Almost every day we are receiving questions about private health insurance options for expats in Spain. What is important and what is not, and what to look for when choosing your Spanish health insurance provider? In this video I will explain what type of private Health insurance policy will work for you if you are applying for Spanish Residency or non-lucrative visa. And I also will cover the problem all new health insurance policies in Spain have, regardless of the insurance company and how you could avoid that.
Do you need private health insurance?
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. Even though 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.
What health insurance you really need?
Ok, let’s start with what health insurance you most probably don’t need. You might find offers with international coverages, that comparing to national plans will be much more expensive. From my experience, if you are not planning constantly being out of Spain or you have some specific situation, Spanish national plan should be sufficient. Many national plans include coverage abroad for up to 90 days per trip that covers expenses between 10 to 20 thousand euros. However, keep in mind that medical coverage and travel coverage in these cases are two separate services.
No co-payments – that means you have to pay nothing for medical services, to be attended in a private clinic or a hospital; you will simply have to show your insurance card. Your only cost for medical services will be your monthly (or yearly) insurance payment.
One more advantage of private insurance plan for you could be included dental coverage. Dental services in Spain generally are not expensive, but it is nice to have them covered or discounted by your insurer. Usually the price difference for the policy is insignificant.
As a surprise to some of our US and Canadian clients, in Spain prescriptions and glasses are not covered by private health insurance, however prices for most medicine here are fraction of what it is in US for example.
To sum it up, your private health 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, and etc. All that with no co-payments and no deductibles.
What about the pre-existing conditions?
Let´s start with a fact, that Government in Spain does not guarantee private health insurance for all, so it only depends on the insurance company if they would accept your application or not.
Will pre-existing conditions be included in the coverage or not? Well, it will depend on the insurer and those pre-existing conditions themselves. If you will have a policy with pre-existing conditions not excluded the price will be higher.
It is very important to disclose your medical circumstances to insurance company, otherwise, you might end up in an unfortunate situation, when your policy is revoked at the time when it is vital to your health.
Usually first 30 days after birth infant will be covered by mother’s health insurance policy. After that, baby must become insured.
If you are older, it is getting increasingly more difficult to get coverage over the age of 65. Not only that, for new contracts at this age there can be huge jump in price comparing to the age of 64, even so that sometimes it makes sense to arrange the start for health insurance contract before reaching this age, even If the planned arrival to Spain is some months ahead.
Prices range and depend on the age, gender, and pre-existing conditions one might have.
If you somehow come by very cheap health insurance offer, most probably this insurance has co-payments, which will not work for Visa application, residency application or residency renewal purposes.
Every year health insurance policies have a small price increase. This is related to inflation, and increasing of overall cost for insurance companies and because every year we are getting older.
Be prepared for monthly direct debit payments from your Spanish bank account. This is not just for your health insurance though, for most services in Spain like electricity, water and internet you will pay by Direct Debit. If you still don’t have Spanish bank account usually a Wire Transfer is made.
Where to find?
When it comes to choosing the right health insurance provider in Spain, there probably isn´t one strictly correct answer. Different companies are stronger in different regions, however if you are moving to a bigger city like for example Valencia, most private hospitals will be covered by all insurers.
Differences will be smaller clinics and dental clinics. Or as an example, one insurer at the moment offers VIP service for their clients in newest private hospital in Valencia, which is very nice as not all doctors speak English here and the service includes translation.
At the moment best option we have found, is contacting an independent broker that would advise the most adequate choice for your situation. I have added a link in the description to our go to place. It is possible to arrange everything online quite easily there.
In the beginning of this video I have mentioned a problem that all new health insurance policies in Spain have. And this problem is Waiting Periods. There will be Waiting Periods for some Special Treatment Techniques and also variety of services. For example, hospitalization, pregnancy, different tests and scans will be excluded from your coverage for up to 9 months. How big of a problem that really is? Well, if you are young and healthy most probably it won’t be a big of an issue for you. But, if something unfortunate happens with your health, you still might have to spend thousands of euros in hospital fees.
A real-life example for that happened just last year with a family from US. One of their children playing jumped, fell unlucky enough and broke her arm. All emergencies are covered by the insurance in this type of situations, so she was attended with a great care in nearest hospital and there were no fees for that. They had to pay nothing. Sadly, the little girl needed more follow-up surgeries regarding this accident, and everything had to be paid out of pocket. If my memory serves me, the cost was around 8.000 Eur in total.
Was this avoidable? Yes, it was, but only with a health insurance plan that has a complete coverage with no waiting periods starting from the first day. So, talk to your insurer or broker before signing your contract.
Please let me know in the comments if this information is useful to you and if you would want to see similar videos about moving to Spain. If so, what would you be interested in?
Our Insurance broker in Spain: https://insbrok.com/