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Expat Exchange - Do I need Health Insurance When Moving to Spain?
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The Alhambra Garden in Granada, Spain


Do I need Health Insurance When Moving to Spain?

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Is health insurance a requirement when you are moving to Spain? This article explores health insurance requirements for newcomers to Spain.

When planning your move to Spain as an expat or digital nomad, one of the essential considerations is health insurance. Spain has a public healthcare system, but newcomers are not immediately eligible for coverage. Therefore, it is a requirement for those seeking residency to have private health insurance in place. This insurance must meet specific criteria, including a minimum coverage amount, which should be comprehensive and without copayments. It must also cover you for the entire duration of your residency application process and beyond, until you are fully integrated into the Spanish healthcare system. Ensuring you have the right health insurance is not just a legal requirement but also a practical necessity to safeguard your health and well-being during your transition to life in Spain.

Does Expat Health Insurance Meet the Requirements?

Expat health insurance policies are specifically designed to meet the needs of individuals living abroad, including the requirements set by the Spanish government for residency applications. To be acceptable, these policies must provide extensive coverage that is equivalent to the public healthcare system. This means no copayments, full coverage in Spain, and often repatriation services. It is crucial to check that the policy is valid for the entire duration of your residency permit and that it is renewable. Most insurers who offer expat health insurance are familiar with the requirements and can provide policies that comply with Spanish regulations.

Which local health insurers offer this type of insurance?

In Spain, several local health insurers offer policies that cater to the needs of expats and digital nomads. Some of the well-known companies include Sanitas, DKV, AXA, and Asisa. These insurers provide a range of plans that can be tailored to individual needs and are recognized by the Spanish government for residency applications. They offer comprehensive coverage, including general medicine, specialists, surgeries, and hospitalization. When choosing a local insurer, it is important to ensure that their network of doctors and hospitals is extensive, especially in the area where you plan to reside.

Advice from Expats in Spain about Health Insurance

Experienced expats in Spain often emphasize the importance of thoroughly researching and understanding the terms of any health insurance policy before committing to it. Look for a plan that offers coverage that is as comprehensive as possible, ideally without copayments, to avoid unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Make sure the policy is renewable and that it covers you for the entire duration of your stay. Additionally, consider the insurer's reputation for customer service, their network of hospitals and doctors, and whether they provide support in English or other languages you are comfortable with. Lastly, compare several quotes and read the fine print to ensure that you are fully aware of what is and isn't covered by your policy. A good insurance plan is one that not only meets legal requirements but also provides peace of mind as you embark on your new life in Spain.

Expats Talk about Health Insurance in Spain

"My policy costs 1017 Euros or about $1109 annually. It can also be paid monthly through a bank deduction. There is no co-pay, which is the requirement for the Spanish visa, so most treatment is included, but not prescriptions or outside consultation," said one expat who moved to Altea, Spain.

"We have a private health insurance with Sanitas and are happy with them. It’s acceptable at our nearest hospital. Sanitas was most well known health insurance among expats. They will take payments without a Spanish bank account, which we find very convenient because we didn’t have a Spanish bank account last year before we moved to Spain," mentioned one expat when asked about moving to Spain.

"I have a private insurance with Sanitas and it costs 80€ per month for a full coverage. I have to see doctors in Sanitas network. I had used the emergency service at the hospital and received excellent care. I also saw a general doctor, and OB/GYN and received excellent care. I’m very happy with the plan with Sanitas," stated one expat who made the move to Spain.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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