How to choose the best private health insurance in Spain

Read this article to learn if you are eligible for public health insurance in Spain, and how to choose the best private health insurance in Spain.

Is this Spanish healthcare system any good?

Yes. In fact, it is excellent. Bloomberg recently ranked the Spanish healthcare system the most efficient healthcare system in Europe. In fact, it is one of the best in the world. HSBC compiles league tables of the best countries for expats. In 2019 it ranked Spain fourth and ranked it number one in the category of “Physical and mental wellbeing.”

health insurance in spain

Spain has some of the best healthcare in the world, whether you choose public or private

Are you entitled to public health insurance in Spain?

If you are not from the EU and have an EU residence permit, you might be eligible for public health insurance in Spain. Essentially, if you are contributing to Spanish social security every month, you are eligible. Thus if you have your own company, are a freelancer or you are contributing to social security through your employer, you are eligible. You just need to bring your TIE, proof of social security number and a copy of your empadronamiento to your local health clinic and you will be issued your card. CLICK HERE to learn more about how to obtain your health insurance card.

If you are a European Union citizen, and will not be an employee or self-employed under the Spanish law, you are not eligible for public health insurance in Spain.

Which is better: public or private health insurance?

Although both are excellent, waiting times are less if you have private health insurance. In fact, because it’s so cheap, many expats elect to purchase private health insurance to supplement their public health insurance. It is noticeably faster to have private health insurance for minor things like making appointments to see a dermatologist.

How to can get private health insurance in Spain for you and your family

Getting over the brick wall of choosing health insurance abroad...

Getting over the brick wall of choosing health insurance.

First, we strongly recommend you get a comprehensive plan that includes both in-patient and out-patient benefits.  In-patient plans include all hospital-related costs. Out-patient plans include fees in normal “Centros de Salud” or the Spanish Health centers.

Second, you need to decide if you need to get specific expat international health insurance or if private Spanish health insurance will suffice.

If you are going to live most of the year in Spain, and speak some Spanish, we recommend private Spanish health insurance. You can always get travel insurance when you travel to your home country to visit family and friends for a few days, or even weeks.

If you are going to travel a lot, return often to your home country, or might move to a new country in the foreseeable future, then we recommend you get international health insurance.

What are the best private Spanish health insurance carriers?

The market leaders in Spain, in terms of quality and size of private infrastructures, are Sanitas and MAPFRE. Sanitas is the Spanish brand name of the Bupa Group, which is headquartered in the UK but operates in a number of countries.

MAPFRE is the largest insurance carrier in Spain. It is based in Madrid and offers rates slightly lower than Sanitas. For example, if you are a woman aged 40, your insurance will be 44€ per month with a copay, and 59€ per month without a copay.

What if I want to see other options?

If you have special needs or prior conditions, you might want to shop around a bit. In this case, we recommend you work with a professional insurance broker. Moving2Madrid clients have worked with Olivier, an insurance broker with strong ethics and specialist focus. You can email him at: Mention this blog post and you will receive “white glove” treatment.

If you have any questions about healthcare in Madrid and Spain, please send us an email and we will answer!


Posted on 3 October, 2019 by Pierre-Alban Waters in Living in Madrid, New? Start Here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.