Healthcare in Spain for UK Expats after Brexit

Healthcare in Spain for UK Expats after Brexit

Looking for information on the healthcare system in Spain as a British Expat? Read our helpful guide discussing the pros and cons of both national and private healthcare for British Expats.

Allison Thompson · 6 minute read

Following the exit of the UK from the EU, there have been many uncertainties for UK citizens living in Spain, including what services they will have access to. One of the most important questions is access to healthcare after Brexit. In this article, we will try and provide you with the answers you are looking for.

Below, we look at both Private and National healthcare for UK citizens in Spain who have now chosen to make the country their permanent residence.

However, before we start to answer any questions you may have, there is one thing you should know. It is important to note that Spain’s public health care system is universal. Meaning anyone is entitled to use it if they have a medical emergency.

Should such a situation arise, then you shouldn’t hesitate to go to your nearest medical center. They will provide you with medical care no matter what your current legal status is in Spain.

So now, let us look more closely at private healthcare and national healthcare for British ex-pats who live in Spain.

Private Healthcare For British Expats

This section of the article will answer frequently asked questions in many Facebook groups and online forums.

Do I Need Private Healthcare Living In Spain?

Unlike in the UK, in Spain, you’ll find health insurance is compulsory for every resident. Spain’s constitution provides everyone who resides in it is to be provided with basic medical treatment. This also includes preventative care.

Before Brexit, anyone from the UK who moved to Spain had access to free healthcare for the first three months. Then after this time, you either had to take out health insurance or register into Spain’s national healthcare system.

But since Brexit, anyone from the UK wishing to move to Spain must have health insurance in place first. So in answer to the above question, yes, you do need to arrange private healthcare to live in Spain.

Who Is Private Healthcare in Spain For?

Private healthcare in Spain is for anyone willing to pay the policy fees that many insurers providers offer. Even people who have predetermined medical conditions will find that they can access such services. But they need to be aware that insurance premiums can be somewhat higher.

If you are an expat living in Spain, it is highly recommended to take out private healthcare. This will help to ensure that you are provided with the best medical assistance should you need it.

What Is The Cost Of Private Healthcare in Spain?

Once you have decided to take out private healthcare because of legal obligations concerning obtaining a visa or simply because you want peace of mind, you will, of course, be looking at the cost and type of cover for your needs. How much your private healthcare insurance is going to cost dependson several factors. These include the age of those who will be stated on the policy, the policyholder’s medical history, and the kind of services they would like access to.

But on average, you’ll find the cost of private healthcare can be anywhere from €50 to €200 per month. Of course, how much your policy costs will depend on the type of coverage you ask for.

What Are The Benefits Of Private Healthcare in Spain?

There are several benefits you only get with private healthcare.

  1. Provides you with access to a network of medical specialists.

  2. Provides you with dental cover; you will have to pay for any dental treatment in Spain.

  3. Possibility of being able to customize your policy to suit you and your family’s needs.

  4. You will have access to medical staff who can converse in your language, so you fully understand the treatment being offered.

The Downsides Of Private Healthcare in Spain

Private healthcare insurance in Spain can be quite expensive, especially for those with predetermined medical conditions. There may also be specific treatments that are not covered by your insurance.

Finally, some private healthcare policies do not cover all the costs of treatment, so you could end up having to pay a substantial amount as excess, for example.

National Healthcare For British Expats Living In Spain

Before we look in more detail at national healthcare in Spain, let us explain a little about it. Just as with the UK’s NHS, the national healthcare system in Spain provides those who live in this country with cover for nearly every type of medical service one may need. Today, Spain offers some of the best quality healthcare in Europe.

Am I Entitled To National Healthcare in Spain?

National healthcare in Spain is free of charge to anyone who lives and works in Spain. You, as an expat, can get free national healthcare if you can meet any of the following conditions.

· Resident in Spain who is employed, self-employed or pays social security contributions · If you live in Spain and receive certain state benefits · A resident in Spain who is recently divorced or separated and whose ex is registered with social security

How Can I Get Access to National Healthcare in Spain?

In order to obtain national healthcare you first need to register at the Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social (TGSS). Once you have registered, you will receive a Spanish social security number along with a certificate. It shows you are entitled to medical help. Now you just need to apply for a health card (Tarjeta sanitaria individual or TSI).

To obtain the healthcare card, you need to register with a doctor at your local health center (Centro de Salud). To do this, you need to provide them with the following.

· The paperwork with your social security number on it · The certificate showing that you have registered at your town hall, which is referred to as the pardon (Empadronamiento)* · Some form of photo identification – your passport should suffice for this

*Note: The pardon you use to register with the health center should be no less than three months old

Once you have your card, you go to your local health center and register with them. It is essential when seeking any medical help you show your health card.

Are There Any Costs For National Healthcare In Spain?

If you live and work in Spain, you will automatically contribute to the social security system. How much these are will depend on the kind of salary you earn. Even if you are self-employed, you will be expected to contribute to Spain’s social security system.

However, if you are retired, the Spanish government has set up a healthcare program specifically for British Expats. It is known as “Convenio Especial”.

It is a scheme that allows you to pay contributions to access the country’s national healthcare system.

For those under 65 years of age, you will be required to pay €60 each month. For those over 65 years of age, you will be asked to pay €157 each month.

What Are The Benefits Of National Healthcare in Spain?

There are many benefits when it comes to contributing towards using Spain’s national healthcare system:

  1. All staff are highly trained (all doctors in Spain are required to pass a rigorous national exam, along with having to spend several years doing in-house training).

  2. Public hospitals are now well equipped to deal with most medical emergencies we face these days.

  3. Each autonomous region has control over how its healthcare system works.

  4. You are entitled to free doctor and hospital visits.

  5. It also allows you to pay reduced prices for any medications you are prescribed, but this depends on your status and the region where you live.

However, be aware that not all medical treatments are covered. It is why a great many Spanish residents do choose to take out private healthcare insurance as well.

Downsides Of National Healthcare in Spain

Just like any other national healthcare system, Spain’s isn’t without its flaws. The main downsides revolving around Spain’s national healthcare system are as follows, and as already mentioned, this is because Spain’s healthcare system is decentralised:

  1. The kind of treatment you can expect will vary from one autonomous region to another.

  2. The national healthcare system doesn’t provide any cover for dental care.

  3. Most regions suffer from large waiting lists, which can lead to you having to wait several months before you get to see a specialist or have surgery.

  4. You may not be given the option to choose which doctor or specialist you see when you require any medical care.

  5. You may find that you are less likely to come across staff that can speak English.

We hope that the above has provided you with essential information that will help you to understand better how healthcare is delivered in Spain.