There are many different types of health insurance in Spain that vary from company to company and country to country. While Spanish nationals must always have health cover legally valid for Barcelona, depending upon your own country of origin, your particular health insurance in Spain could be quite different. Still, it’s very important to find the right health insurance before you start your studies in Spain.
Your health first – Health Insurance
The first type of health insurance in Spain you’ll need to know about is probably the most commonly available – your student visa. Student visas are granted by the Spanish government for many reasons, but most commonly to international students attending universities in Spain or even for Spanish nationals studying abroad (with permission). If you are in this category, you should certainly start your research to see what types of health insurance coverage are available to you, as well as what your obligations are. Depending on the country you are studying in, you may also have to register with the Spanish ministry of education, which will dictate any necessary fees or registrations. Some international students who come to Spain without having registered for anything can end up spending large amounts of money without ever getting the appropriate health coverage.
Another common public health insurance in Spain, you should be aware of is your holiday visa. Like students, tourists coming to Spain on vacation must also register with the relevant authorities and pay any required fees before they’re eligible to receive public healthcare services. They usually have to wait between six months and a year to get their visa stamped. For some people, they don’t have to wait much at all, but if you have a lengthy stay in Spain and are planning to travel out of the country for a long period of time, you’ll want to take note of the consuls’ advice prior to your trip.
Travel with security – Health Insurance
Of course, the best public healthcare system in Europe and the world is in France. And if you’re a senior citizen or if you have an illness that requires specialized treatment in Spain or another European country, you should definitely consider going to France and getting the healthcare you need. You could visit France anytime, as it’s only about an hour north of Barcelona, the capital city of Spain. Many elderly and disabled people from Europe to travel to France for medical treatment, and the quality of the healthcare systems there is second to none.
Some expats have concerns about the social security contributions that they would have to make if they decided to stay in Spain and take advantage of public health care. However, this is actually one of the major concerns that most Spaniards have. In most cases, the social security contributions for an expat who lives in Spain are significantly lower than those who live in Spain, simply because an expat does not have his or her family with him or her. This has been an ongoing concern for many years, and the Spanish government has taken steps to correct this troubling problem. For more information on this and other concerns, you may want to consult a local Spanish insurance company.
It is also a good idea to check with your employer and see what kind of social security plans they offer, particularly if you have been employed in Spain for quite some time and your spouse or significant other has already received a Spanish social security card. The social security number is what will be needed in order to get a Spanish health insurance plan, so it makes sense for an international student to familiarize themselves with this before making any moves at all. Just as you would with most other types of insurance plans, you can choose between private and public health insurance in Spain, but you may also have some international student specific options available.
Health Insurance for your family and you
When it comes to actual healthcare, there is no doubt that the Spanish healthcare system is better than most. However, the cost of healthcare in Spain is much higher than in the United States, which can be especially galling for an international student who is just finishing school and still doesn’t have a full pay raise he or she may be expecting. Despite these concerns, however, many professionals, students, families and expats in Spain continue to enjoy free healthcare thanks to a number of special programs and free offerings by the Spanish government. You can find out more about these special offerings and free healthcare in Spain from your local representative, who should be able to recommend a few excellent companies. (Keep in mind that the healthcare system in Spain is probably not as advanced as the American healthcare system – there are a lot of differences, and healthcare providers in Spain need to be paid a bit more, but overall the healthcare system in Spain is very good.)
As you can see, you have a number of different options when it comes to healthcare coverage in Spain, and it doesn’t matter whether you are planning on studying for five years or only a few months. If you are considering traveling to Spain, finding an insurance policy in Spain will not be difficult. Just make sure that you do enough research to find the best deal before you choose to visit the country.