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Valencia, Spain

15 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in Spain

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 04, 2023

Summary: The quality of medical care in Spain is generally considered to be on par with the United States. Spain has a well-developed public health system, and private health care is also available. Emergency services are generally reliable and efficient, and ambulances can be called by dialing 112.

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What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Spain?

We asked expat moms who gave birth in Spain about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:

"When having a baby in Spain, it is important to understand how the healthcare system works. Most people are able to access healthcare through the public health system which provides basic healthcare free of charge, but you may also want to consider private health insurance when expecting. Most large cities will have many options for childbirth and antenatal classes. It is important to plan ahead and make the right choices based on your personal needs and preferences. You can get assistance from your local health centre, doctor or hospital. If you need additional guidance or help, try speaking to other parents from the area, or with an English-speaking doctor. Make sure to get your hospital documents translated if needed, and bring these documents when going to appointments. Since Spanish names for body parts might be different and the language can be challenging for foreigners, be sure to find out the Spanish equivalent and learn some necessary vocabulary to help you understand instructions, discuss any issues and ask questions. Another important aspect for an expat expecting a baby is the paperwork - make sure all legal documents have been correctly registered. Once your baby arrives, you can discover the great variety of activities, events and culture activities for children in Spain," explained one expat.

"To ask about the antenatal classes run by the midwife. They're not advertised and I just asked if there were any private ones, and it turned out that she ran classes," said another person in Granada.

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Are healthcare services good in Spain?

We asked people if they have access to good medical care in Spain. They wrote:

"Healthcare services in Spain are provided through the Spanish healthcare system, which is based on the principle of supportive, egalitarian and universal access. Healthcare is primarily financed by public sources, with healthcare services provided by both public and private entities depending on the region. Most citizens of Spain are covered through public or workplace insurance. Spanish healthcare services focus on preventive care, and provide a range of services such as primary care, mental health services, and specialized care. Hospitals and clinics in Spain are modern and well-equipped and staffed by experts in their field who are trained in the latest techniques. Emergency medical services are available in all parts of the country. Healthcare services are provided free of charge for Spanish citizens who are connected to the social security system, and is subsidized for certain medical services for legal residents," explained one expat.

"Yes. When we were applying for our visa we purchased insurance with Sanitas Health. It costs 150 euros ($165) a month. We have only used our insurance to refill our American prescriptions," said another person in Salamanca.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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