An expats guide to private health insurance
By 2040, Spain will surpass Japan boasting the longest life expectancy in the world. Spaniards will live on average 85.8 years.
Why the increased life expectancy? Spain’s healthy, Mediterranean diet definitely has something to do with it. So does their single-payer, universal healthcare system.
In fact, Spain’s public healthcare system continues to rank as one of the best in the world.
But if you’re an expat moving to or already living in Spain, opting for private health insurance is advisable. Read on to find out more about the best private healthcare in Spain.
How the Spanish Healthcare System Works
Spain’s universal health care system is known as the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS) or Spanish National Health System. SNS is funded by Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social (TGSS).
TGSS refers to the contributions made to Spain’s General Social Security Fund.
Workers in Spain receive a social security number and make monthly contributions to social security. This amounts to 4.7 percent of their annual salary. These payments get auto deducted from each employee’s paycheck.
Employers contribute an additional 23.5 percent of each employee’s earnings. This results in a total contribution of 28.3 percent.
While the majority of Spaniards rely on SNS, you can and should also maintain private insurance.
Why? Because SNS won’t cover every medical expense that you incur. Out-of-pocket costs not covered by SNS include pharmacy costs, dental visits, and procedures, and ambulance rides.
These can lead to hefty and unexpected bills if you assume SNS handles everything.
The Right Coverage When You Need It Most
Besides helping with costs not covered by SNS, expats also purchase private health insurance in Spain for many other reasons.
Powerful motivators include avoiding long wait times for non-emergency medical procedures.
For example, the average wait time in Spain for a hip replacement is 123 days. And for a prostectomy 62 days. Patients even wait 65 days just to see a specialist.
In 2016, 161,700 patients sat on waiting lists for surgery in Catalonia and more than 94,000 in Andalusia.
Factoring in wait times for seeing specialists and getting treatment proves extra important for those who require regular medical treatments for non-life threatening conditions. But you can bypass the crowds with a private insurance plan.
The private insurance system also gives patients access to better in-hospital care, especially in terms of comfortable accommodations and food choices.
Expat Challenges Securing SNS Coverage
Many expats also rely on private insurance because they prove ineligible for Spain health insurance benefits. This is a common problem. After all, only expats eligible for Spain’s social security coverage can seek health care through the SNS.
If you are a visiting student from the European Union (EU) under 26 years of age, working in Spain, or over retirement age, you’re covered by health insurance in Spain. But if you aren’t yet eligible for retirement and don’t work, you prove ineligible for coverage.
What’s more, if you come from a nation with universal healthcare, your country may need to foot the bill for your medical expenses. You’ll need to fill out the appropriate forms to streamline the process.
Private Insurance Means More Options
Private insurance gives patients more choices when it comes to choosing medical providers, too. These providers boast the highest standards of professionalism, and you also have the option of finding a multilingual doctor.
Whether your grasp of Spanish proves functional or fluent, it’s best to consult with medical professionals in your mother tongue. Especially since medical jargon can differ so greatly from daily conversational Spanish.
Finally, specialized medicine such as dentistry is not covered by SNS. But you can find cheap dental plans through the private system.
No exemptions apply for pre-existing conditions, which means you can get immediate coverage no matter what the current state of your dental health.
Turner Insurance Specialists can help you find plans, such as DKV, that offer free dental and travel insurance along with their packages. So, when you begin your search, remember to inquire into your options.
The Best Private Healthcare in Spain
Choosing the right private health insurance remains one of the most important decisions that you will make as you and your family start a new life in Spain.
How much does private insurance cost? That depends on your geographical area, age, and medical health. For those who require regular treatment or who have a pre-existing condition, you can opt for the right plan for your specialized needs.
But you’ll find private plans surprisingly affordable. Get a quote now.
What’s more, they’ll give you added peace of mind while living overseas. When emergencies happen in a foreign country, even one you’ve made your home, these events can feel confusing and traumatic due to cultural and linguistic differences.
Knowing you have the best private health insurance coverage available in Spain will provide you with confidence and reassurance during difficult and stressful times.
Navigating Spain’s Universal Healthcare System
When it comes to navigating Spain’s universal healthcare system, you need an ally.
SNS can prove complicated and the bureaucracy dense and difficult to navigate, particularly if your grasp of Spanish doesn’t facilitate dealing with red tape.
While the SNS proves a laudable system worthy of praise, it also comes with long wait times, especially for non-emergency procedures. The SNS also limits your choice of doctors and facilities.
For an affordable monthly rate, you can ensure you and your family have access to the best healthcare in Spain. This gives you instant access to the best doctors, including multilingual practitioners.
You’ll also enjoy better accommodations while in the hospital as well as more options when it comes to expenditures not covered by SNS such as dental work.
Ready to Learn More About the Best Private Insurance in Spain?
At Turner Insurance Specialists, we take our role as the best private healthcare insurance specialists in Spain seriously. We’re here to help you and your family stay healthy and happy while enjoying your lives as expats in Spain.
Ready for more practical advice to ensure you’re fully covered and protected while living abroad? Check out our main website on Health Insurance in Spain here: https://www.turnerinsurance.es/health-insurance-spain/