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Health Insurance for Expats in Spain

Submitted: July 2013

In Spain, the right to health is recognised by articles 39, 43 and 49 of the Spanish Constitution. Therefore, the SNS is designed to be comprehensive and reliable. See National Health System for Expats in Spain.

There is a large private healthcare sector in Spain, and it is comparatively cheap by European standards. It may supplement SNS free services.

As public healthcare is already largely taxpayer-funded, health insurance is not automatic in Spain, even though Spanish employers may offer private health insurance for staff retention purposes.

Tax treatment of health insurance

Everyone is supposed to have an equal right to health in Spain, and this is meant to be guaranteed by the SNS. Therefore, individuals who pay for healthcare outside the NHS system are considered as seeking a private benefit on top of their basic right to health. It results that employer-provided health insurance is generally a taxable benefit in kind (with a value generally above €500).

Choosing your insurance provider

When buying an insurance policy, it is important to check who this insurance policy is for. Therefore, some policies are rather aimed at Spaniards whereas certain policies are designed for expats.

You should also check the geographical coverage of your existing insurance policy, especially if it is from a foreign provider which has not sold it as an international insurance policy for expats. It is possible to realise important cost savings if you decide to have a bi-national cover instead of a full international cover.

Going to a private healthcare provider

When you are not entitled to SNS services or when you go to a private healthcare provider, you are generally required to pay upfront and give your insurance details.



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