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Health Insurance for Expatriates in Spain

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Health policies are sold in Spain in two modalities. The first one provides healthcare services through a closed list of doctors and hospitals that have agreed to work with them. The second one permits free access to any doctor or hospital. The company reimburses the cost of the service to a percentage afterwards.

Both types present a time limit of three months when covering healthcare assistance abroad. So, when a family has to move to a foreign country for a long period or has to send the kids to study abroad, the healthcare problem arises for there are very few countries that have a public and universal heath service like Spain or that have exchange agreements for mutual service.

INESE, the Spanish insurance publishing division of Reed Business Information, published in 2008 an in depth study that compares the different healthcare products for expatriates available in the country. The study clearly sets two groups of actors in this market: health insurance companies -that provide higher capital limits for hospital and out-patients care- and travel insurance companies.

Health insurance policies, as a hole, are structured in modules that permit multiple combinations of the different types of healthcare: hospitalization, out-patient assistance and maternity, which permit the insured to choose covers according to his/her needs. Capital levels for hospital services in these policies range between 500,000 and 7 million Euros, enough to face the costs of any pathology, as serious as it might be. In this point, it gets important to get acquainted with the health system of the country of destination as well as with the different contingencies that might arise during a recovery process.

If all this is known beforehand, the insured will be able to purchase a policy that meets his/her needs. For an executive that travels a lot to foreign countries, travel insurance policies would suit him/her perfectly, for he/she will most probably get coverage at a very good price without having to make a second policy. Besides, travel insurance policies usually include other interesting covers like the one that sends a deputy executive to replace the one that gets ill, allowing the company to reduce the cost of sending a replacement.

The difference between health and travel insurance policies for expatriates also reflects in premiums. They depend on the amount of capital offered for each cover, the geographical area of the country of destination and the size of the group to insure.

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