Private health insurance in Spain

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There is perfect public health insurance in Spain. Who needs to buy private health insurance? In what cases? Miguel Angel Cortés, insurance broker, is commenting.

Is health insurance compulsory for non-residents in Spain?

Private health insurance is not obligatory for non-residents if they are going to stay in Spain for less than three consecutive months. In other case, they will have to apply for the spanish residency and then, they will have the obligation to have a private health insurance.

What does the private health insurance cover in Spain?

Private health insurance covers the same as the spanish public system, full medical cover with hospitalisation and consultations. This means that people can go to affiliated hospitals and doctors with the insurance company. Normally, with the companies we work, they have agreements with all the private hospitals in the Costa de Sol like Quiron, Xanit, etc. Some policies also include basic dental covers. Consultations, teeth clean once a year, RX are completely free. For the rest, will be an excess to pay directly to the dentist.

The cost for private health insurance in Spain

Take into account that prices will depend of the age of the clients as well as their postal code where they live.

Obviously, for young people, the health insurance is cheaper than older people. Normally, the companies accept clients no more than 75 years old and the clients should not have any pre-existing medical conditions.

For example a marriage 40 years old both living in Marbella, the monthly premium will be around 115 euros a month. The same with 60 years old will be around 185 euros a month. For families more than 4 members, the companies use to apply discounts.

The annual premiums for all health insurance policies will rise each year, regardless of which company you choose. This increase is based on a number of factors including an increase in age of each party to the policy, the costs involved in providing the current services, and an element of profit, which all businesses seek to achieve. However, the market is very competitive at the moment so this should help keep increases to a minimum.

Health insurance for Spanish residency

It is important to understand when you are buying health cover for Spanish residency it must meet certain criteria. If it does not then the authorities will reject your residency application. For example, it must be an annual renewable policy and it must be without any co-payment. Some policies have a co-payment. This makes the annual premium lower but each time you use the policy you must pay a contribution. These policies are not accepted for Spanish residency. The Spanish authorities will accept all the companies and their policies below if you are applying for Spanish residency.

Grace period in private health insurance of Spain

All health insurance companies in Spain have a grace period. You can go and visit the doctor the day after paying the premium but not all services will be immediately available. For example, if you needed hospitalisation then you have to wait until you have held the policy for a minimum period of months. After that date, if you need hospital treatment there is no further grace period. The grace periods vary between the companies but they all have them. This does not invalidate the policies for Spanish residency.

The grace period if you need hospitalisation for an accident or emergency will not exist.

Important: pre-existing conditions

Pre-existing conditions are excluded from health insurance regardless of which company you choose. There is no medical examination when you apply. However, you will have to complete a medical questionnaire. The information in the questionnaire is used to decide whether the insurance company will issue the policy. After reviewing the information, the company will make one of three possible decisions:

1) issue the policy under its normal terms and conditions;

2) issue the policy but with exclusions related to something in your medical questionnaire or history;

3) because of a medical condition refuse to provide cover to one or more persons applying for the health insurance.

Miguel Angel Cortés


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