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Spain – Health Service

In this article, we will explore the standard of healthcare in Spain, how healthcare is paid for, the services provided by hospitals, follow-up care, and rules regarding medical treatment of foreign visitors.

Standard of Healthcare

Spain has a highly rated healthcare system, with high standards of care and access to advanced medical technologies. According to the World Health Organization’s 2020 World Health Statistics, Spain ranked 8th out of 195 countries in terms of overall health system performance.

Spain has a universal healthcare system, with public healthcare providers offering services that are largely funded by the government. The system is funded through a combination of general taxation and contributions from patients. Private healthcare providers are also available, and patients may choose to pay for healthcare services out-of-pocket or through private health insurance.

Healthcare Payment System

In Spain, healthcare is paid for through a combination of general taxation and patient contributions. Patients are required to pay a percentage of the cost of medical treatment, which varies depending on their income and the type of treatment they receive. Private health insurance is available, but it is not necessary for access to healthcare services. Private insurance may provide access to additional services, such as faster access to specialist care or elective surgery.

Foreign visitors to Spain are entitled to emergency medical treatment, but they may be required to pay for non-emergency medical treatment out-of-pocket or through private travel insurance.

Services provided by hospitals

Hospitals in Spain provide a range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and specialized care. Patients’ families are generally not expected to provide care for them while they are in the hospital. Instead, hospitals provide a range of support services to patients and their families, including social work, counseling, and education about the patient’s condition and treatment options.


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In addition to medical services, hospitals in Spain also provide spiritual and emotional support to patients and their families, with chaplains and counselors available to offer guidance and comfort.

Follow-up Care

After a patient has been discharged from the hospital, they may receive follow-up care from their primary care provider or a specialist. Primary care providers in Spain are typically general practitioners (GPs), who provide a range of medical services, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment of common health problems.

In some cases, patients may be referred to a specialist for further treatment or testing. In addition to primary care, patients may receive follow-up care from other healthcare providers, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and mental health professionals. The goal of follow-up care is to ensure that patients receive the best possible care and support throughout their recovery.

Medical Treatment of Foreign Visitors

Foreign visitors to Spain are entitled to emergency medical treatment, but they may be required to pay for non-emergency medical treatment out-of-pocket or through private travel insurance. Visitors from the European Union (EU) are entitled to healthcare services through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which provides access to publicly funded healthcare services in EU countries, including Spain.

Visitors from outside the EU may be required to pay for medical treatment upfront and then claim reimbursement from their insurance provider later. It is important to keep all receipts and documentation related to medical treatment, as these may be needed to make a claim.

Spain’s healthcare system is highly rated, with high standards of care and access to advanced medical technologies. The country has a universal healthcare system, with public healthcare providers offering services that are largely funded by the government. While private healthcare providers are also available, patients may choose to pay for healthcare services out-of-pocket or through private health insurance. Foreign visitors to Spain are entitled to emergency medical treatment, but they may be required to pay for non-emergency medical treatment out-of-pocket or through private travel insurance. Visitors from the EU may be entitled to healthcare services through the EHIC, while visitors from outside the EU may need to pay upfront and claim reimbursement from their insurance provider.

Overall, Spain’s healthcare system provides high-quality care and support to patients and their families, with a range of medical and support services available both in hospitals and in primary care settings. With its universal healthcare system and high standards of care, Spain is a popular destination for medical tourism and is well-equipped to handle the healthcare needs of both residents and visitors.


Latest Videos

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.  Germany's Health Insurance Update:  Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.  COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:  With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.  Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:  Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.  Spain's New Health Advice App:  Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.  Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:  A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.  Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

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