Healthcare System in Spain

Whether you’re relocating to Spain or simply looking for a new international health insurance provider, it’s crucial to know what’s available in terms of healthcare and insurance provision.

Spain’s population is an estimated 47,000,000, with a life expectancy of 78 years for males and 84 years for females. Life expectancy for both sexes has, been increasing continually recently. The Spanish healthcare system is a mix of both public and private healthcare, with universal cover mandated under the Spanish Constitution as a right - to be freely available to all citizens paying social security. The World Health Organisation ranks the Spanish health systems as 7th in the world.

Healthcare facilities

Spain’s population demographic shows that the Spanish healthcare system is very good, with an ageing population and high life expectancy. Roughly 65% of hospitals in Spain are publically managed and owned, with the remaining percentage made up of private hospitals, funded either by private non-charitable or charitable organisations. Plenty of national GDP is spent on State health care provision, ensuring good levels of service and geographical coverage.

The quality of Spanish hospitals is very good, with general hospitals offering a large range of treatment services, and hospitals which provide specialised services, such as oncology. Leading hospitals are found in and around every major city, and in the popular tourism areas such as Andalusia, services are not only good, but have been improving significantly over the last decade.

Health centres in the major cities can generally be reached in 15 minutes from any residence and in more remote areas, local surgeries are available. Doctors in Spain are as well-qualified as a doctor in any other EU member country, and as a resident you are free to choose your own. Reported service-waiting times are generally very good, though longer waiting times for highly-specialised treatment have been reported; making it vital to ensure that you have adequate health insurance to increase your treatment options.

Almost one in five (18 per cent) of the Spanish population have private health cover with the advantage of low premium rates, but with limited choice between medical centres.

If you are an EU member, then general care is covered with the European Health Insurance Card (EHID) which you need to obtain before arriving in Spain, though it is always advisable to use a healthcare plan to cover the possible costs of any medical treatment. The EHID is not a substitute for travel insurance. 

Spain enjoys a good dental service, with short waiting times and dental clinics with access to the latest oral health technology. Health insurance is required because dental treatment is not covered publically, though prices are fairly low, and you are given pricing details over the counter at the dental practice.

Before you go

Spain has no endemic diseases and there is little likelihood that you will need any vaccinations for Spain.

Next steps

You can obtain a quote for one of our WorldCare plans to cover your time in Spain, with treatment access anywhere in the world. Purchase and management of your plan can be done online – it’s an easy and quick way to get instant comprehensive cover.

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