When you move to Spain, you might want to consider getting a health insurance for yourself and your family members. Being insured helps you have peace of mind as you will have full access to health care whenever needed. Below you will find useful information on health insurance policies and learn what we can do for you.
Do I need one?
If you are employed or registered as self-employed (in Spanish: autónomo) in Spain and make national insurance contributions or you are entitled to S1 form (applies to EU citizens), then you can access the public health care on the same basis as Spanish nationals. If you are not covered for public health care, you can also pay a monthly fee to access the state-run healthcare (so called pay-in scheme) after having lived 12 months in Spain. Currently, the fee is 60 euros a month for people under 65, and 157 euros a month for people over 65, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
If you have moved recently and don´t find yourself at any of the situations described above, you may still be covered by your travel insurance (normally for the first 3 months of your stay) or as an EU citizen be entitled to use your European Health Insurance Card to access medical care for the initial period after your move. Also, you may hold an international insurance policy, but if you plan to spend most of your time in Spain, a private health insurance provided by a local company is likely to be the best solution considering the cost and the coverage you get.
Although Spanish nationals can access the Spanish state-run health system for free, many of them still choose to have a private health insurance coverage because it allows them to avoid waiting lists for tests and several procedures, to get an appointment with a specialist without consulting a GP first, and generally provides a better-quality service than the public system.
If you plan to apply for the non-lucrative resident visa in Spain (for non-EU citizens) or register as a resident by showing sufficient financial means (for EU citizens), you need to hold a complete private insurance policy for your residency to be approved.
What type of insurance should I get?
There is variety of insurance policies provided by different insurers, starting from basic ones with a very limited coverage (for example, access to certain specialists only) to complete ones with international coverage. Here we will have a closer look at the type of policy required by the Spanish authorities to approve residency, and which is considered to be the most adequate choice for expatriates residing in Spain. This is a complete policy and it is provided by different insurers operating in Spain.
Basically, the insurance policy has to cover what the Spanish state-run health care system covers. It means that the health insurance has to have a full coverage including General Medicine, Accidents, Emergencies, Hospitalization, Surgeries, Specialists, Preventive care, etc., with no co-payments and no deductibles.
The general rule for this type of private insurance policies is that all services and medical treatment (even medication) provided in hospitals or medical care centres are fully covered. Prescriptions, lenses, glasses and other supplies you get at a pharmacy or at specialized stores outside the medical centres are not covered. For example, the optician is included, but the lenses are not, or a visit to a GP is included, but you would have to pay for the medication prescribed to you. The good thing is that the medication is not expensive here in Spain, and if the condition is severe, the patient is likely to be treated in a hospital and then all costs are covered, including medication.
When applying for non-lucrative residence visa, a number of Spanish Consulates require a proof of an insurance covering Repatriation and Return of Remains back to the country of origin in case of death. The complete health insurance policies provided by companies operating in Spain normally cover the repatriation and return of remains to the country of residency, that is, to Spain, but if you need a policy that provides coverage to the country of origin, you may need to buy a supplementary insurance policy covering only this specific requirement. As for the residency renewals, currently the Spanish authorities in Valencia don´t require applicants to have this type of coverage, but probably it is worth considering getting one in order to be covered in case of death, and this way avoid costs that the family members would face.
Apart from the listed services, complete insurance policies normally fully cover basic dental services (extractions, cleaning) and allow access to more complex dental services at a reduced price.
Also, it is very common to include a travel insurance up to 10K – 18K euros per accident/sickness. If you plan to travel to countries where the health care is considerably more expensive, it is a good idea to get a travel insurance for the trip.
How does it work?
Once the insurance is set up, the insured person and the family receive personal health insurance cards that are normally delivered to your home address. This card gives you full access to a number of health centres and hospitals all around Valencia within the insurers network (leading companies usually have agreements with all private hospitals and with the majority of the private health centres and specialists). When seeking for medical care, the medical staff will identify you and charge the insurance company directly, and you won’t be asked to pay anything when being attended.
There are a bit less than 10 private hospitals in Valencia city. Probably one of the easiest to access is Casa de Salud on C/ Doctor Manuel Candela 41, next to the metro stop Amistad – Casa de Salud, only a few stops from the city centre. This hospital has a very good reputation. If you are not too confident about your Spanish skills, you might want to consider going to the brand new hospital IMED, on Avda. de la Ilustración 1, Burjassot (Valencia), which was opened in the beginning of 2017. It is a bit more complicated to access by public transport but since it’s not far from Valencia, getting a cab can be a good choice. In this hospital latest technology is used, the facilities are brand new and normally they have a person that accompanies patients from other countries and helps with interpretation if needed. Also, Quiron Salud, on Av. de Blasco Ibáñez 14, offers service in different languages and is quite centrally located.
Almost all insurers offer search tools on their websites and have mobile applications to help you find the nearest centres, search for certain specialists, etc.
How do I set it up?
When requesting a quote or applying for an insurance, you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire regarding your health status and pre-existing conditions. Unfortunately, in cases of more serious pre-existing conditions, the insurer can deny to issue the policy. Not declaring some conditions like illnesses, previous surgeries or treatments is not a solution either – if at some point you need medical assistance related to one of those conditions, the insurer could even cancel the policy due to the fact that the pre-existing conditions were not disclosed. Also, senior citizens (over 65) are more likely to have difficulties in getting themselves insured.
Health insurance can be set up directly with the insurer, through an insurance broker, or in some banks. Together with our partner insurance broker, we at Moving to Valencia have developed more advantageous health insurance solutions for our clients, including cases with complicated pre-existing conditions or advanced age. It is possible to set up an insurance even if you are not in Spain and don’t have a Spanish bank account or NIE number yet.
What is the cost and how do I pay for it?
Although international insurance policies may have similar coverage, local companies normally are the best bargain. The price for the complete policy depends on several factors, such as policy type, company, health conditions, age and the number of people insured, but on average the cost varies from 50 euros to 150 euros a month per person. If you have a Spanish bank account, the insurance can be paid by setting up a monthly direct debit payment. If you set up an insurance for visa application, most likely you will be asked to pay 1 year in advance as Spanish Consulates request a proof of your coverage for the first year of your residency.
What is the coverage start date?
If you are a newcomer in Spain or don´t have a current insurer, you will soon find out that almost every insurance company applies waiting times from 3 to 9 months for several important services: hospitalization, MRI scans, preventive tests, services related to pregnancy, and so on.
If you apply for non-lucrative visa, you will be required to submit a proof of a comprehensive health insurance when filing the application – that is around 3 to 5 months before you can even start using it.
With our insurance broker we have worked hard to negotiate more favourable terms for our clients. We can provide policies with full access to all services from day one, and in many cases you will pay for your insurance starting from the actual coverage start date, not several months before your arrival.
Normally the insurance policies in Spain start on the first day of the month and are renewed at the end of the calendar year.