Best Ways To Get Affordable Health Insurance In Catalonia

Best Ways To Get Affordable Health Insurance In Catalonia

Catalunya, also called Catalonia, boasts of an excellent healthcare system. And if you reside there and are looking for comprehensive health coverage, do not worry.

There are several ways you can get affordable health insurance in Affordable Health Insurance In Catalonia.

Public and private health insurance is available in Catalonia and accessible to all residents of the community.

But before you choose to opt for any of these services, it is important you know how to access them, what they entail, and who is eligible for receiving treatment from them.

Affordable Health Insurance In Catalonia

Spain runs a decentralized healthcare system and so there are variations among the communities that make up Spain. Health care in Catalonia is part of the Spanish National Health System and it is provided by the Servei Catala de Salut(CatSalut).

Unlike many parts, the public health system is accessible to all of Cataluna”s residents, regardless of residency status and it also offers more services than legally mandated.

Do you know that each community in Spain has its own healthcare card and healthcare management system? Yes, they do and so coverage varies depending on where you live. The healthcare card is called TSI (targeta sanitaria individual).

Higher-income foreign residents who are not registered in the Spanish Social Security System are only entitled to basic coverage under the public health insurance in Catalunya which also includes Covid 19 vaccinations.

The health system is funded by general taxation. All workers earning wages and self-employed residents can have access as long as they contribute to the social security system.

There are about 300 clinics throughout Catalunya and the patient is at liberty to choose where to receive primary and specialized care.

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Different Levels Of Coverage In The CatSalut System

There are six different levels of coverage the Cat Salut system provides:

  1. Department of Health, health interest program 
  2. General health coverage 
  3. General health coverage except for pharmaceuticals 
  4. CatSalut second level access 
  5. Coverage based on special agreement, Royal Decree 576/2013 
  6. PMO health coverage and EMBL health coverage

A larger part of the Spanish population enjoys general health coverage( no. 2 above). However, the level of coverage access by foreigners is determined by certain factors.

Foreigners who are lawful residents with permission to work can access full healthcare coverage throughout Spain as much as Spanish citizens would. On the other hand, some visas (like the non-lucrative visa) do not allow holders access to the public health care system even though it designates them as legal residents.

Nationals of Third-countries residing in Catalunya who are not legal residents are eligible for CatSalut Second Level Access(No. 4 above). However, being registered is a prerequisite for access. 

This level of coverage goes beyond what is required by the national law and this level of care is available only in Catalunya and not the rest of Spain. 

Also, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have reached the age of retirement in their home country are eligible to access the national health-care system in Spain. But in order to gain access, they must obtain an S1 form from their country of residence. 

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Services Covered By The Public Health Insurance In Catalonia

Almost all health care services are covered for free for people who qualify for the CatSalut card and there are no exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions.

Services offered usually include 

  1. Primary care
  2. Specialised care
  3. Medical transport
  4. Physical therapy
  5. Some extent of pharmaceutical coverage
  6. Support for chronic illnesses and palliative care

Services Not Covered

Certain healthcare services are excluded by the CatSalut system. Dental care coverage is limited to extractions and injuries but not more expensive and invasive interventions. However, dentistry services are available for children, pregnant women and diabetic patients.

Medical services for aesthetic purposes are another excluded service(elective surgery). For instance, breast implant surgery for appearance is not covered but breast reconstruction after a mastectomy is covered. 

Also, podiatry is not covered, except for people with diabetes, who are permitted up to three preventive check-ups yearly.


The only charges to patients in the Spanish health care system are for prescriptions and the costs are subsidised. This was recently implemented to avoid waste and abuse of drugs.

For individuals who receive general health coverage (no. 2 above),90% of the prescription costs are covered for seniors and so they pay just 10% of the retail price with a cap on payout based on income. Also based on income, employed individuals pay between 40- 60% of the retail price.

For individuals who receive CatSalut second level access, the cost of medications prescribed in primary care is just 40% of the retail price. 

Even though you aren’t eligible for the reduction of costs as described, medications in Spain are generally inexpensive as compared to the retail prices in the US.

Additional Services

There is also a wide variety of mental-health and substance-abuse addiction services. Remarkably, residential detox and rehabilitation programs such as programs for alcohol and opiate addiction, are from 12 -18 months. 

CatSalut, beyond the normal range of health care services, also covers some services that some private health-care insurance in and outside of Spain do not cover. They include:

  • Respiratory therapies at home
  • Ortho-prosthetics
  • Attention to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Donation and transplant
  • Reassignment of sex
  • Abortion
  • Health care for trans people

How to Register For Public Health Care

To register in the national health-care system in Catalunya, you must go in person to the centre d’atenció primària (CAP) in your district with the following documents:

  • application form
  • A means of identification either your passport, NIE or TIE.
  •  Registration certificate(Padro) with an issue date of less than three months.
  • Photocopy of your social security document  if you have one.

Your CatSalut card will be mailed to the address at which you are registered free of charge.

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Electronic Access

The medical records of CatSalut, as well as private insurance, are not shared unless specifically requested. Participants in CatSalut can have access to their records online through the La Meva Salut. You can also make appointments online and arrange for video visits.

Private Health Insurance In Catalonia

Private health insurance is also available in Catalunya. They provide an alternative source of healthcare to the public health system.

While offering high-quality health services, the advantages of private health is often seen mostly in its significantly reduced waiting times and better healthcare facilities.

Other benefits that come with private health are convenience, access to more specialised services and freedom to choose your physician. It is also important to know that you can combine both private and CatSalut coverage. 

Many people in Catalunya with private insurance see their private physician for care and still maintain a relationship with a CatSalut physician for prescriptions to enjoy the reduced medication costs, because you must present an official CatSalut prescription to the pharmacy to get the discounted rates.

If you are a third-country national, you may be required to get private insurance in order to qualify for certain types of visas, and at renewal time, you will have to submit proof of your private insurance coverage again. 

Your private insurance must provide coverage equivalent to that provided by the national healthcare system and have no additional deductibles or copays. 

In Conclusion

CatSalut and private health insurance both provide excellent and remarkable health care services. However, getting health insurance that would suit your needs and preferences is most important. 

In my opinion, CatSalut is the most affordable health insurance in Catalonia but if you do not qualify for it, you can compare quotes online to find the best policies that suit your needs and budget.

Which health insurance do you think is more affordable? Please leave a comment in the section below.

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