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Health Insurance Spain Grace period


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What is the health insurance Spain grace period?

Whilst it is possible to visit the doctor from the first day of paying for your policy some important aspects of your Spanish health insurance policy are not always immediately available to you.

There is a list of benefits of your policy that fall under the grace period. The company’s terms and conditions detail these. Until the grace period ends these services or benefits are not available to you.

The grace period only affects the first year you take the policy. Once the grace period has expired you will have full access to the policy.

Some benefits will have longer grace periods than others. The typical exclusions are surgery and hospital care unless you suffer a life-threatening emergency. Treatment for childbirth or transplants. Each insurance company defines what benefits of your policy are not available during the grace period.

How long is a grace period?

The individual insurance company determines which of the benefits of your Spanish health insurance policy are not available until the grace period ends. They also decide how long are the grace periods.

Most companies exclude hospitalisation, as one example, for a minimum of 6 months. Some Spanish insurance companies exclude it for even longer. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, the insurer waives the grace period. We have seen exclusion periods of up to 10 months with even well-known private health insurance companies in Spain.

Treatment for childbirth may also be excluded for a period of say 8 months. Remember this only when taking out a new Spanish private medical insurance policy for the first time.

If you are looking for Spanish health insurance for a non-lucrative visa or Golden visa then depending on where you are applying will depend on whether a Spanish health policy with a grace period is acceptable. Use the weblinks in the previous sentence to find out more information on what health policies are admissible.

If I change Spanish health insurance company will I suffer another grace period?

The short answer is no.

Why would you want to move from one health insurance company to another if you then have to put yourself and your family through another grace period? It would not be a very attractive proposition. The potential new health insurance company waives the grace period if you bring your business to them.

You have to prove to the new company that your current policy premiums are up to date. They will also want to know if the policy is active. Most companies will accept the last payment receipt of the premium and copies of the policyholders’ plastic medical cards.

Assuming the new company is willing to underwrite the policy then they will usually waive the grace period.

Is it possible to waive a grace period?

In certain circumstances, a Spanish health insurance company waives the grace period. For example, if you are looking to switch from one provider to another on renewal. Another example is where the Spanish private medical insurance company offers an amended version of its normal product to clients seeking a Spanish non-lucrative visa or Spanish golden visa. Some companies have amended existing products and others have standalone products for visas with no grace periods.

Some companies that have health insurance providers in your home country and also happen to have a subsidiary company in Spain will transfer a policy from one country to another. This does mean you usually have to give up the policy you held in the original country.

One of the main benefits of this though is you can avoid a grace period. Secondly, some cover conditions that have received treatment under the original policy and would usually be classed as pre-existing conditions with a new provider.

If you are a new customer of private health insurance in Spain, currently living in Spain then you cannot avoid the grace period.

If I am applying for a Spanish non-lucrative visa can I get Spanish health insurance with no grace period?

Yes and in some cases it will be necessary if you want the Spanish Consulate or Embassy to accept it for your visa application.

Around the world different Spanish Consulates and Embassies appear to focus on different aspects of a Spanish health policy to decide whether it is acceptable for a Spanish visa application. For example, we are aware that in some countries the Spanish private health insurance policy must be without a grace period. In other areas, they do not seem to be interested in whether the health policy has a grace period or not.

Please follow these links for more information on health insurance in Spain for a non-lucrative visa or Spanish Golden visa.