A snapshot guide to expat health insurance in Spain

If you decide to live in Spain as an expat, you’re probably focused on the gorgeous weather and beautiful beaches. As you make all the arrangements for this massive life decision, health insurance might be the last thing on your mind, particularly if you are young and healthy. While it has been easy for Britons to take state-funded healthcare for granted, since Brexit you will no longer qualify for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), so thought does need to be put in.

If you live in Spain, there is a good chance that you will qualify for public healthcare. If you do, make sure that your register for your social security benefits as soon as possible so that you can access healthcare. If you do not qualify for public medical treatment, or want additional coverage, make sure that you do your research for Spanish private insurance by looking up multiple companies, their costs, and the extent of their coverage.

Do expats get free healthcare in Spain?

Before you stress yourself out about whether you need private health insurance as an expat living in Spain, make sure you find out whether you qualify for free state healthcare because there is a good chance that you might. If you are employed or self-employed in Spain and therefore pay social security contributions, or you are a Spanish state pensioner due to past social security contributions, you are automatically entitled to state health services. This is also the case is if you are an EU resident and have an EHIC or are married to a Spanish citizen.

If you are an expat from outside the EU and are not working, then you are not entitled to state healthcare. Since the UK has officially left the EU without any special conditions for British expats living in Europe, any British citizen living in Spain and not working locally has the responsibility to find a private health insurance plan to cover any healthcare services they may need while living in Spain.

Do I need health insurance as an expat living in Spain?

Although private health insurance is not a legal requirement as an expat living in Spain, it is necessary if you have any health concerns while living there, whether these are minor or major. Outside of the state healthcare system, private healthcare in Spain is extortionately expensive. Without the protection of private health insurance, most people would not be able to afford any specialised services or treatments.

Compared to the alternative of not having any healthcare while living as an expat in Spain, Spanish private hospitals tend to have excellent facilities and high-quality care for their patients.

Although health insurance as an expat in Spain might feel like an optional expense, maybe one that cuts deeply into you travel budget, it is necessary if you want to protect your family from financial harm while ensuring that they get adequate medical treatment.

How do I get health insurance as an expat in Spain?

If you are an expat living in Spain and are making social security contributions through your employment, or you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) then you do not need to worry about finding, applying for, and paying for private health insurance in Spain because you qualify for state healthcare. Spain has the seventh highest quality state healthcare system in the world.

If you believe that you qualify for free public healthcare, you need contact the Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social (TGSS) to register for social security before you can access any healthcare service in Spain. To do this, you will need your passport, a residence certificate, and an application to register for a general physician (GP). Once you have registered for social security with TGSS, you can then register for a health card which you will need to present at any doctor’s surgery or hospital you attend.

If you do not qualify for state healthcare, there are plenty of private healthcare facilities, most of which are more reliable and have very short or no queues.

How much is private health insurance in Spain?

The cost of private healthcare in Spain can vary significantly depending on a range of different factors including how many people will be insured, their ages, their medical history, and the services or degree of cover that they will need. In addition, the cost of most basic policy covers can differ from one insurance company to another. A recent study by Fundación Eroski examined 480 quotes across 10 insurance companies. According to this study, basic health insurance for a single 35 year old with no children can range between €26 to €50 per month, with comprehensive polices starting at €50. In comparison, the price of insurance for a family with two small children will on average cost €130, ranging from €89 for a basic policy to comprehensive policies starting at €158 per month.

The price of your private health insurance is also dependent on various risk factors that you and your family members may have, including their age and medical history. For example, a person in their 20s with no pre-existing conditions will most likely receive a much lower quote for private health insurance in Spain than someone in their 60s with diabetes.

Whether you are looking for a health insurance policy for just yourself or your entire family, health insurance can end up being a significant monthly cost. It is important that you consider your needs wisely and take your time finding the best policy to meet these. There are plenty of private health insurance companies in Spain so make sure that you do your research by looking up reviews, policy covers and by comparing prices.

What does my private health insurance in Spain cover?

It depends on whether you choose a basic or comprehensive health insurance plan. In general, basic private health insurance will cover standard and routine procedures for you and your entire family. If you have children, are elderly, or have any pre-existing conditions, you should seriously consider buying a more comprehensive plan to cover any more extensive healthcare services that you may require.

Private health insurance packages for expats in Spain will also typically cover the costs for dental care, eye care, and prescriptions. Before you buy any private health insurance, however, make sure you do your research by asking for quotes from multiple insurance companies. In addition to keeping an eye on the price of your coverage, it is important that you fully understand what procedures are covered and if there are any hidden costs for accessing those treatments.

Am I covered by my Spanish health insurance while travelling?

If you qualify for Spanish state healthcare, you will be covered for some medical treatments in other EU countries. If you will be buying private health insurance as an expat in Spain, your health insurance will most likely not cover any medical treatments that you seek while travelling outside of Spain. If you are just travelling for a holiday, you should still get travel insurance which will cover any unexpected medical costs in other countries. If you travel abroad frequently, it may be worth considering an international insurance package tailored specifically for regular travelers.

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