Health insurance in Spain

Area 3

Expatriation information: Spain

Official name Kingdom of Spain
Government Constitutional monarchy
Area 504,782 sq. km
Capital Madrid
Main cities Madrid, Barcelona, Valence, Seville, Bilbao
Common language(s) Spanish
Currency Euro (EUR)
Population 46.1 million (2011)
Population growth 2.2%
Life expectancy at birth 79.7 years
Literacy rate 97.9%
Find out more Spain on diplomatie.gouv.fr
Spain on Wikipédia

Find out more about the healthcare system of this country.

Spain

The Local Healthcare Insurance System in Spain



The Spanish local healthcare system provides all citizens with free basic healthcare insurance which covers doctors’ visits (excluding vision care and dental care expenses), hospitalization fees in public facilities, and drugs. This system, known as Insalud (Instituto Nacional de Gestión Sanitaria), is funded by social security contributions. Around 90% of the Spanish population uses this system while the rest of the population takes out private health insurance or top-up insurance plans to cover certain medical expenses which are not reimbursed by the Insalud system.
The Spanish healthcare system is one of the best in Europe.

Doctors’ visits in Spain

In general, Spanish GPs see their patients from Monday to Saturday.
As part of the Insalud system, your treating doctor (referring doctor) is appointed by the local health center of your place of residence. However, you can choose another doctor if you are not satisfied with him/her. Waiting times to get an appointment are quite short and consultations are free but also very brief (around 5 minutes).
If you see a doctor from the private sector, consultation fees range from €45 to €70.

Spanish specialist doctors:
In public facilities, you can only see specialists upon written request from your GP who will refer you to the specialist of his/her choice.
As for private facilities, you can see specialists without being referred by your GP. Consultation fees range from €70 to €110 on average.

Being admitted to the hospital in Spain

Spanish public hospitals
Hospitalizations in public hospitals are free if you are admitted to the hospital linked to your place of residence. Hospitalizations are free in case of emergency.

Spanish private hospitals
Spanish private hospitals are not necessarily better than public hospitals in terms of quality but waiting times are much shorter.

In case of emergency:

Call 112
All public and private hospitals have emergency services.

Buying drugs in Spain

Drugs are purchased with a prescription and must be bought in a pharmacy. Patients have to pay an out-of-pocket amount which represents around 40% of the drug price. As the government has imposed a cut in prices, drugs are generally less expensive in Spain than in other countries.

Last updated: April 2013


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Location: Spain

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