10 Dec

Spain is renowned for its rich culture, vibrant lifestyle, and picturesque landscapes. For many foreigners, buying property in Spain is a dream come true, but understanding the healthcare system can be a concern. Fortunately, Spain offers a robust healthcare system that caters to both residents and non-residents. In the blog below we will guide you through the healthcare system in Spain and what you need to take into consideration. 

Understanding the Spanish Healthcare system

In Spain the healthcare system is quite easy, having both public healthcare insurance and private healthcare. 

  • Universal Coverage: Spain boasts a universal healthcare system, ensuring access to healthcare services for residents and, under specific conditions, non-residents.
  • Healthcare Structure: The system comprises public and private healthcare sectors. Public healthcare is accessible to residents, funded through taxes, and offers comprehensive services.
  • Health Insurance: While not mandatory for accessing public healthcare, many expats opt for private health insurance to complement their coverage.

Access to healthcare for foreign property buyers

  • Residency Status: Resident foreigners can access Spain's public healthcare system by registering at their local health center and obtaining a health card (tarjeta sanitaria).
  • Non-Resident Access: Non-residents can access emergency healthcare through public hospitals, but for non-urgent care, private health insurance or paying out-of-pocket is advisable.
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): EU citizens can use EHIC for temporary stays in Spain, covering necessary healthcare needs during their visit.

Healthcare services and quality 

  • Public Healthcare: Spain's public healthcare system offers a broad range of services, including primary care, specialist consultations, hospital care, and emergency services.
  • Private Healthcare: Private hospitals and clinics provide expedited services, English-speaking staff, and more personalized care. Expats often use private healthcare for convenience and additional services.

Steps for acessing healthcare as a foreign property buyer

  • Residency Registration: Register as a resident at the nearest town hall and obtain a Foreigner’s Identification Number (NIE).
  • Health Card Application: Visit the local health center with necessary documents (passport, proof of residence) to apply for a health card.
  • Private Health Insurance: Consider purchasing private health insurance for additional coverage and flexibility.

Tips and considerations

  • Language Barrier: While many healthcare professionals speak English, learning basic Spanish can enhance communication and ease the healthcare process.
  • Waiting Times: Public healthcare might have longer waiting times for non-urgent treatments. Private healthcare offers quicker access but at a cost.
  • Documentation: Keep important documents (health card, insurance papers) readily accessible.

Navigating the Spanish healthcare system as a foreign property buyer is feasible with proper understanding and preparation. Spain’s commitment to universal healthcare ensures access to quality medical services, providing peace of mind for residents and non-residents alike.