The Spanish Social Security is divided into two large systems. The general system “régimen general” is mostly insured by employees.
In addition, there are special systems “régimenes especiales” for the self-employed, freelancers, etc.
The Social Security provides a basic social service , which refers exclusively to social security physicians and hospitals.

In case of illness, you first have to contact the health center “Tarjeta Sanitaria” to the medical center of your own community “Centro de Salud”. In these medical centers, there are only general practitioners, a pediatrician and sometimes a dentist. In the “Centro de Salud” each patient is automatically assigned a family doctor. Even if a specialist is obviously necessary, the family doctor must first be consulted. Exceptions are ophthalmologists. The hospitals are responsible for specialist care. The family physicians issue the transfer there. Costs or practice fees do not apply in the Centro de Salud or in the hospitals of Seguridad Social. In emergencies, you can contact the emergency room without consulting the family doctor.

On the website of the Ministry of Health All hospitals and health centers of Seguridad Social are listed. Then only patience is required! In Spain, long waiting times are the rule. Often one waits for operations for several months!

In addition to social insurance physicians, there is an extensive range of private doctors and clinics that have contracts with private health insurers. The topic of “private health insurance” in Spain is a very complex topic.

The private insurance offers differ not only in coverage and contributions.
Two different systems are offered:


  • The insurance only with choice between the contract doctors

  • The insurance with contract doctors and additionally free choice of doctor

What should you look for in a private health insurance?


  • Is there a free choice of doctor / hospital choice worldwide?

  • What are the exclusions? (e.g., dialysis, AIDS, transplants)

  • What are the waiting times?

  • Is the benefit duration limited in the hospital or intensive care unit?

  • Is an international travel insurance included? Are preventive medical checks included?


  • What is the annual fee?

  • Is there a deductible at the doctor / hospital

Please note that existing pre-existing conditions are usually not covered by a new contract!

In principle, the choice of private health insurance always depends on the individual needs and possibilities of a person.

What questions do you have for us?
We are happy to assist you in an individual consultation