Who is this guide for?
This guide gives an overview of options for healthcare for English speakers who are regular visitors to Spain, such as second home owners. The guide is primarily aimed at UK citizens who visit Spain but much of the information will be equally applicable to people of other nationalities who visit here. The following information will help you understand what you need to do to make sure you have access to the healthcare that best suits you and which meets other requirements. This overview document is supported by more detailed resources available on this website.
Healthcare options for regular visitors to Spain
Here are the various options you have regarding access to medical cover. Basically, there are three options for UK and other nationals:
Using a GHIC or an EHIC card in Spain
Access to emergency public healthcare using a GHIC or EHIC card (for UK and EU nationals). Many tourists to Spain acquire a Global or European health insurance card which will allow them to access free emergency medical care in public healthcare facilities whilst in Spain.
The advantage is that the public health system in Spain is available in all areas of the country.
The disadvantage is that you cannot choose your doctor or hospital and they may not have English speaking staff to help you.
Private Spanish health insurance
A word about EHIC and GHIC cards
UK nationals who visit Spain for a short stay as a tourist are able to use either the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to access Spanish state healthcare in emergencies. NB EHIC cards that are in date are still valid but, following the UK’s exit from the EU, are being replaced by the GHIC card. However, neither the EHIC or GHIC cards are ways in which people who are resident in Spain can access state services. The only exceptions are for students who are temporarily studying in Spain or for some posted workers. As a resident in Spain you may be eligible for an EHIC card issued by the Spanish authorities which will cover access to emergency healthcare when visiting other European countries or the UK.
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