US citizen getting Health Insurance and Healthcare in Spain

Payment section
Care section
Miscellaneous section
 


Ways to pay: national system, or private insurance, or cash.
Get care at: state providers, or private providers.





Payment











Care





Miscellaneous



justlanded!BCN's "Healthcare in Spain"
Spanish Visa's "Get Private Medical Insurance in Spain"
Jose Marc Castro's "Retiring to Spain"
Expats in Spain's "Health Care in Spain" (PDF)
NIE Barcelona's "Health Insurance"
Maria Cecilia Tacchi's "Ultimate Guide to Getting Into and Thriving in the Healthcare System" (requires CABS login)
Seguridad Social's "Medical Assistance"


From Practical Spain's "Health Care, Hospital, Emergencies, Prescriptions":
It is sensible to have a resume of your medical history translated into Spanish, in particular detailing any specific illnesses, drugs required, or allergies. It is most sensible to have the basic bilingual details in writing always carried with you.

Practical Spain's "Bilingual SOS Form"

...

When going to see a doctor, take a medical phrase-book with you or write out the paragraph that describes your problem before you see your doctor.
My suggestions:
Write everything down ahead of time, run it through Google Translate, print it out, maybe show it to some Spanish friends to make sure it's right. Symptoms, questions, your medical history, allergies, medications, etc. Print English next to Spanish for each sentence. Print it all out and take it with you.

If at the end of the appointment they're giving you some instructions you don't understand, get them to write it down in Spanish, so you can take that home and translate it there.

Tell the Doctor booklet (€6.50)

Expats in Spain's "Emergencies,Crisis Lines and Medical Help" (PDF) (emergency numbers and a few medical terms)
"Spain Emergency Phone Numbers" image

There are translators and interpreters who specialize in medical documents and hospital visits. Probably expensive.

Spanish pharmacies will not accept a prescription from another country.

There are price and service differences among pharmacies; shop around.

Surgery service: Operarme.es

Medicare:
Medicare, with a few exceptions, does not cover expenses outside the USA. And if you stop paying for Medicare part B while outside USA, and later go back to USA and resume Medicare part B, your premiums will be higher because of the gap.

From someone on "Expats in Spain" Facebook group:
I am a contract analyst for the largest medical insurance company in the US. What I might suggest is at the very least getting a Medicare Advantage plan rather than straight Medicare when you retire. Medicare does not cover out of the country, but many of the Advantage plans will cover for any kind of emergency while you are out of the US. You do not want to give up or waive your Medicare benefits (even though they cost you) because if you come back to the US there are large penalties and a waiting period to get Medicare started for you. The penalties get bigger and bigger every year for Medicare.

... I have noticed that when retirees get a lot older and need added care, they move back to the US, and then Medicare gives them a ton of trouble trying to get their benefits back.

Elder Law's "Getting Medicare While Traveling or Living Overseas"

Surviving Yucatan's "ACA - Obamacare’s Effects on American Expats Living Abroad"



From Dave Barry's "Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need":
Medical care in Europe is excellent, and you may rest assured that if God forbid anything were to happen to you, the hospital personnel will use only the highest-quality stainless-steel drill to bore a hole in your skull to let out the Evil Spirits.

Ha ha ! We are just joshing, of course. There is really nothing at all primitive about European medical care except that in some countries they practice it in foreign languages, meaning you run the risk of entering the hospital complaining of an inflamed appendix and coming out as a member of a completely different gender. That is why many smart travelers take the precaution of having the international symbol for "No Sex-Change Operation, Thank You" tattooed on or near their private parts. ...







This page updated: February 2017.



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