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News: ​Health care in Spain if you live and / or work there

17 November 2016

For many foreigners who come to live and work in Spain, the Spanish health system is getting used to. For non-Spanish speakers it is very difficult to go to a local or regional hospital and the first aid in or near the home / residence is often very different than in their own country. That does not mean that the Spanish health system is worse than in the Netherlands or Belgium, in contrast, it is often even better in many areas. That is why we need more information for those people who want to move to Spain so that they can prepare themselves.

Health care in Spain is free if you make a contribution to the system yourself. If you pay a contribution, you and your family can enjoy "free" medical care on the same basis as the Spaniards.More than 90% of the population is covered by the national system that is controlled by the government. Whether private insurance is easy to get in Spain as long as you have the money to pay the policy, there are now more than 11 million Spaniards who have taken out private health insurance and the rates are becoming increasingly attractive.

As an immigrant in Spain, you are entitled to free medical care if you work for a company, are self-employed and therefore pay the contribution yourself and are retired and receive your pension from your country of birth. If you can not be admitted to the public system try to take out private insurance.


After the arrival in Spain you go to the nearest social insurance office to request your connection number so that you end up in the system. Anyone who has paid two or more years for social security in a country of the European Union can receive up to 2 years of health care in Spain.

People who still work receive an E106 in their country of origin, pensioners receive an E121. The E111 for holidaymakers has been replaced by the European insurance card.

First aid and general practitioner

If you need a doctor, go to the Centro de Salud in the municipality or in the residential area. Here one works according to the principle, whoever comes first gets the first necessary help. Help from a nurse for daily injections is a problem, you will have to go to the emergency room every time to get the injection.

If you live in a city or village and are also registered there you can get your own doctor where you can always go by appointment. These can be compared with the general practitioners although they do not come to visit you at home but stay in the clinic. If something happens at home, the ambulance will be sent and you will be taken to the hospital.

The care in a hospital is generally of a high quality and the rooms are usually rooms with 2 beds and a bathroom. Incidentally, this is often the case with private insurance, where you are usually entitled to a private room.

Family issue

The hospital system in Spain is very focused on the family and it is expected that a friend or family stays present during the whole recording, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The nurses in the hospital are not like in the Netherlands and Belgium, they do not wash the patient, they do not dress him and they do not give the patients food. That is the job of the person who stays with the patient. Incidentally, that is not always the case and it is getting better. Patients are discharged as early as possible from the hospital to have them recuperated under the care of their family at home.


If you need a dentist, you have to go to the private system and although they do not fall under the free health care, the price is a lot lower than is normal in Belgium or the Netherlands. In some municipalities there is free dental care within the public health system. This is then limited to pulling teeth and choosing and / or filling holes. This is therefore not intended for the annual inspection and other "more expensive" treatments.

Source: Wiki spain

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