Healthcare Coverage in Spain

Spanish AmbulanceSource: internations.org| Every resident of Spain has a right to healthcare. The Spanish healthcare system is a non-contributory system paid for by tax revenues. Each autonomous community has its own budget.

If you are a non-EU national living in Spain, you are entitled to healthcare only if you are a legal resident and currently paying for social security. This means that you must either work in Spain or be self-employed there.

Citizens of EU member states who are living in Spain will automatically have access to health coverage in Spain once they become legal Spanish residents.

Sample EHIC CardFor shorter stays, EU citizens should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their healthcare provider back home. The EHIC will get you access to state-provided healthcare at the same cost, or sometimes even at a reduced rate, as those insured in Spain.

For those who are not eligible for state healthcare provisions, both in Spain and back home, there’s the Convenio Especial healthcare scheme. This is perfect for foreigners in Spain who have stopped working but whose pensions have yet to kick in.  To be eligible for this scheme, you need to have lived in Spain continuously for at least twelve months, and not be eligible for state healthcare coverage. Keep in mind that a monthly contribution of 60 EUR is demanded of those under the age of 65, and 157 EUR for those above 65 years of age. You will be covered for the services included in the basic national healthcare package, but be aware that this does not include prescriptions.

Private Healthcare — Jumping the Queue

The Spanish healthcare system is very up-to-date, and doctors are caught up on the latest medical innovations. Due to the fact that medical care is state-run, though, hospitals are often overcrowded, resulting in long waiting periods. Spaniards sometimes choose the more expensive option of taking out private health insurance. One of the most popular private insurance providers is Sanitas, whose website also helps you locate the specialists they cover.

Dentists are private doctors in Spain and, arguably as a result of this, dental care is very good. As quality comes at a price, however, they are usually not covered by your health insurance. Unlike in some other countries, you are unable to buy medication anywhere other than at the pharmacy. Farmacías can be found on almost every street corner, clearly marked by signs in the shape of green crosses.

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