Healthcare in Madrid



Spain’s healthcare system is ranked 7th best in the world based on studies made by the World Health Organization.

The system runs on the concept of providing universal healthcare to its citizens and residents; this means affordable healthcare for everyone, something that both citizens and expatriates get to enjoy. 

Local Healthcare

Through this, 90% of the country's population is covered for medical care costs and some prescriptions. It is a tax-financed scheme managed by the country's Insalud (Instituto Nacional de Gestión Sanitaria).  

More than its affordability and accessibility, the quality of healthcare observed in the city of Madrid and all over Spain is undeniably good as both public and private hospitals have are well-equipped with modern facilities. 

Doctors and nurses are well-trained, and most are educated in Western universities. The only downside is that not all medical practitioners in the country, and even in a city as international as Madrid, can speak or converse in English. 

This can be avoided, however, as you may always check with your embassy for a listing of doctors who do speak English, or you can always get the services of an interpreter. 

Despite Spain's efficient and affordable healthcare system, many still opt to purchase supplementary insurance through private companies. Some expats prefer international healthcare insurance schemes. Either way, this is the best way for non-EU citizens to secure additional healthcare coverage for that which the public system would not cover.

In any case, private insurance can be secured locally, and anyone is eligible. The great news is that even private insurance plans are generally quite affordable. 

Expats and Healthcare in Madrid           

Citizens of EU member countries are automatically covered due to bilateral agreements. Just make sure to always have your European health card, as this would be necessary for you to avail of medical services. Through this card, an EU citizen receives healthcare benefits the same as a Spanish citizen would. 

Non-EU nationals, on the other hand, would have to be part of the country's social security system either through their employer or through voluntary contributions. 

These contributions entitle both you and your family to make use of the public healthcare system. Any child under 16 and an unemployed spouse qualifies as your dependent. 

Once registered with the social security system, you will be provided with a cartilla de la seguridad social or tarjeta sanitaria which would serve as your health card. This gives you access to emergency services, basic medical care, and some coverage on prescriptions. 

Pharmacies or farmacias are they are called in Madrid are distinguished by a green cross on a white background. Not all pharmacies are open 24 hours, so it is best to check your local paper. 

Pharmacists in Spain are well-trained in providing recommendations on what medicines to take for common illnesses. They are also less stringent with prescriptions and prices are lower than most of Europe. 

Madrid has 56 hospitals and has five physicians for 1000 residents, with a ration of 41.34 beds for 10,000 inhabitants. One downside of the public healthcare system is long lines in clinics and hospitals: to avoid this, phone in your appointment in advance. 

Madrid may be mysterious and magical, seductive in its beauty. But expats see beyond the brilliant historical architecture and intriguing culture; they see a city full of promise and opportunities, with a healthcare system that makes it all worth the work.


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