Medical Insurance for Spanish Citizens Abroad

The Growing Trend of Spanish Expats and the Need for Health Insurance Like their European counterparts, young Spanish expats are increasingly eager to travel and live abroad. However, unlike other countries, Spanish emigration is currently...

The Growing Trend of Spanish Expats and the Need for Health Insurance

Spanish expats abroad: Health Insurance information

Like their European counterparts, young Spanish expats are increasingly eager to travel and live abroad. However, unlike other countries, Spanish emigration is currently at an all-time high. In fact, Spain experienced its highest level of emigration since 2008, with a 56% increase in the number of people leaving in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to Reuters. So, where are all these Spanish citizens going?

Surprisingly, one in eight Spanish citizens abroad typically chooses the United Kingdom as their destination. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK in the European Union, it remains a popular choice. Other popular destinations include France, Germany, and the United States. However, the majority of Spaniards abroad are concentrated in Latin America, with countries such as Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico attracting large Spanish communities.

Motivations for Spanish Citizens Moving Abroad

Financial and employment opportunities play a significant role in the decision of Spanish expats to move abroad. With Spain's unemployment rate at a staggering 20% and difficulty finding jobs in their fields, young people and university graduates are seeking opportunities in other countries. This increase in Spanish emigration is often referred to as a "brain drain" or "youth exodus." Despite the challenges, 80% of Spanish expats report being satisfied with their lives abroad, thanks to their adaptability and language skills.

Healthcare Challenges Faced by Spanish Expats Abroad

One major challenge for Spanish expats is navigating a new healthcare system. In Spain, public healthcare services are based on residency; therefore, when Spanish expats move abroad, their healthcare coverage does not move with them. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Spain has reciprocal healthcare agreements with several countries, including Andorra, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. This means that Spanish expats moving to these countries are eligible for public healthcare services. Additionally, Spanish citizens who obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can receive coverage like local residents in other participating countries. However, it's important to note that healthcare costs may still apply in countries that operate on a co-pay system.

The Importance of Private Global Insurance for Spanish Expats

While Spain's healthcare system is renowned for its accessibility and quality care, the cost of healthcare in many other countries is often astronomical. For Spaniards living abroad, having a high-quality health insurance plan is essential.

Private global health insurance provides expats with a wide range of options and flexibility. It allows them to access private facilities for privacy, comfort, and high-quality services, while still being able to use public facilities when necessary. These policies also offer support in finding doctors who speak their language and navigating local healthcare systems.

Lifestyle Adjustments and Comparing Healthcare Systems

Moving to a new country often comes with lifestyle adjustments. Many aspects of the high standard of living in Spain, such as walking instead of driving, enjoying leisurely meals, and access to affordable fresh produce, may not be as readily available in other countries. Additionally, smoking regulations are often more relaxed in Spain compared to other Western countries.

Spanish expatriates often find the cost of healthcare higher in other countries. In Spain, there are no co-pays for medical appointments and services, and many laboratory tests and surgical procedures are free of charge. In contrast, patients in other countries, even those with highly ranked universal healthcare systems, may face additional costs for medical services. It's crucial for Spanish expats to consider a comprehensive global medical health insurance package to ensure continuous coverage and access to private facilities.

Government Recommendations and Returning Home

For Spanish expats living in countries with deteriorating social and economic conditions, such as Venezuela, the Spanish government strongly advises caution. Venezuela's public healthcare system no longer meets international standards, making consistent healthcare difficult to obtain. Expats may need to explore options in neighboring countries or consider returning to Spain.

When Spanish expats return home, they are not automatically eligible for public health insurance. They must follow the same application process as new residents, providing proof of address and organizing their identification. It is advisable for returning expats to retain their global health insurance coverage until they are eligible for public coverage.

Remember, taking care of your health should always be a priority, regardless of where life takes you. Stay informed, plan ahead, and ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect your well-being.