for Spanish

There are many health insurance products in the Spanish market. However, before you start to trawl through the various companies and their offers you can save a lot of time by knowing which types of policy are acceptable to the Spanish authorities. Health insurance for Spanish residency must meet certain criteria.

The Spanish government's idea of taking a health policy for Spanish residency is to ensure the person entering the country for residency purposes is not a burden on the state system. In some cases, there are reciprocal arrangements between countries, particularly EU countries, where a health insurance will not be necessary and you can use the state health system.

If you do not qualify to use the Spanish state system then you may need health insurance for your residency application. If you are self-employed in Spain or have a working contract you could be paying sufficient into the tax system to take advantage of the state health scheme.

However, if you are economically inactive, retired for example, and your country does not have an agreement with Spain in respect of access to state health care then you will have to contract private health insurance for Spanish residency purposes.

There are many advantages to private health care and even if you are paying into the state system or have the right to use it, you should consider the benefits of private health care. Private health insurance usually means shorter waiting times and treatments using the latest technologies and the best hospitals.

What type of health policy is acceptable for Spanish residency ?

The policy you contract from the health insurance policy must put you in a similar position to someone who benefits from the state health scheme. For example, someone who is employed and pays taxes in Spain is able to make an appointment to see a doctor with any further charge. Their tax contributions cover the expenses of the doctor.

If you need health insurance for Spanish residency your health policy must be "sin copago" without copayment. With these types of health policy you pay an annual premium for the cover. There are no further charges. If you go to see a doctor there is no extra fee. If your doctor then suggests blood test there is no extra fee. The annual premium covers these additional services.

There are policies that include copayments. Sometimes these are very small but they are not be acceptable to the Spanish authorities. The Spanish authorities will decline you application for Spanish residency if you apply using a policy with copayments.

The other important factor is the policy must be annual and automatically renewable. If not again the Spanish authorities will refuse your application.

What else do I need to think about ?

Knowing there are two very important conditions available when selecting health insurance for Spanish residency there are a number of other things to think about. Even with the two restrictions above there is a large number of health insurance providers.


This is one of the first factors people think about. You may be on a budget and whatever you spend on one part of your life in Spain clearly influences another aspect. Even if you are financially comfortable you will probably still want to feel you are getting good value for money. However, you should also consider the other aspects below.

Age of applicants

The older you are the more difficult it is to obtain health insurance. Private health insurance companies will have a maximum age that you can apply for cover. In addition, it is also more likely that we have suffered some kind of illness that may affect our chances of obtaining cover, the longer we have been around.

Clearly the younger the person is when they apply the more attractive a proposition the client is. There are more companies are after your business. The number of available companies begins to reduce as we get over 65 years of age. The number of insurance companies available after 70 years of age reduces further.

Location of doctors and hospitals

Whilst considering which health insurance for Spanish residency do not forget to ask where are the nearest doctors and hospitals. The availability of doctors and hospitals under an insurance policy can vary widely. It may be that in one region the private insurer has excellent coverage but in other areas the representation is poor. Most of the major providers have comprehensive national coverage, however, it does not hurt to ask the broker or agent to check for you.

It is no good having a private health insurance policy if the nearest medical centre is not within a practical distance from where you live.

Grace Periods

Once you have purchased your health insurance you will be able to visit a doctor if you are feeling unwell. However, not all of the services you have contracted are immediately available. Some services, for example, treatments requiring hospitalisation, will not be available until after a grace period. Whilst all health insurance companies in Spain have grace periods, they do vary. It is worth asking the question before making your final decision.

Can I apply for health insurance for Spanish residency without an NIE ?

Yes, you can use your passport. However, some Spanish insurance companies cannot accept health insurance applications without an NIE number. So, if you do not have an NIE number you can get health insurance for Spanish residency but it reduces the number of insurance companies open to you.

Please check the FAQs to find the answers to the main questions about medical insurance in Spain. You can also contact us for more information.

If you are a foreign student looking for medical insurance then also visit the page "foreign students studying in Spain"

If you are self-employed then also visit "Medical Insurance Spain- Self-employed".

For people looking for Non-Lucrative a visas then visit "Non Lucrative and Golden visa page"

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