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The Spanish healthcare system is one of the best in the world. It provides (almost) universal health care for all of Spain and is mostly paid for by social security taxpayers.
Cost Of Private Healthcare In Spain
However, if you need special medical help - such as a dentist or a mental health professional - it is better to rely on private health insurance.
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Spain has a high-quality health care system that guarantees almost universal coverage for all residents. More than 99% of the population receives public health care
Public health systems are organized at the national and regional levels. The national level is responsible for laws and regulations, and the regional level - spread over 17 autonomous regions - oversees local management of health services. The system is overseen by the Spanish Ministry of Health (
More than 70% of the health system is financed by public taxes, which is reported to be 11% of GDP. It is common for Hispanics to have private health insurance (
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According to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Countries index, Spain ranks 1st in the list of the healthiest countries in the world. Overall life expectancy is 83.5 years, which is the best among other European Union (EU) member countries.
The Health Care Index 2021 ranked Spain eighth out of 89 countries in overall health care. In Europe, it ranks fourth after Austria, Denmark and France. Although the health system is considered effective, it is lacking in some areas. The nonprofit Research Foundation for Equal Opportunities (FREOPP) gives only a moderate score.
Anyone who lives and works in Spain - self-employed - can use the public health service for free, as well as children, pregnant people and students under 26. Other Spanish residents can get health care when:
Citizens from the EU/EFTA (European Free Trade Association - Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) can get free healthcare with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Third country nationals must have travel and health insurance as part of their visa application.
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Undocumented immigrants can also get health care but must pay at least 40% of the cost of prescription drugs.
The Spanish health system is funded by social security contributions from working locals. If the employee is registered for public health insurance, his wife and dependent children are also covered. Some other socioeconomic groups, such as students and pensioners, can use the public health system for free even if they do not pay for the health insurance system.
According to 2022 data from the Ministry of Health, Spain will spend €90.3 billion a year on public health care (or approximately €1,907 per inhabitant). About €12.8 billion of that money was spent on medicines. Private health care adds another €32.5 billion per year (or €687 per inhabitant). That means that Spain's health care system costs €122.8 billion per year (or €2,594 per person).
Most primary health care in Spain is free. Residents only have to pay a fraction of the cost of prescription drugs and regular public health insurance payments. However, if they need special medical care, they face additional costs. This is when private health insurance comes in handy.
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- CAP). You will receive your TSI card at your home address within two to three weeks. This allows you to register with a doctor or clinic in your health district. To see another specialist, however, you must be referred by your family doctor.
Remember to keep it with you at all times, to present it when you use the public health service or buy medicine at the pharmacy.
) provides both. If you go through a system that does not include state health care, you will need to enter private health insurance or pay the full amount of your health care costs.
Many people choose to get private insurance to get better and faster treatment. About 25% of the population has some form of private health care. Private insurance is also popular among foreigners.
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Private health insurance usually costs €50-200 per month depending on the insurance plan. Some of the major private health insurance companies serving the international include:
) - provided by family doctors and health centers. Located in each region, the centers are often staffed by several psychologists:
Each center has up to six family doctors. Although some allow you to make an appointment with a specific doctor, you may not see the same person every time you visit.
) in Spain. These are easily identified by the large green cross symbol on the outside. Working hours are Monday to Friday 9:30–14:00 and 17:00–21:30. Hours vary on weekends and are closed on Sundays.
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Most towns and cities have more than one location and each is open outside of business hours. There is usually a sign in the shop window or door with details of the nearest 24-hour pharmacy (
Spain operates a payment system for prescription drugs. This means that residents pay a non-refundable percentage of the cost of the drug. How much you pay depends on your individual situation:
), you can call the emergency service on the European emergency number (112). You can go directly to the hospital (
) if it were that easy. For any type of hospital treatment, you need a referral from your family doctor.
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Spain has the largest number of public and private hospitals in Spain, but only public hospitals offer free treatment. Since some hospitals offer both private and public health care, be sure to tell the staff what service you want by showing your insurance card.
Dental care is not covered by public health care if you are a child under 15 or need surgery. This is when private health insurance comes in handy.
Spain has a large number of doctors, but a small number of nurses. In 2021, there were 4.4 doctors and 5.9 nurses per 1,000 people (excluding nursing assistants). In addition, the distribution of health professionals varies between regions and between urban and rural areas. The share of family doctors in the country is similar to the EU average (20.8% compared to 20.6%).
If you need to go to a hospital or see a doctor, you should refer them to your family doctor. Keep in mind that wait times for prescribed exams or some specialized services may be longer.
The Healthcare System In Spain
If you have private health insurance, you will be able to see a specialist more quickly than you would in the public system.
) is widely available in all regions. The most common method is condoms, which you can buy at drugstores, pharmacies or supermarkets. Hormonal birth control, including the pill
Local governments decide whether to cover fertility treatment or not. You should check with your family doctor before going through the IVF or ROPA procedure.
Although this may vary across regions, the quality of women's health in Spain is very good. Local communities offer breast and cervical cancer screening programs.
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In Spain abortion is legal. You can have a miscarriage in the first 14 weeks of your pregnancy. If you or the baby face a serious health risk, you can terminate the pregnancy up to 22 weeks. Termination of pregnancy after those 22 weeks can only be possible when the fetus is not viable or when a serious and incurable disease is diagnosed.
In 2022, the Spanish government passed a new law that would allow pregnant women between the ages of 16 and 17 to have an abortion without parental consent. In addition, the country provides government-sponsored paid leave for women who suffer from period pain.
Pregnant women have access to gynecologists and midwives through general or private provision. Most births take place in a hospital, although home births are popular. She said public health insurance does not cover home births.
Finally, the Spanish Ministry of Health has an extensive section with information on women experiencing domestic violence or sexual abuse. Includes information on victims of human trafficking. If you experience a gender-based problem, please call the Spanish emergency service (112).
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All children in Spain have free health care under the insurance of their parent or guardian. This includes free dental care and access to services for children up to the age of 15. Throughout the country, there are specialized services that specifically meet the needs of children, including child psychologists and psychiatrists.
Mental health provision is lacking in Spain. There are six clinical psychologists per 100,000 people. This is below the OECD average of 20 per 100,000 people, as well as the EU average of 38 per 100,000 people.
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