Ah, insurance. It’s been a hot topic of conversation lately. When I listen to NPR, it seems to always be on their “Most Emailed Stories” list. People are curious about the United States’ new healthcare exchanges.
Likewise, I have become interested in finding a healthcare policy while in Spain. I have been uninsured a few times while here, and I never felt good about it. What types of insurance did I have available to me? Here’s a quick guide to different types of healthcare insurance for expats, with an eye on Spain.
1. The Public Healthcare System—Seguridad Social
Spain has a great private healthcare system, and if you’re an EU resident, you have the right to receive free medical care when visiting another country. You can get an E111 form, usually available at post offices. This covers you until you get a tarjeta de seguridad social from the social security office.
If you are not from an EU country, however, you will need to be contributing to the social security system. At the time, I was unemployed, but as a family member to my husband, I was eligible. No matter if you have the card or not, remember that you will never be denied treatment if you need it.
2. Private Insurance Policy
Private healthcare in Spain is fairly straightforward. You buy a policy that best fits your needs. Some will have a lot of copays and cover little; some will have no copays and cover almost everything. It all depends on the company and the premium. Some of the most popular companies in Spain are Mapfre, Cigna, and Sanitas. I just bought a policy, and I’m rather too excited about making some appointments for checkups.
3. Expatriate Insurance Policy
You can always choose an insurance policy meant specifically for expats. What’s the difference between this option and the previous? Expat health insurance will cover you worldwide, whereas a country-based policy will usually not. Expatriate insurance policies often cover a wider range of conditions and likely include travel insurance.
If you’re an expat, how do you address the health-care question? Does your adopted country have a good public health-care system like in Spain?