Health insurance in Spain
Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions. With its beautiful beaches, historical sites, vibrant nightlife scenes, and tasty food, Spain has earned a spot on many travelers’ must-visit lists. If you’re thinking about traveling or moving to Spain, you should also be prepared for any illnesses or incidents that may occur.
You could be eating delicious tapas one moment, and experience food poisoning symptoms the next. This is just one example of why you should secure health insurance before arriving in Spain.
The Spanish healthcare system
Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The country also has a universal healthcare system called the Spanish National Health System or Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS). SNS doesn’t cover all health expenses though. Out-of-pocket expenses can include dentists, pharmacy costs, and ambulances.
Private insurance options are ideal for anyone who wants to expand their coverage and can cover added expenses as well. Remember that insurance companies often limit the services they provide and have a list of preferred care providers you can use. Be sure to check with your insurance broker or company before visiting a specialist.
People often also choose private insurers since they are worried about long waiting periods for visiting public health providers.
Who needs health insurance in Spain?
Thanks to SNS, all citizens and long-term residents are insured. In fact, Spain’s constitution makes it mandatory for the state to offer medical care for both basic and preventative care.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives European travelers access to SNS healthcare in the country at a reduced cost. European travelers on a temporary stay may even get it for free sometimes. Once you’ve decided to stay in Spain for the long term, it’s best to either register for SNS coverage or secure private insurance.
Any UK or non-EU travelers (such as the US and Canada) should already have health insurance coverage before obtaining a residency visa.
Spanish health-related travel advice
- Tap water in Spain is generally safe to drink, though it’s advisable to double-check with the hotel staff, host families, and neighbors to see if you can drink straight from the tap in your area.
- Anyone in the country has access to emergency medical services, regardless of whether they can pay for it or not.
- Expats, retirees, and students should buy medical insurance to cover any incidents or illnesses that emergency medical services don’t cover.
- Most medicines can be purchased over the counter at pharmacies, which you can find on almost every street corner in the larger cities. With their bright green plus symbol, the pharmacies are easy to locate. While some are open quite late, many are closed during the afternoon siesta time, which generally goes from 2 pm to 5 pm.
- While no vaccines are required when traveling to Spain, the Center for Disease Control recommends up-to-date immunization. It’s ideal to be covered for measles, diphtheria, mumps, tetanus, polio, and rubella when traveling to Spain.
- Keep antidiarrheal medicine on you in case you have a bad reaction to any new foods. Also, stick to cooked seafood to avoid contamination.
- Stay hydrated and stay in the shade when possible to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
How to find the best private health insurance in Spain
If you’re looking for private health insurance in Spain, Pacific Prime can help you find the best plan for your needs and budget. For more information about Spain, the locally compliant health insurance plans that we offer, or to receive a free quote, contact one of our expert advisors today.