Healthcare on the Costa Blanca
Are you covered by the Spanish National Health Service?
Safety in the Spanish sun
Private Health Insurance on the Costa Blanca
Even though you may be covered by the Spanish national health system, many of you will feel insecure and uncomfortable not being able to converse adequately with a healthcare professional in a foreign language.
Although many doctors and nurses speak at least a little English, it is not always the norm. Denia hospital, for example, employs a translator to assist with the many foreign citizens that are attended every day both in the emergency ward and the out patients clinics. With a subject so important as your health, the ability to choose your health centre based on your language preference, may well be the best option.
There are a number of private health companies available in Spain but most fall into two categories -
1. Designated schemes - that supply you with a list of approved practitioners that you must adhere to, handing over a voucher/ticket from a booklet supplied by the insurance company, each time you make a visit to one of their affiliates;
2. Completely private - that allow you carte blanche to choose your own specialist.
Obviously, option number one is by far the cheaper of the two even though you are a little restricted as to whom you can choose as your doctor. Having said that, the lists themselves are fairly extensive and you should have no problem finding the appropriate medical professionals for your needs. If you particularly want to use a specific hospital or clinic, then you will need to shop around for the company that has them included in their list. The obvious thing to do would be to ask the hospital or clinic direct as to the health insurance company they work with.
Both schemes cover you for extended stays outside Spain of up to 60 days for emergency treatment and some of the Completely Private schemes even cover regular treatment in foreign hospitals. In either case you will need to first pay the bill and then reclaim the amount from the health insurance company on your return to Spain. Be careful to read the small print as they may be an upper limit on the claims you can make outside of Spain.
Neither scheme will cover you for a pre-existing condition and you may find there is a settling in period before certain other conditions - such as pregnancy - are also covered. Ask your insurance representative before signing on the dotted line.
Dental plans are not always covered within the schemes, although some allow for a bi-annual check up but not for any remedial work. It is probably best to take out a separate plan to cover you for this.
The other thing to take into consideration, is that the Completely Private schemes usually ask you to pay an amount up front, whereas the Designated Schemes do not.
The medical services here in Spain are exemplary as one would expect from a modern, technically advanced country. Many of the top specialists from Germany, Switzerland, France and Great Britain have fully operational medical centres along the Costa Blanca. The ambulance services are efficient and prompt, with many private hospitals operating their own vehicles. So whether you choose to invest in a private health scheme, or rely on the national health service, your health and that of your family is certainly not something that should cause you any concern in your choice to move to Spain.