Health insurance for foreigners in Spain

One of the most important things to carry about moving to another country is to know what healthcare you are going to receive in case you need it.

If you are living in Spain you must know that its healthcare system is ranked as one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Healthcare system in Spain for expats it’s another good reason to live in this incredibly country.

Continue reading this post to know the keys of the healthcare in Spain for expats.

The Spanish healthcare system for expats

Public healthcare system

Those expats who live in Spain will appreciate all the advantages that healthcare system provides. The Spanish healthcare system guarantees universal coverage to all residents.

The healthcare system consists of a combination of private and public healthcare, in which Hospitals and medical centers offer both, private and public assistance.

Many Spaniards use the public health system known as the National Health System, but most prefer to hire a private health system because of all the advantages it implies.

The National System of Care is decentralized; each region of the country is in charge of this service, organizing and executing medical services, which sometimes entails some inconveniences, such as uncovered damages that you will have to pay out-of-pocket.

Healthcare for expats in Spain will be different depending on the region in which they live, so one of the advantages of taking out private health insurance is that it guarantees you are covered in the same way regardless of the city in Spain or abroad.

To be able to use the Spanish healthcare system you will need to get a social security card from the Social Security Treasury Office, but before requesting this card, you will need the social security number. Social security number will be only give you if are register on the municipal register (empadronamiento).

If you are in possession of a Spanish social security number and all documents necessary you will be entitled to receive assistance, so healthcare in Spain for expats it´s not something to worry about, but it does involve investing a substantial amount of time and effort.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the public health system in Spain is that care is very slow, either waiting in the Emergency Room or for an appointment with a specialist.


Private healthcare system

Both residents and expats use the private health system instead of public system because of the inconvenience that sometimes turn up using the public healthcare system.

In Spain there are many well-equipped private hospitals like public hospitals and even better, where you can access to more treatment easily than in a public hospital.

Private health insurance offers certain advantages over the public health system, which both Spaniards and foreigners appreciate:

  • Faster medical attention
  • You can select the best medical specialists
  • Same damage coverage no matter the location
  • Private insurances have at their disposal several hospitals for you to choose from and the benefits that this implies: private room, more attention…etc.
  • Possibility of obtaining a second medical opinion without cost
  • Many companies offer payment facilities

The best thing to do is to be proactive and take out private medical insurance to cover emergencies, while individual consultations are not a big deal, medical complications can be costly.

Taking out private insurance is one of the great advantages of healthcare in Spain for expats.

Can I access to Healthcare in Spain as an expat?

As we said, Spanish National Healthcare system depends on which region you are since this service is decentralized. Regardless of where you are living you will always must check on the conditions to access to the healthcare system in Spain for expats.

Independently, as an expat you will be able to access to healthcare system if you meet one or various of these conditions:

  • If you are living in Spain and receiving some benefits.
  • If you are a resident in Spain and work in employment or self-employment and pay social security contributions.
  • In case of a child resident in Spain or a pregnant women they will be able to access.
  • If you are a resident in Spain and get recently get divorce or separated from a partner that has social security number.
  • If you are a student living and studying in Spain under 26 years old.
  • If you are a state pensioner.
  • If you are a citizen member of a State Member of the European Union, you are living temporary in Spain and hold the European Health Insurance card (EHIC)

What it is the European Health Insurance card (EHIC)? European Health Insurance card (EHIC) is a document that allows the holder to receive health benefits in the Member States of the European Union, in the other countries of the European Economic Area,  and also in Switzerland.

An essential aspect that we must mention is the obligation imposed by the Spanish government to take out private health insurance to acquire the residence.

As you will have been able to verify in most of the cases mentioned above, foreigners have access to the Spanish healthcare system as long as they have the status of resident.

At BMI Spain we work with our clients to find the private health insurance in Spain that best fits their needs.

Healthcare cost in Spain for expats

Residents in Spain who are beneficiaries of the public health system will only have to pay a small proportion of the prescription costs.

However, to have access it is necessary, as we have already explained, to be resistant. The best thing to do for healthcare for expats in Spain is to take out private health insurance to cover any damage.

In Spain there are many insurance companies that offer their customers medical insurance at competitive prices.

Healthcare in Spain for expats it’s a guarantee of a great quality live in this country. Spain has many insurance companies that offer the best health insurance for you. Remember that in BMI Spain we can help you to find the appropriate Insurance company that will help you to cover all your needs.

Do not hesitate in contact with us if you have any doubts about healthcare in Spain for expats, our BMI Spain team will be pleasant to help you.

When should I get private health insurance in order to obtain residency?

The Spanish Legislation requires that the applicant has to have health insurance in order to obtain Spanish Residency. If you are not registered in the Spanish healthcare system you must apply for private health insurance.

But this insurance must meet certain requirements. In this post we offer you the necessary information to solve any doubts.


They must have the same benefits as the National Health system without co-payments, without shortages and with repatriation coverage.

Insurances with NO CO-PAYMENTS do not have limitations. The bonus is usually higher, but during the valid period no further payment will have to be refunded.

The waiting period is the period that passes from the moment that the policy becomes effective until the moment that the services can be used. These periods are calculated per month and can vary depending on the type of service and the product hired. Usually these periods do not include hospital admissions, certain medical tests, surgery, family planning and psychotherapies.

The repatriation coverage guarantees the transfer of the insured person’s mortal remains to their place of origin, including the procedures, transfers from the nearest hotel to the place of origin and transfer from the airport to the destination of cremation or burial.

Spain has a variety of companies that offer specific Health insurances for foreigners.