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General Health Care in Spain and Affect of “Brexit”

The state of play of the Andalucian health system is under pressure due to the increase in the general population in the area. Added to this is the increase in obesity, which is outlined by 29% of Andalusians being obese, which is the highest percentage in the whole of Spain.

The latest data of foreign residents in Spain shows that there are more than 500,000 foreign inhabitants registered in Andalucia, representing 11.8% of foreigners living in Spain and 6.6% of the Andalusians. Compared with data from 1996, this group was comprised of nearly 90,000 inhabitants, which means that this figure has increased six fold over the last decade.

Insurance Cancellation Crisis

Medical insurance cancellations are currently at a high; this is despite the fact that the single biggest concern for families during the recession is the fear of being unable to handle the unexpected.

Stephen Haddrill, the ABI´s director general says: “cutting back on insurance protection is a false economy. In these uncertain times, insurance provides a vital safety net to steer individuals and families through recession, as well as helping to provide long-term security. Ditching your insurance or reducing your cover must only be last resort.

Any condition they develop while not on cover will become considered a pre-existing condition when they apply for a new policy and will therefore be excluded.”

Returning to the UK and getting back on the NHS

In 2016 Spain has 1 million British residents, many of which are working in Spain or pensioners who are moving back to the UK. If this is the case it has been confirmed by the British Consular Network in Spain that it could take 4 months to be entitled to medical care under the NHS. For this reason we are recommending that if you are moving back to the UK, your Spanish Private Medical Insurance should not be canceled straight away, since if an emergency should happen while you are waiting to be accepted back into the British system, you will need to be covered.

The Habitual Residence Test (HRT) in the UK, will carry out tests to see if you are entitled to become a resident of the UK on your return. These tests are routine. An example of one test would be to provide a bill with your address on. This is why it can take up to 4 months for your details to be updated on the NHS system.

How will Brexit affect UK citizens under the Spanish Health system?

The answer to this question is currently unknown and for this reason it is recommended that you get on to a private policy until further knowledge is available about how both countries will agree on health for Brits in Spain.

Information on expat health insurance, public and private health care in Spain, as well as international travel, medical and health insurance.

There is free universal health care in Spain. The problem is that to become insured you have to have a social security number. To get one, you generally have to either work for a company or become self employed (in which case you’ll pay to be part of the system).

If your country of origin has universal health care, then you may be able to get your country to pay Spain to cover you. For the UK, this is the case for those over 60 and for some people who qualify for the invalidity benefit. You will need the appropriate form (E121 or E106).

In some cases, you may want to keep your universal health care provided by your home country if you intend to be back and forth between Spain and home. In this case it would be recommended to purchase additional health or travel insurance from a home-country insurance provider that supplements your universal health care for the duration of your stay in Spain.

Please note with Brexit the above is now under question

In Canada, for example, you will need to continue paying for your provincial health care and notify them of your extended absence from the country to ensure continued coverage. This is a requirement of getting private health or travel insurance anyway.

List of health / Medical specialties that private health insurance provides:


Anesthesiology Nursing assistant
Angelology & Cardiovascular Surgery Midwife
Asthma & Allergy Nephrology
Brain Surgery Neonatology
Cardiology Odontology
Chiropody Oncology
Dermatology Ophthalmology
Digestive Surgery Plastic & Repair Surgery
Endocrinology Pneumology
General Surgery Psychiatrist
Geriatrics Rehab & Physiotherapy
Gynecology Rheumatology
Hematology Thoracic surgery
Hematology Thoracic surgery
Infants Surgery Tocology
Internal Medicine Traumatology
Logopaedics / Speech Therapy Urology
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