Delicate, important, and recurrent topic. In its 43rd article, the Spanish constitution establishes the right of all the citizens to protect their health and receive medically attention. Although in 2003 it was enacted that everyone residing (legally or illegally) in Spain had access to the public healthcare system, because of the severe economic crisis of 2007/2008 and outrageous cases of health tourism, the universal access to it was restricted in 2012.
As of then, to receive assistance for non-critical illnesses and situations, legal residents in Spain require to be affiliated to or receive a pension from the Spanish Social Security, or must be registered as unemployed after having finished the duration of the social welfare.
Are you a resident from other EU states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland that just came or is about to do so? Within the first three months of your stay you can access the public healthcare system presenting your European Health Insurance Card. You shall obtain it prior to your departure and might also have to fill the S1 form when establishing your residency in Spain. In case you receive a pension from the Social Security institutions of those countries, that S1 form (together with other residency procedures) must be submitted for accessing the Spanish public healthcare system in the same conditions as people mentioned in the previous paragraph and without the three-months period restriction.
If your position is different to the precedent ones, in most cases the straightest way to access healthcare is via private insurance that usually is reasonably priced, as Amber Lattimer commented in our first podcast. For instance, with a quick search you can find that a well-established private healthcare company like Sanitas offers a basic cover starting from €16 per month.
Fortunately, independently of your legal status, access to medical assistance from public hospitals is still granted in emergency situations, pregnancy and post-pregnancy assistance, and without restrictions for all those less than 18 years old.
Finishing on the bright side with this first post about this topic, according to the ranking of national healthcare systems funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation and published in May 2017, Spain occupies the 8th position. This Healthcare Access and Quality Index is established by measuring mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal in the presence of effective medical care.
In which situation are you? What has been your experience when using the Spanish healthcare system? No matter your legal status, do you hold a private insurance?
Disclaimer: please ensure that you use this information as a starting point for your research. The legal framework might change or this overview you might not be precise enough to determine your exact position.
Links of Interest
El Blog Salmon: ¿Quién tiene derecho a la sanidad pública “gratuita” en España? (Who has the right to the ‘free’ public healthcare system in Spain?) https://www.elblogsalmon.com/conceptos-de-economia/quien-tiene-derecho-a-la-sanidad-publica-gratuita-en-espana
Spanish Social Security
La Sanidad Española en Cifras en 2016 (Figures around the Spanish Healthcare System in 2016) http://www.cesm.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LIBRO_SANIDAD_ESPANOLA_EN_CIFRAS_2016.pdf
Photos: Hospital Universitario la Paz, Madrid. Ministry of Health, Madrid.