Expat Guide to Healthcare in Spain for Retirees

Contributed by Expatriate Healthcare, 23 March, 2018

Spain's southern coastline is an expat haven. From the Costa Del Sol to Costa Blanca, you can rest assured that if you're retiring to Spain from any country in the world, you will find a fellow country man or woman in sunny Spain.

One of Spain's largest expat groups is those who have retired from work and are seeking a slower pace of life, with afternoon siestas a welcome slice of peace and quiet. Whilst life in España is a relaxed affair, expat retirees should plan for their old age if they plan on living in Spain for the foreseeable future.

It is customary in Spain for the elderly to live with and be looked after by their family members. However, with family residing back in their home country, expats need to be aware of what Spanish healthcare options are available.

S1 Forms

Any retiree who lives in Spain and is the recipient of a pension, incapacity benefit or bereavement benefit from their country of origin is eligible for the same level of healthcare as a Spanish national.

Expats wishing to register for this will need to obtain an S1 form from the international pensions division of the government of their home country. The completed S1 form, along with your Registration Certificate, local resident certificate, and passport will need to be presented to your local INSS office. The INSS office will give you an accreditation to take to your local health centre.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Any EU resident heading to Spain is entitled to free healthcare for the first three months of their stay. For retirees who have a European Health Insurance Card this can provide cover for any emergency treatment needed whilst they secure access to the Spanish healthcare system.

The card only covers you for emergency public healthcare in Spain, not private or ongoing medical treatment. Non-EU expats, or retirees seeking access to private cover should invest in international healthcare insurance.

Hospital Care in Spain

Spain has a relatively even balance of public and private hospitals, with 40% belonging to the Spanish National Health System. Given that a vast majority of expats in Spain are English, Brit retirees will be pleased to learn that most hospitals have English-speaking nurses and doctors in both public and private facilities. If there is a language barrier at all, most hospitals in cities and tourist areas can provide an interpreter for a small fee per hour.

Spanish State Nursing Homes

Given that it is customary for families to look after their elderly loved ones, care homes are not as common in Spain as they are in other European countries. Very few local councils provide state-run facilities and, if they do, you will have to pay fees. Waiting lists are sometimes long and places tend to be given to Spanish nationals.

Private Nursing Homes in Spain

Due to the higher costs involved with private nursing homes in Spain, few Spanish pensioners can afford them, hence why priority is given in state nursing homes.

Private nursing homes in Spain tend to cost between £1,500 and £4,000 per month for round the clock care. Depending on your needs there are residential homes purely for elderly people who need help close by and 24-hour specialist homes for people with dementia and complex medical needs.

Help from Social Services

The resources from your local council will depend upon where you live. In Spain, only towns with a population over 20,000 have a social services arm of their local authority. Expat pensioners can receive help as long as they are on the padron – a list of all the residents who live in the town. However, it is unlikely to be anymore than brief visits from unqualified carers a couple of times a day.

Tags: Healthcare | Europe | Expats | Health Insurance | Healthcare | Insurance | pensions | Spain | services | public health | insurance | fees |



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