Spanish State Healthcare


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    • #190601

      Hello I would like readers comments on what their thoughts & experiences are of the State Health Service,my wife and I are considering a move from France to Spain,I have a heart condition which requires me to take perscribed medication each day,here in France we are members of the French State Service,CPAM which is very good,we have to pay around 1000 euros each year,and after each visit to a doctor and pharmacy,,we are reimbursed for the full amount,the 1000 euros is for a ‘top-up’ payment,from a specialist health insurance company,as the State only pays upto 70% of any treatment etc.

      Will the State system in Spain cover the cost of my medication,like in France?And also the cost of visiting a doctor or specialist?We are both retired and would like any information on this subject please.Thank you. Brittanyman.




    • #190664
      Chris Nation

      This is what the U.K.  F.O. ‘Living in Spain’ advice pages has to say.

      “If you are in receipt of a UK old age state pension or long term sickness benefit, obtain an S1 form (previously E121) from the International Pension Centre on +44 191 218 7777. Once issued, register the S1 form with your local INSS office, before you register with your local GP surgery and obtain a medical card.”

      This is for people moving from UK but it should apply to you in two ways
      1) As a EU citizen state pensioner, you are automatically entitled to the service. 2) The S1 form is to ‘decouple’ a person from one state’s health system to sign up for another – so the person does not get two bites of any NHS cherry.
      France may have some other form than the UK S1 but there will be an equivalent, to achieve the same result.
      How it all works in practice I have yet to find out. But I can report a most encouraging comment by my UK G.P. who told me that her father (who must be in his mid/late 70s) has been living in Sp for 10 years+ and her view of the health care he has received is that it has been “excellent”.
      I’m sure others will chip in with personal experiences

      • #190665

        Many thanks to Chris Nation,for the information,are there any readers with experiences of Private Healthcare in Spain?Good or bad? Brittanyman.

    • #190669
      Mark Stücklin

      I’m a big fan of both private and public health care in Spain. I use both. We have family private cover, with two kids, but often go to see our GP in the public system because it is so good and closer to home.

      I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of Spain but here in Barcelona I usually get an appointment to see our GP within a couple of hours, and hardly have to wait when I go. The doctors in my local surgery are great.

      In the private system I also get an appointment straight away, turn up, hand over my insurance card, see the doctor, and that’s it. In the UK I had to pay up front and then reclaim, which was much more of a hassle. I find the Spanish system much more user-friendly, and cheaper.

      It helps that I speak Spanish. I don’t know how easy it would be to get medical attention in English, but then again doctors are a well educated bunch, and I guess that many/most of them speak English.

      I’ve never had to pay anything for public health attention, and drugs are subsidised if you have a prescription from a public health care doctor. However, I don’t know about specialist care like yours. I’m glad to say that most of the time we go to see the doctor is about a kid’s runny nose.

    • #190677

      Most people, if they can afford it, have both private and state healthcare cover.   Mainly because there can be long waits to see specialists, have tests etc under state healthcare.   You are allowed to mix and match both systems to expediate matters.

      You can usually get to see a normal GP very quickly though, and can even make appointments online.

      You don´t have to pay extra to see specialists under state healthcare – everything is covered.   You will not have to pay anything up front, and all medication prescribed is subsidised.

      However, not all doctors will speak English (even if they have some) sometimes for fear of misunderstandings arising if they make errors in their translation of facts.

      There are many different private healthcare companies, and before joining you need to make comparisons to find one that is most suitable for you.   Most, nowadays, give you a card and you do not have to pay anything up front, but there can be restrictions on what treatment is covered depending on your policy.  However, any medication prescribed is not subsidised and you will have to pay the full price at the pharmacy.

      Speaking from personal experience, and colleagues´and friends´experiences, the private healthcare sector is very good.  So is the state healthcare sector.

      If you possibly can, the best option is to have cover under both!





    • #190695

      Hello, I have used both systems here private and national health which I am now. I have been treated by a surgeon, oncologists, cardiologists, a neurologist, dermatologist, physiotherapist, radiotherapist and have seen the treatment given to friends that I haven’t had the need for. All of the doctors spoke English with the exception of one ( I do speak Spanish. ) I live on the Costa Blanca and there is a big ex pat community here. It is a very good health service and if you do access it the treatments are free and the prescriptions are cheap. Best wishes.


    • #190706
      Mark Stücklin

      I once interviewed the author Tom Sharpe for the Sunday Times about living in Spain. He was a big fan on the Spanish public health system. I suggest you read the article Sharpe’s smart move: Tom Sharpe lives in Llafranc, Costa Brava.

    • #190749

      Many thanks to Mark Stucklin,Sunbeamray and Elizabeth,for your replies,it appears the Spanish State Health Service is on a par with the French State Health Service,which is most encouraging,also the Private Health Care sounds good as well,I was not aware that you could have the best of both worlds,stay in the State Health Service,and also join the Private Care as well,let us hope that the reciprocal arrangement that Britain has with other EU countries remains in place,if Britain decides to withdraw from the EU.My wife and I are voting to remain in the EU,I know we are biased,but it makes no sense withdrawing from an agreement that benefits all. Best Regards Brittanyman.

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