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Knowing The Spanish Medical-Healthcare System

June 16, 2020
Moving to Spain isn't exactly easy, is it? Even if you've dreamed fo living in this beautiful Mediterranean country for all of your life, having to become a citizen, resident, or even just a long-term visitor staying here can be quite challenging. All the paperwork you need to sort out, having to start all over again, adjusting to the timezone. Not to mention adapting to their beautiful but unique culture. Then there's the healthcare. what exactly makes you eligible to access it? Is there a process you need to undergo? Well, here's plenty of what you need to know about Spain's healthcare system!

Knowing The Spanish Medical-Healthcare System


Access to Spain's Healthcare

Simply put, if you're a legal resident of Spain, you have complete and total access to the Spanish National Health System (SNS). This means even if you're not a citizen yet—or even have no plans of becoming one—you're still eligible to avail of the many services provided by both public and private health insurance. Such universal access is made possible by the fact that almost every working person in Spain, be they locals or expats, are required to contribute to the preservation of the law. Even those who don't have much have to pay taxes that will keep the system safely intact. 


Europe Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

But what of non-residents? What if you're just visiting and you're not going to be a resident of the country? Well, if you're an EU citizen, you'll still be eligible to access the SNS through your EHIC or Europe Health Insurance Card. Since Spain is still very much part of the EU, they're required to open up their healthcare system to visitors from other EU states. Provided, however, that they show proof of citizenship and eligibility with their EHICs. For years, this document has allowed many tourists from neighboring countries to get treated and seek emergency help and services while they're in Spain. 


Knowing The Spanish Medical-Healthcare System


How to Register for Spain’s Public Healthcare

Once you become a resident of Spain, you will be allowed to register for the SNS. In order to do so, you must first register under the country's social security system (Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social). Go to an office near you and show them your passport or any valid ID, your certificate of residency, and proof of address (local town hall registry is always the best one to go with). Once you get your social security number, you can finally go to any healthcare office and register for the system. As a resident of Spain, you're not only eligible for it, you're also required by law to do it! 


Getting Private Healthcare in Spain

As for private insurance, it's up to you if you want to avail one or not. Most of the time, when you have the financial capacity for it, it's better to avail one for yourself and your family. Oftentimes, private insurance gives you special privileges in instant access to all sorts of services and care provided for by the state healthcare system. In times of emergency, such privileges can prove to be very helpful. some private health insurance providers tou can go for whilst in Spain include Globality Health, Allianz Care, and Cigna Global, among many others! They also offer travel insurance for visitors too! 


Knowing The Spanish Medical-Healthcare System


Access to Hospital Services

Another ace of getting private insurance is access to all sorts of hospitals. Private hospitals, in particular, welcome those with private health insurance. and more often than not, many of Spain's private facilities are more equipped to treat alls rots of health problems. Either way, whether you have just public or also private insurance, you'll still need to get a referral for non-emergency hospital visits. Contact your healthcare provider and set an appointment. That's the only way you can get yourself checked and seen when you need to. Only in emergency situations can you go to a hospital without an appointment. 


Emergency Services

Perhaps the only time non-resident visitors in Spain can access some of the services provided by the SNS is when it's an emergency. Such services include ambulances, paramedics, and the like. Many countries—Spain included—are legally required to bestow visitors such access in times of emergency. But there's only until those types of services. In order to really avail the country's healthcare system, visitors should get travel insurance even before they go to Spain. It's practically the only way they can ever recover from whatever may befall them whilst in the country. 


Knowing The Spanish Medical-Healthcare System


The Spanish National Health System, or 'SNS,' is a complex law that bestows upon the country's citizens and residents access to many services and healthcare providers. But for those who don't live in Spain, you'll have to go through other channels to avail of the system! 

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