According to a report by Expatriate Healthcare, Spain was ranked as the 8th best country in the world for healthcare in 2022, with infrastructure, staff competency, quality of medicine and government readiness all contributing to the final scores. Voted as offering the most efficient healthcare in Europe, it does provide a universal approach which guarantees everyone the same services, whether they are citizens, residents or tourists & this is provided through both public and private institutions.
As long as you are either a resident in Spain and employed or self-employed, Living in Spain and receiving certain benefits, A child resident or a pregnant resident, under 26 and studying, A state Pensioner or in possession of the EHIC/GHIC card for any temporary stay (no longer than three months), you’ll be able to access the Spanish Health System free of charge.
If you do opt to stay in Spain as a resident, then essentially once you are registered into the system, basic healthcare services are provided free of charge as they are well funded through taxation. Once you’ve proved that you are a resident in Spain, you’ll receive a Tarjeta Sanitaria (Public Health Insurance Card) and assigned a GP, after which you can access all the services you need, however, much like the NHS in the UK, you may find that you would need to pay for Prescriptions or over the counter medication depending on what you need.
If, on the other hand you’d prefer to go privately, and have private health insurance then there are options & of course you’ll get a good deal of benefits included, however, it will come at a cost depending on your existing health along with a number of other factors. You will pay either monthly or yearly and you’ll get to choose the facility or hospital in which you are treated provided that your plan covers the initial cost.
It is important to note that whilst every effort is made to get the process done as quickly and smoothly as possible, if you are planning on being in Spain for more than the three months, and you are therefore in the process of applying for a residency visa + you are under the age of 65, you may wish to take out private medical insurance just for the first year, so you ensure you are covered at all times. You may also find that you have to be registered on the Padron (local council) for at least a year before you can make an application for a health card. For those over the age of 65 you can enjoy the same access to healthcare as Spanish Citizens straight away via the UK issued S1. Basically, it’s a healthcare certificate granted to those in receipt of a UK state pension, and who want access to Healthcare Services abroad.
Much like the UK, Spanish Healthcare is provided by three main facilities, health centres and clinics, Pharmacies and Hospitals. Primary Healthcare is the first point of call where you will be seen by your GP or a Nurse, Pharmacies are where you can pick up your prescriptions and receive advice on suitable medication (without visiting the Medical Centre) and the Hospitals are for surgeries, life threatening injuries or other treatments as referred by your GP or Nurse. Within Spain, there’s generally a Medical Centre within 15 minutes of where you live + just bear in mind that if you do need to enter a hospital always prove which type of insurance you have, as some of them will offer both public & private treatment.
In terms of additional professionals within Spain’s Healthcare system, do take note that Dentists are not covered by the free system, unless you are aged below 15. Initial consultations are usually free but any treatment required after that is paid for with a plan and quote generally provided in advance. Other specialist services include Women’s Healthcare, Children’s Healthcare, Mental Healthcare and alternative therapies.
According to other reports such as Money UK’s Index and Bloomberg Health, Spain also ranks very highly in the list for the World’s Most Healthiest Countries, where life expectancy is well into the 80’s making it the 5th highest. It’s all down to the climate, and the Mediterranean diet, full of Omega-3, fats and proteins, plus a wealth of fresh, local produce. Who wouldn’t want to live here with that?
It’s not designed to be confusing, but if you do have any further questions on the Spanish Healthcare system, then please do contact us and we’d be happy to help you. Ensuring you have the right information & documentation is just as important as ensuring you have the right property in the right area – it all works towards living a happier and healthier life!