As many of you live in Spain permanently or cannot return home because of the lockdown, some of you will probably ask yourselves the following questions: What if I get sick in Spain? How does the healthcare work? We can tell you with certainty that you will be in good hands. The Spanish healthcare system is one of the best in Europe. On the list of countries with the best healthcare published by the WHO (World Health Organization), Spain is ranked 7th. This means that Spain is doing better than England, Sweden, Germany and Denmark.
Because the Spanish healthcare system does not work the same way as in other countries, below you can find a short summary of how the Spanish healthcare system works.
Seguridad Social and Private Health Insurance
You live in Spain or you stay there for a longer period of time (183 days/year)
Everyone who has their own business or works as a self-employed person contributes to the Spanish social security system and therefore is entitled to public healthcare. This also applies to pensioners who receive their pension in Spain or in another country.
If you do not belong to the above group, and you still want to enjoy the necessary healthcare then you can always opt for a private health insurance. If you already benefit from public healthcare but still want extra services and comfort, such as a single room, or an interpreter because you do not have sufficient command of the Spanish (medical) language, then it is advisable to take an additional private health insurance.
You are on holiday in Spain
You are on holiday in Spain and you urgently need medical care. If you have the European health card, medical assistance will be free of charge in a public hospital. If you take extra travel insurance in your home country, you can enjoy the benefits of your insurance as well. However, regardless of your insurance, you will always receive the best care from your doctor or hospital in Spain.
Public Hospital or Private Clinic?
If you live in Spain you can use your Seguridad Social card to go to the ‘Centro de Salud’ (Health Centre) in your hometown to make an appointment with a doctor.
Anyone (resident or tourist) can go to the ‘Urgencias’ (Emergency Care) of a public hospital or a private clinic for urgent medical assistance.
Why Choose a Private Clinic?
A private clinic allows you to choose a single room while in a public hospital you will have several beds in one room. In a private clinic, in most cases, you can also have an interpreter (English, Dutch, French,…) who can assist you if you do not speak (medical) Spanish.
As in all other countries in Europe, 112 is also the emergency number in Spain. If you are staying in one of the tourist areas you can also get an English speaking person on the line.