Healthcare in Spain (Convenio Especial)

Nov. 6, 2017 Stuart Ross

One of the main question I get asked by clients looking to move to Spain is What about Healthcare? It has always been the case that if you are of State retirement age in the UK then under the reciprocal agreement you get free healthcare here in Spain. Many people are asking if this will be affected by Brexit. The truth is nobody knows at the moment. People of working age are told they have to have private health insurance.

There is a very good and much cheaper alternative especially if you have a pre existing conditions. For 60 Euros per month you can buy into the Spanish health system. (See Below)


Spanish regional health authorities offer a pay-in scheme for health care services. This is called ‘Convenio Especial’ and should be available from a local social security office. This is a public health care insurance scheme that is available throughout Spain to enable expats to access state-run health care. The scheme is managed by each autonomous region, so there may be some variations between them. 

Most importantly, and unlike private health insurance, the scheme is offered 
regardless of pre-existing conditions. Children are already protected under Spanish law, as are pregnant women, and so there is no need to take out Convenio Especial for them, as they are entitled to free health care anyway. As far as I am aware, the only downsides are that if you wish to travel out of Spain, you do not have the right to claim a European Health card, and would need to take out private travel insurance for the period that you are away from home. In addition, expats are responsible for the full cost of prescriptions under this scheme. Do also be aware that patients are expected to have sufficient understanding of Spanish, since unlike most private hospitals, interpreters are not provided and it is a matter of luck whether or not your doctor or consultant speaks English.

Under the Convenio Especial scheme, expats pay a monthly fee of 60 euros per month for the under 65s, and 157 euros for those aged 65 and above, which compares very favourably with premiums charged by most private health insurance companies (not including special offers, or premiums merely designed to tempt you into signing up).


See the following blog on how to apply