Arguably one of the first things you need to consider when moving to a new country is healthcare. Unfortunately, many expats do not do their research well enough and believe that their existing healthcare in their domestic country will cover them, but particularly in light of Brexit for UK nationals, if you relocate to Spain you will need to secure Spanish healthcare.

State healthcare is free of charge to anyone living and working in Spain. However, as the Spanish healthcare system is decentralised, you will need to check the conditions in your local area for using healthcare services.

As an expat, you may access state healthcare for free if you are:

  • a resident in Spain and work in employment or self-employment and pay social security contributions;
  • living in Spain and receiving certain state benefits;
  • a resident in Spain and recently divorced or separated from a partner registered with social security;
  • a child resident in Spain;
  • a pregnant woman who is a resident in Spain;
  • under 26 and studying in Spain;
  • a state pensioner;
  • staying temporarily in Spain and have an EHIC card.

If you are not covered by state healthcare or the European Health Insurance Card, you will need to organise private health cover.

How to register for Spain’s public healthcare

First, you must register with social security (Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social or TGSS), to get a social security number.

To register for social security, you will need to provide:

  • a valid passport or ID card
  • your residency certificate
  • proof that you have registered your address at your local town hall

Once you have registered with the TGSS you will be given a social security number and a certificate stating that you are entitled to medical help. You can then register for medical treatment and apply for a health card (tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI). You will receive this in the post, or need to pick it up personally.

Private healthcare in Spain

Although the majority of people in Spain are covered for health treatment under social security, most people who can afford to choose to take out private health insurance. Private healthcare provides a wider choice of medical practitioners and hospitals, and more importantly, frees you from the public health waiting list.

Spain has an excellent system of private medicine that exists alongside state healthcare. An estimated 15% of the population holds private health insurance. This can either be used as a supplement or an alternative to public care and is available from both local and worldwide based insurers.

Typically, a private insurer will have a list of selected hospitals and medical centres in different regions, to which clients are referred. This enables them to monitor and maintain a high level of care and ensure clients are sent to medics who speak English.

However, it’s important to note that some foreign insurance companies do not provide sufficient cover to satisfy Spanish regulations and therefore you should check the minimum cover necessary.

Perez Legal Group’s Relocation To Spain Package can organise everything for you so that you find the best healthcare to suit you. For more information, see our brochure by clicking this link.

Did you know that Perez Legal Group is an agent of Sanitas healthcare? We can provide you with all the information and help you to apply for comprehensive healthcare cover including specialist treatment, surgical procedures and dental. Contact us for more information; 

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