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Spain’s vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and rich history have long attracted expatriates worldwide. As an expat in Spain, healthcare is one of the most crucial aspects to consider. Spain boasts a world-renowned healthcare system that offers accessible and high-quality services to its citizens and expatriates. At Agro Invest Spain, we bring an exciting opportunity to make an agricultural investment in Spain. We are committed to bringing existing and potential clients helpful information about this Mediterranean haven. In this article, we will delve into the essentials of healthcare in Spain for expats, covering everything from the public system to private options and essential tips for a seamless healthcare experience.

Spanish Healthcare System in a Nutshell

Spain boasts a universal healthcare system that offers comprehensive coverage to its citizens and registered expatriates. Known as the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS), the system is funded through taxes and provides essential medical services at little to no cost. This setup ensures that all residents have access to quality healthcare, regardless of their financial status. Expatriates who contribute to the Spanish social security system are eligible to access the public healthcare system.

The Spanish public healthcare system covers various medical services, including doctor consultations, hospital stays, emergency care, surgery, and prescription medications. Additionally, preventative services such as vaccinations and screenings are available at no or minimal cost.

Accessing Healthcare in Spain as an Expat

To benefit from healthcare in Spain as an expat, you must meet specific requirements. If you’re an EU/EEA national, you can access healthcare by obtaining the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or its successor, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). These cards grant you access to the same healthcare services as Spanish citizens.

Expats employed in Spain and contributing to the social security system are entitled to the same healthcare benefits as Spanish citizens. This includes access to primary care centers (Centros de Salud) and hospitals (Hospitales). To gain access, expats must obtain a Social Security Number (Número de Afiliación) and register at their local healthcare center.

For non-EU/EEA nationals, you’ll need to explore private health insurance options. Many expats opt for private insurance plans offering additional benefits and greater flexibility. These plans cover services beyond primary public healthcare, including faster appointments, private hospitals, and English-speaking doctors.

Registering for Healthcare in Spain for Expats

Upon relocating to Spain, it’s essential to register for healthcare as soon as possible. EU/EEA nationals should apply for a certificate of registration (Certificado de Registro de Ciudadano de la Unión) at the local Foreigners’ Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) or the local police station. Non-EU/EEA nationals should consult the Spanish consulate or embassy in their home country for guidance on the registration process.

Primary Care and Specialists

Spain’s healthcare system emphasizes primary care, delivered through a network of medical centers and general practitioners. Upon registration, you’ll be assigned a GP as your first point of contact for medical issues. GPs can refer you to specialists or hospitals if necessary.

Expat Health Insurance in Spain

While the public healthcare system in Spain is highly regarded, you can opt for private health insurance for living in Spain as it allows quicker access to specialists and more personalized services. Private health insurance plans are widely available and offer various coverage options. These plans may cover private clinics, hospital rooms, and specific treatments not fully covered by the public system.

In Spain, the Official Colleges of Physicians (Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Médicos, or CGCOM) should be considered while choosing a medical insurance carrier. This is the official authority in charge of regulating the medical industry in Spain.

Favored private insurance providers in Spain include:


Cigna Global

SegurCaixa Adeslas

Hospitals in Spain and Emergency Care

Public hospitals offer excellent healthcare in Spain for expats and nationals, but waiting times can be longer for non-urgent treatments. Expats seeking quicker access or specialized treatments often turn to private hospitals. Expatriates can be assured that Spain provides excellent emergency medical services. The country has a well-developed network of emergency response teams and hospitals equipped to handle critical situations. The European Emergency Number “112” is the number to call for urgent medical assistance.

Language Barrier

While many healthcare professionals in Spain speak English, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations, having a basic understanding of Spanish medical terms is still beneficial. Some expats prefer to seek out English-speaking doctors to ensure clear communication. Carrying a translated medical history and any relevant documents can also be helpful during doctor visits.

Medication and Pharmacies in Spain

Pharmacies, known as “farmacias,” are abundant in Spain. They play a crucial role in the healthcare system by providing prescription and over-the-counter medications. To obtain prescription medications, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription, which can be obtained through a GP or a specialist.

An Avenue for Investing in Spain

One of the simplest ways to embark on a new life in Spain is through Spanish investment. Agro Invest Spain’s unlimited time ownership of farmland offers tremendous investment opportunities in Spain. Our innovative approach to investing in farmland, one of the highest-yielding asset classes regarding risk return, gives you access to a thriving market. Agro Invest Spain, on the other hand, can help you invest in almond farms in Spain if you’re seeking a different kind of investment that can provide stability, diversification, and consistent returns. 

Stay Healthy as an Expat in Spain

Spain’s healthcare system offers expatriates a level of care that is on par with some of the best systems in the world. Expats can seamlessly integrate into the Spanish healthcare system by understanding the registration process, primary care structure, hospital options, and the role of pharmacies. 

Whether you’re investing in Spain or living in Spain, having access to quality healthcare will undoubtedly enhance your expat experience in Spain. If you are opting for the public system or choosing private health insurance, being informed and prepared will provide a seamless and positive experience of healthcare in Spain for expats. 

Do you want to learn more about our agriculture investment opportunity in Spain? Contact our advisors today to get started.

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