Healthcare in Spain is a source of national pride. If you have decided to start a new life in Spain, congratulations! You have made the right choice. However, there are certain aspects of life in Spain that you should take into account when moving here. For example, access to health services. Here we will explain how to get access to the Spanish healthcare system. Because the good life begins by taking care of ourselves.
Public health care
The Spanish public health system is one of the most popular around the world, both in terms of quality and universal health care. It is also one of the best in the European Union, along with Belgium, Cyprus, France, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands. Spanish medical professionals are highly valued not only in Spain, but also in other countries such as Germany and England, given that the training they go through in order to become health professionals is extremely rigorous.
The Spanish public health system covers all sorts of treatments, from the most basic to the most complex. Some medicines are subsidised so you only have to pay a small portion to purchase them. However, dental health is generally not covered by social security, nor is the purchase of lenses and eyeglasses.
Who can apply for health care in Spain?
Basically, you must meet these requirements:
- To be a resident in Spain.
- To be registered with the National Social Security Institute.
- To have a health card. You must apply for it at the health centre that corresponds to your place of residence. The requirements may vary according to the Autonomous Community in which you reside, but you must always prove that you meet the requirements in order to be covered by the Social Security program.
When applying for health care in Spain, you can be insured or be a beneficiary of the National Social Security System.
- Insured persons: it basically applies to anyone who works in Spain and is therefore registered with the Social Security department. It also includes pensioners and unemployed people resident in Spain.
- Beneficiaries: it applies to relatives of an insured person who are residents in Spain, among other requirements.
Requirements to be insured or to become a beneficiary
The following must be met in order to access public health care in Spain:
For insured persons:
- To be a worker in Spain and be registered in the National Social Security System.
- To be a pensioner or an unemployed person residing in Spain.
- To have a residence permit (regardless of your nationality) and to prove that you have no other health coverage.
- Minors subject to administrative guardianship may also be insured.
For beneficiaries: If you are a relative of an insured person, you can also access public health care if you meet the following requirements:
- You are the spouse or partner of the insured person (or ex-spouse if still dependent on the insured person).
- You are a child under 26 of the insured person, or over 26 if you have a degree of disability of at least 65%.
- You are a sibling of the insured person.
Apart from all this, in order to be a beneficiary you must legally reside in Spain, live with the insured person (except if you are divorced), be dependent on the insured person (except if you are the spouse or civil partner) and, in the case of the insured person’s children and siblings, you must not earn more than double the IPREM (Public Indicator of Income with Multiple Effects).
How to apply for health care coverage?
In order to apply for health care coverage, you must first register with the Social Security to get your personal identification number. You will need to show your valid DNI/NIE or passport, a certificate of residence in Spain and proof that you have registered your address with your local council.
Once registered, you will receive your Social Security number and a certificate confirming that you are eligible for health care.
Private health care
If you are not registered for social security health care, then you will have to pay for the treatment in full. You can pay for the actual treatment, or take out private health insurance which comes in many forms depending on your needs. Many families in Spain, in addition to having social security coverage, have private health insurance that covers treatments not covered by the public system, or in order to speed up waiting times for state health care.
In addition, if you do not meet the requirements to receive state medical assistance, the Spanish Social Security offers a special pay-in scheme. This allows access to the public healthcare system for a monthly fee. To access this scheme, you must prove that you have been a resident in Spain for at least one year prior to the date of application. You must also be registered at the time of application. The monthly fee is 60 euros if you are under 65 and 157 euros if you are over 65.