Before you move
Before moving to Spain, it is a good idea to see your doctor in your country of origin to ensure you minimise difficulties when you arrive.
Most importantly, if you have an existing health condition, make sure you can still get your medication while you are abroad or make sure that you are given enough to sustain you whilst you are away.
Check that any medication you are taking is legal in Spain before you travel. You do not want to seem as though you are attempting to take illegal substances into the country when you arrive!
It is also a good idea to have any notes from your doctor translated into Spanish by a professional medical translator, to avoid any unwanted miscommunication.
Finally, it’s a great idea to make online copies of all your medical certificates. There are various apps where you can upload these to, keeping them safe and to hand at all times.
What you need to know
The healthcare system in Spain is one of the best in the world, ranked number 7 by the World Health Organisation. The system consists of both private and public healthcare with most hospitals offering both. When it comes to being covered in Spain, certain people require health insurance so that they can be allowed into the country and this depends on your country of origin.
If you are from the US or any other country outside of the European Union (EU), you are required to purchase individual health insurance with a maximum coverage amount of at least €30,000 (USD $50,000). You also have to make sure that you have a medical certificate that certifies you are in good health and that you have evacuation and repatriation insurance. These are all necessities for getting your visa.
When it comes to health insurance for international students, there are many options, and depending on your country of origin, you may have a specific plan to obtain your medical insurance that is required by Spain. If you are going to be traveling outside of Spain during your stay, look out for health insurance policies that include emergency health care abroad.
It is important to start the process as early as possible, and not to be afraid to ask questions to your local health services to ensure you are getting the correct insurance for your situation.
If you are a citizen of the European Union, you are automatically entitled to free basic healthcare in Spain due to reciprocal agreements among EU countries. You can get proof of health insurance coverage by requesting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your public health authorities.
However, it is important to note that an EHIC card is normally used for short trips abroad and may not cover you if you are in Spain for a long period of time or need serious treatment. Only publicly funded treatment is included on this card and therefore make sure that, if you need medical help in Spain, you specify that you want it to be under the public system, otherwise you will have to pay.
Make sure you are covered
Whether it is mandatory or not, health insurance is definitely a good idea for students coming to Spain. It is important to plan in advance, whilst you are fit and healthy, because many insurers won’t cover you if a condition has already been diagnosed! Forward planning means that you will definitely be covered for the time you are abroad.
Health insurance can help to give you that extra peace of mind when thinking about all the other things you need to consider before setting off to study abroad.