Spanish HealthcareIn its 2020 Global Competitiveness Report, the World Economic Forum listed Spain as the country with the best healthcare system in the world. This is nothing new as Spain has been applauded for its efforts in improving national healthcare policies for years. The Global Competitiveness Report determined Spain’s rankings through analysis of the socio-economic situation of the country in comparison to other nations. The Spanish healthcare system earned a perfect score in the health pillar of the report and ranked 23rd overall with the rest of the 12 pillars included. The world is curious as to how Spain has achieved the best healthcare system globally and how it continues to maintain it.

Universal Health Insurance in Spain

The Spanish healthcare system provides both private and public healthcare options. Most Spanish citizens (90%) use the provided, universal public healthcare called the National Health System. The system is run by the Spanish Ministry of Health, which develops policy and manages the national health budget. Healthcare is free to anyone living and working in Spain. This also includes agreements with other countries, which allow Spanish citizens access to free emergency medical attention when visiting particular countries. The cost of health insurance is paid through social security payments made by employees and self-employed workers. This means dependents and spouses receive the same health insurance. Those who are not covered under these regulations can look to private insurance, which is also exceptional in the country.

Private Insurance

The private healthcare system works with the public system and offers combinations of public and private coverage to certain clients. Those not covered utilize private insurance. Likewise, Spanish citizens use private insurance to get access to more treatment resources at a faster rate. The average cost of private healthcare in Spain comes to about €50-200 per month. Less than 20% of Spanish citizens utilize private healthcare as most use a hybrid of private and public healthcare.

Healthcare Costs

Important to note in the Spanish healthcare system is cost. While the cost of Spanish healthcare comes from social security payments of citizens, it is a relatively low amount when compared with the national GDP percentage that goes into healthcare costs for the country and its citizens. The reason the Spanish healthcare system is successful is because of the cohesive and effective relationships between public service officials and private company operators. Without these successful relations, Spain would not be able to excel in its healthcare practices.

With the Spanish healthcare system, questions arise about the effectiveness of public healthcare. Even though most public healthcare is free of charge, in terms of quality and care, the private healthcare system is not superior to the public healthcare system. Spain’s best medical graduates practice in the public healthcare sphere. Even undocumented immigrants can access public healthcare treatment if they enter an emergency room.

Spain has made great strides in the world of public healthcare. Thousands of people are able to get healthcare without paying a significant amount of money in the process. The Spanish healthcare system acts as a guide to other nations so that everyone can have access to quality healthcare.

Grace Aprahamian
Photo: Flickr