When it comes to our health, we must be certain to select the optimum care available. Here is Affordable Mallorca’s fully comprehensive guide to the island’s best healthcare!
Whether you are searching for a generic GP, and emergency practice, diligent dentist, or a specialised surgeon, the island of Mallorca has some of the best practitioners around! However, hunting them down can be a little tricky, and the big question is: How much is the treatment and which insurance will pay for it?
Tourists and Residents #
The requirements for tourists and residents are a little different, and it is vital that you understand these differences before embarking on your holidays, or settling to live here on the island!
- Tourists require some form of travel insurance, to cover them for illness or injury during their time on the island. Even without insurance, which is a huge gamble, you can pay cash at the village or town PAC (“Punto de Atención Continuada”) but those costs can add up if your situation is more extensive than requiring a tetanus shot.
- Residents have more options, regarding registering for the local health service, or taking out their own private policy. Factors such as age, nationality and residency status may impact the kind of cover that you need. In fact, in order to become a resident you need to have private health insurance coverage with no co-payments until you have paid into the social security system and are entitled to state care.
Tarjeta Sanitaria #
This nifty little card entitles residents (those who work and reside in Spain for over 183 consecutive days each year, and hold full residency status) to benefit from the fantastic state health service. Spanish healthcare is renowned for being some of the best in the world, and is offered free of charge (to most people) as long as you are paying into the Social Security system.
As an expat, you are entitled to this service providing you meet one of the following criteria:
Living and working in Spain and contributing to social security payments
- Resident in Spain and receiving specific health benefits
- Resident in Spain and recently divorced or separated
- A pregnant woman (resident in Spain)
- A child (resident in Spain)
- Under 26 years of age and studying in Spain
- A state pensioner
- Temporarily in Spain and holder of a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)
The process is relatively straightforward, but like many things in Spain, it does come with its fair share of paperwork. The first step is registering with Social Security
(Dirección General de la Tesorería General de la Seguridad Social or TGSS). There are offices throughout Spain and across the island of Mallorca, appointments are easy to obtain and a swift process. To obtain the certificate, you need to have registered with your town hall beforehand (certificado de empadronamiento) and also present your passport/ID Card and residencia
Affordable Mallorca Tip: For those of you who aren’t fully confident with the language, it's advisable to take a friend or a translator to help you with the process!
Upon registering with the TGSS you will receive the certificate which entitles you to free medical care, you must present this alongside your passport and NIE at your local medical centre (often referred to as a PAC or Centro de Salud). Once presenting these documents at your local health centre, you will be registered with a doctor and issued a Tarjeta Sanitaria. This card is to be presented every time you make an appointment, or collect a prescription. In the event of moving house or area it is recommended that you move to your nearest health centre, although you can continue to receive treatment at your previous surgery if preferred.
The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is a wonderful little card that entitles members of EU states to access Spanish state health care at a reduced fee or completely free (depending on the procedure).
The EHIC can be used for any treatment that the doctor deems necessary, whether that be an emergency appointment, or check up for a long-standing condition. It must be noted that the EHIC does NOT give you access to PRIVATE health care.
Whilst the EHIC can be used for many things, one cannot use it for specific medical treatments (plastic surgery) or giving birth. If you are staying as a tourist and not intending to register with the Spanish public health system we strongly recommend not to rely on your EHIC alone, but take out an additional travel insurance policy to ensure you are fully covered.
EHIC cards can be purchased online, and usually arrive in the post within 7-28 days. Be sure to check the validity of your card before travelling!
Affordable Mallorca Tip: Please note EHIC cards will no longer be available to British citizens after Brexit should the UK leave the EU without a deal.
Private Policies #
As www.healthyinsurance.es points out, the waiting times in the state system and the backlog during times like the pandemic are excellent reasons to begin shopping for private coverage. Given the economies of scale it is also wise to contract as many of the policies you may need under one trustworthy company because you will pay less over all and get better service for being a loyal customer. An agent with a client base on the island can be, not only a an excellent source of information, but also a valued friend in times of great stress and need.
The most popular providers of private policies within Spain are:
- Aetna International
- BUPA Global
- Cigna Global
- Globality Health
- IKEA Family
Affordable Mallorca Tip: After becoming a bit more educated on the topic of health insurance, we asked Generali to compare their policy with one of what we thought (at first glance) as the best discoveries we made on the topic: IKEA's Family worldwide health insurance policy, at just 64€ for a 30 year old living on Mallorca.
Generali quoted 22€ with co-payment and around 40€ with no co-pay! “People mistakenly think that by going through an economical furniture chain, they will save money versus going directly to an insurance company. While it is true that IKEA has surely negotiated a good coverage for their customers, I can state with confidence that this same individual quoted here would receive better service, coverage, more extras for less money - and be supported in English through Generali,” said Pasquale Specchio.
Generali pointed out that a similar coverage outlined at IKEA Family (via Mapfre), their policy offers fewer limitations regarding hospitalisation, podologist etc. and even INCLUDES more services like alternative ones such as acupuncture, osteopath etc. Also, compared to IKEA Family, Generali covers 35,000€ outside of Spain versus Ikea's 12K. It must also be noted that everything is dealt with in Spanish at IKEA, so make sure you have a good enough understanding of the language beforehand; and that all claims must be made in person at a Mapfre office or via email. In contrast, the Generali international agent for Mallorca speaks multiple languages including English.
Many companies basically all offer the same services, but some specialise in older customers, at risk customers (complex medical conditions) and family policies. The majority of these policies will be accepted in almost every private clinic. However, we recommend checking all the ins and outs of the policy beforehand with the help of a professional in the sector.
Dentistry, much like health care, is also highly regarded here in Spain and many people travel far and wide to benefit from the services. The prices are incredibly affordable in comparison to other countries, and the treatment is second to none. However, dental treatments are not covered by the Spanish state health system unless it’s an absolute emergency, i.e. all procedures need to be paid for, unless you hold a private policy.
All residents of Spain are entitled to antenatal and birth care free of charge.
In fact, Spain’s birth care is renowned for being exquisite which is why so many expats choose to give birth here, rather than in their own country of birth!
To give birth in Spain (through state care) you must be a resident and registered with Social Security or, if you are non-resident, have private health cover with a policy you have held for six to twelve months.
Although state care is fabulous, many expats choose to go private, particularly if their Spanish is not too strong. In Mallorca alone, there are many good private clinics and hospitals, and in cities on the mainland, such as Madrid or Barcelona, there is even more choice. Offering a wider range of scans and tests than other countries, as well as a comprehensive antenatal and postnatal care programme, as well as 16-weeks state maternity leave, it’s easy to see why so many choose Spain as the place to bring their little ones into the world!
Happy and Healthy #
It would seem that Spain has almost every avenue covered when it comes to receiving the very best healthcare, and at very affordable prices.
By Zoé Holmes
21 October, 2020