. This doctor will be your GP (in Spanish, it’s referred to as the “medico de cabecera”).
You must always first see this doctor and, if necessary, this doctor will refer you to a specialist. If you are not happy with your doctor, you may ask your health centre to assign you a different doctor. In order to see your doctor, you either go to the health centre or call for an appointment. The telephone number is indicated on your health card. If you are ill and cannot work yet your GP cannot see you for several hours/days, you must go to the on-call doctor at the same health centre (this is considered an emergency).
You must first go to the reception desk and they will give you a paper to see the doctor. You must first see your GP to get an appointment with a specialist. You explain your symptoms to your GP who will make the appointment directly for you. You will receive a paper with the appointment details and specialist’s name. Do not lose this document; you will be asked for it when you see the specialist.
Spain is 19th in Europe for the quality of its public health system, behind Croatia, Estonia and even Macedonia. We’ve all heard of waiting lists. The only way to avoid them and queuing at the hospital or the GP is to have a private insurance policy.
Private health insurance in Spain offers you the freedom to choose doctors and hospitals, quick treatments and direct access to specialists. Moreover, private health insurance gives you the right to additional services not covered by the Spanish National Health System such as check-ups, acupuncture, dental care, podology, etc.
It may seem easier to take out an insurance policy in UK before departure with a company that offers guarantees which are valid in any country you travel to. However, in practice, it’s a costly solution with poor reimbursement conditions.
If the price is an important element when deciding whether or not to take out a certain car or home insurance policy in Spain, it’s best to think about the cover and speed of reimbursement when it comes to private health insurance.
Beyond the traditional covers (hospitalisation, care in the event of illness or an accident), you should verify whether the policy actually corresponds to your needs: if you travel often, is the cover valid abroad? Do you wish to continue seeing your specialist in UK? Do you often go to the doctor or only sometimes? Depending on this information, there are many types of insurance policies possible with worldwide cover, free choice of doctors, a co-payment system, etc. It all depends on your needs. Don’t think twice about asking us for the best solution. You will receive a health card as soon as you purchase an insurance policy.
The policies signed in the country of residence usually include cover abroad for maximum periods of 90 days. This guarantee is for emergencies only.
A health card allows you to benefit from a private room if you need to be hospitalised, repatriation services and travel assistance for any incidents that may occur while on holiday. You will be able to receive treatment at hospitals and by doctors approved by the chosen insurance company. Your insurance company will pay for your expenses. All you need to do is show your health card to receive a free consultation.
Various factors influence the price of your health insurance in Spain such as your age, job, place of residence, level of cover and the number of beneficiaries. For this reason, it is important to obtain personalised advice when choosing an insurance policy.
There are two systems in Spain: the public healthcare system, which is free of cost, and the private healthcare system. Foreign employees working for Spanish companies and self-employed workers in Spain are required to pay into the Spanish social security fund (called “seguridad social” in Spanish).
These contributions allow you and your family to benefit from free medical care. The Spanish social welfare system offers protection for illnesses, pregnancy and maternity, accidents, disabilities, pensions, death, unemployment and dependency.
Spain is 19th in Europe for the quality of its public health system, behind Croatia, Estonia and even Macedonia.The average healthcare bill per family in Spain is €955/year (2014 - Spanish National Statistics Insitute).