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Health and Medical: Health Care System

Like most European countries, Spain has a well-developed public health system coordinated by a national health ministry. The health ministry is responsible for defining goals and strategy for better health; it monitors the performance of the healthcare providers and regulates and regulates as necessary. Medical care at a high level is widely available. The World Health Organization’s June 2000 assessment of health systems ranked Spain 7th of its 191 member countries in overall performance. Spain has a high density of medical practitioners.

Insurance and Payments

Visitors from EU countries or from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before traveling to Spain, as to any other EU country. The card is available free of charge from the traveler’s national health authority. Presenting the card at the time services are needed allows the traveler to be received on the same basis as a citizen of Spain.

Travelers from non-EU countries must take out traveler’s insurance to avail themselves of Spanish state health programs.

For consultations with a doctor and for medications, payment is normally required up front. It is important to save all receipts for reimbursement. Hospital visits, on the other hand, may be paid for directly by your insurance policy; be sure you know before you travel.

Locating a Doctor

Embassies and consulates generally maintain lists of physicians, dentists, and medical facilities for the benefit of travelers. Also, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers (IAMAT) maintains a database of fully licensed, English-speaking doctors around the world. Office visits are available to IAMAT members at fixed rates advertised on the website,

Sources: US Department of State; World Health Organization; European Commission

World Trade Press accepts no liability for statements on this page. Consult your healthcare provider for more information.