By Jennifer Leighfield • 02 June 2021 • 11:29
It is well worth considering getting health insurance
Legal residents in Spain are entitled to access the free public Spanish healthcare system, however, there are many benefits which should make you consider getting private health insurance.
With reasonably priced insurance available, let’s have a look at some of the reasons to go private:
With the public system, you are assigned a GP at a health centre within the area where you are on the ‘padron’, whereas having private health insurance means you can choose from a wide variety of doctors across the country. This is especially important if you want the peace of mind of being able to speak to your doctor in your own language. Private medical centre have many bilingual doctors as well as translators.
With public healthcare, to get seen by a specialist, you first have to go through your GP, and the time you have to wait to be seen by a specialist can be quite long. This is not the case with private medical cover. You can make an appointment directly with the doctor or specialist that you need and choose.
Private medical centres have the best doctors, but also the best facilities, often being more like top hotels than hospitals. They offer private rooms with TV, comfortable furniture, free WiFi, and generally allow a relative or friend to stay with the patient for emotional support. The visiting hours are also more flexible and you will have more variety to choose from for your meals.
From the medical point of view, they have all the most up-to-date technology, shortening diagnosis and recovery times considerably.
There are no waiting lists in private medical care whereas on the public system, sometimes even years can pass before you receive the treatment you need. With private medical insurance, you can choose appointments on dates and at times which suit you, which is especially important when you are working. If you require a procedure at the medical facility of your choice which can’t be done within the same week, you can usually choose to go to another centre covered by your policy.
Tests results will be obtained as quickly as possible and if further tests are needed, you will be sent for them on the same day or the same week. This avoids delays in diagnosis which can be the source of prolonged pain or complication.
Another advantage of private medical insurance is that you are covered wherever you go and can get assistance even when you are abroad. The coverage will vary depending on the policy, but even the most basic will give you peace of mind when you travel.
Most private medical facilities offer video consultations online, which for many people is much easier than getting to a doctor’s appointment. Digital services also include arranging an appointment or tests, or simply having a list available of their doctors so you can choose the right one for you. Insurers also have 24h helplines available.
Most policies allow you to add services which you need at a small extra cost, such as dental care, opticians or medication.
If you require regular treatment, having private medical care will be an advantage as you will be able to find the facilities which suit you most as well as schedule your dates and times for treatment.
Private health insurance probably costs you less than you think, and most companies will allow you to choose the exact options that best suit your needs and your budget, so you are only paying for what you and your family need. Plus, they often have deals and offers, both on policies and on other related products and services.
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Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics.
Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.
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