Basic Spanish healthcare system

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08 May 2015 18:36 by nasus Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

I wonder if anyone could answer a couple of questions please?
At present my husband and I live in France but are looking to relocate to Spain, to the Costa Blanca south area.

I am in receipt of a state pension and a teacher's pension. My husband is 3 years younger than me so he is my dependent (we have a form S1). Could this agreement continue in Spain?
Without taking any top up medical insurance, once we have registered with social security and got a health card;
What is the cover we would get if we had to go into hospital? 
Would surgeon's fees and hospital bed fees be covered?
If we required xrays or scans, would these fees be covered or would we be required to pay a proportion, and if so, what percentage?
Would we have to pay for a doctor's appointment? (We do here but then are reimbursed a percentage).
Would the 10% contribution to prescriptions apply to my husband as well as myself (as happens here in France)?
Hope you can help with these questions. We have trawled the internet but can find nothing about one's 'allowances' on the Spanish basic healthcare system.


This message was last edited by nasus on 08/05/2015.

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08 May 2015 18:53 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 812 posts Send private message

Everything is covered once you take out residency except for the prescription charges. Only those over pensionable age pay the 10% fee (up to a maximum of 8 euro a month if you earn under 100,000 euro a year).

Under pensionable age pays 40% of the cost with no cap.

The Spanish NHS is excellent. There are no hospital fees to pay once you have your healthcard which registered on the social security system. The only difference is that nurses in the hospitals are there as medical staff and don't, generally, do the cleaning and feeding like they do in UK as families tend to take care of that. Unless, of course, there is no one available and then they do.

Ask the International Pensions Centre in Newcastle for an updated S1 giving your Spanish address and they will post the completed form to you. Depending on where you are going to live, you either take this to the INSS office, the medical centre or, in some cases, the town hall and they will issue you a temporary card until the full one comes through. You can only do this once you have taken out residency and signed on the "padron" which is the equivalent of the electoral roll here.


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08 May 2015 20:18 by nasus Star rating. 2 posts Send private message

Thank you very much for replying. That is all very interesting. We understand all that about a medical card and will contact Newcastle as you suggest.

So do we not have to pay to see a doctor?

And is it not necessary therefore to take out top up cover?

We were on holiday in Spain a couple of years ago and there were fundraising events being planned to help a local expat pay to have cataracts done, so we assume something like that would not be covered?

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08 May 2015 21:39 by mariedav Star rating in Ciudad Quesada. 812 posts Send private message

You are covered for everything. I know of several people who have had cataracts done on the Spanish NHS without having to pay. Maybe the expat you heard about was going privately.

I have used the NHS here on several occasions. Medication is quite cheap, obviously depending on what you want. I have an ear problem and was referred to a specialist within a couple of days after waiting years in UK. I also saw a rheumatologist within 2 days of being referred. Hip and knee replacements are also free if medically necessary and, again, I know someone who has had this done. If you are on the system, it is all free.Being over 60, I also have my bloods and about 20 or so tests done annually by the nurse. No charges.

No, you do not have to pay to see a doctor if you are resident. All people of retirement age, under 18 and registered disabled get free medical care.

Medication is quite reasonably priced if you pay for it instead of gettig a prescription. Antibiotics are available over the counter if you get advice from a pharmacist and cost about 3 or 4 euro for a pack of 30. Ibuprofen was 2 euro for a 30 pack and so on. Obviously, there are things you can't get or are too expensive so you need to see a GP. There is no charge for this if you have a medical card.

Which part of Costa Blanca south are you thinking of moving to? We come under Rojales town hall and they have a lady there who, once you are on the padron, will process the cards for you immediately and give you a temporary card. This will have the name of a doctor they have registered you with at your nearest health centre. Your husband will not have to pay as he is classed as your benefiiciary, just the extra for prescriptions until he reaches retirement age. The cap of 8 euro a month will not apply in the first year as it is linked to your tax records which is done a year in arrears. If you keep the receipts, you can claim back the excess and the cap kicks in once you have completed a tax return (everyone has to complete an initial tax return regardless of income or liability just to get you on the system).

Of all the bureaucratic things in Spain, this process was possibly the easiest.

Beware, although in this area the receptionists will speak English to you, the doctors generally won't. I think it's more to do with them not wishing to give wrong information due to the language barrier. You will need an interpreter if you don't speak Spanish at your own cost. I am lucky in that my husband speaks good Spanish and comes with me. After being here for several years, the doctor does explain things to me in English after telling my husband in Spanish. I can generally understand her but the speed she speaks at generally throws me.

The local hospital we use for consultants is unbelievable. It is a public/private partnership but, as NHS patients, we never have to pay or wait longer than the private patients. You will get a bar coded appointment slip which you scan when you get to the hospital. The computer then tells you which room to go to and how long you will have to wait. On the 3 occasions I have been, I have been seen at or earlier than my appointment time.



This message was last edited by mariedav on 08/05/2015.

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