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Tag: Medical

Obtaining Medical Insurance For Your Visa

One of the requirements for most long term visas in Spain is to acquire medical insurance in Spain. This requirement can be satisfied a variety of different ways, such as obtaining long-term (1 year or longer) travel insurance that has worldwide coverage, or by obtaining coverage from a private company in Spain.

In terms of the non-lucrative visa for Spain, the coverage must allow at least €30,000 of coverage per year, and also not have a co-payment component. A co-payment (in North American terms) would be more like a deductible, that is a type of fee you have to pay every time you go visit a doctor or have any health services. The rationale with a co-payment plan is that it encourages people not to visit the doctor for every single issue, since they have to share in the cost of the coverage. For most long-term Spanish visa requirements, the consulate instructions often say the plan must not have a co-payment component. So this is something to definitely be careful about when you purchase a plan.

The primary plan that most people told me would satisfy the requirements was the Sanitas Mas Salud (without co-payments) plan. Sanitas is a very large private health insurer here in Spain, and they have a good reputation. I contacted a few agents for Sanitas (such as Sanitas Expat) and received a quote of approximately €72 per month.

At about the time I was getting ready to go ahead with that option, I went into BBVA to open a bank account as a non-resident. During the application process the lady told me that they had a special deal with Sanitas, and if I needed coverage she could work some magic for me. I asked her to give me a quote, and for a no co-payment plan with Sanitas, she said it would be roughly €38/mo, which is a pretty big savings. She also offered to waive my yearly bank account fees if I signed up with that plan, which would be another savings of approximately €60/year. So together, it seemed like a pretty great deal.

I did some research to determine what the difference was between the two plans. The original one I received a quote for was the Sanitas Mas Salud without co-payments, and the second one was the Sanitas Autónomos without co-payments. The second one seems geared towards people who are self-employed, while the first one isn’t.

I emailed Sanitas to get a clarification, and the agent I managed to track down said the plans were virtually identical, except the second one typically requires a person to pay into the social security system here to qualify. Since I don’t pay into the social security system here, I went back to the bank to try and sort out if I was actually eligible for it.

Sanitas Medical Insurance

Sanitas Medical Insurance

She assured me it was a special deal for BBVA bank members, and I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely convinced. But she pointed out that ultimately it was Sanitas’ decision, and the only information they had for me was my address as a non-resident and my passport information. So anyways, I decided to just go with the flow and see what happened with it. In total, assuming this medical insurance went through, it’s approximately of savings of €516 per year, which almost pays for the non-lucrative visa itself.

I went back over the course of a few days here in Spain and each time I went back the bank still hadn’t received the approval. I went back again the last time, and sure enough, she said it had been approved. She helped me login to the Sanitas website, where it showed proof of my coverage as well as my contract with them.

If my non-lucrative visa application has any issues, I suspect it will be with regards to the nature of this medical insurance. In truth, the main reason I have it is to satisfy the visa requirements, as my Canadian medical insurance plus additional travel insurance will still apply to me for the first six months I am in Spain, so I’m not actually that worried about the coverage itself (yet). Also, the bank agent gave me her email and phone number in case there were any future issues, at which point she said I could adjust the plan if required. But I’m hoping since I have proof of insurance, even though it’s a plan geared towards self-employed people (which at some level I am, just not in Spain currently), that it will be enough for the consulate in Toronto.

The entire process took roughly a week, and likely went smoother because I was actually in Spain at the time. But there are various Spanish companies (targeted towards expatriates) who represent Sanitas, so your best bet is to contact one of them. There are also many other insurers you can use, but I felt the most comfortable myself using the largest insurer here.

Getting a Medical Test for Spanish Visa Purposes

In just a month, I’m hopefully going to submit my documents to apply for a Spanish long-term visa so that I can live in Spain for a year or longer (and potentially buy a property). As part of all long-term visa applications, Spain requires proof that the applicant is in good health. For the most part, what they are concerned with is that you don’t have any infectious diseases that can be spread to others, which would be an economic drain on the health care system in Spain.

In terms of proof of being in good health, you are going to need a document that’s in English and Spanish (or one that is in English, and then translated by an official Spanish translator into English) that says not only are you in good health, but also that you do not “suffer from any illness that would pose a threat to public health according to the International Health Regulations of 2005.” That last part is the key to the whole document, as it absolutely must say you have nothing that’s part of the International Health Regulations of 2005.

My original plan was to meet up with my family doctor in Canada and ask him to sign a certificate stating that. But doctors in Canada unfortunately aren’t usually too happy when they have to do things that aren’t normally part of their job. I imagine I could have convinced him to do a series of tests to prove I was healthy, and then have that document translated, but I came up with what I thought with a better plan – since I was already in Spain visiting, I decided to simply try and get the document here.

I emailed a few doctors here in Spain, and one of them said for 60 euros he’d be happy to issue me a medical certificate. I sent along the verbiage I wanted, in both Spanish *and* English, after which he read it over and said he was fine with it. So a few days ago I met with him and we went over my entire health history. He tested my blood pressure, and then asked me about my infectious disease history. I told him I normally donate blood every 2 – 3 months, which he was really happy about since they screen for all those ailments during a routine blood donation. I showed him proof of my last donation, along with the results I had for some recent blood work I had done back in North America, which satisfied him enough to deem me healthy for immigration purposes. If you aren’t so fortunate, I imagine they will ask you to submit either a blood or a urine sample to test for some of these. But in my case they accepted proof that I had been screened relatively recently via a blood donation.

Once the appointment was over, he said he would prepare the official certificate for me in about an hour. So I walked down the beach, had a café cortado, then came back and picked up the completed certificate.

In terms of the actual verbiage, I borrowed the text that the Spanish consulate in Los Angeles suggests:

This certificate verifies that Mr./Ms. _______________ is free of drug addiction, mental illness, and does not suffer from any disease that could cause serious repercussions to public health according to the specifications of the International Health Regulations of 2005. These contagious diseases include, but are not limited to smallpox, poliomyelitis by wild polio virus, the human influenza caused by a new subtype of virus and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), cholera, pneumonic plague, Bellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers (e.g.: Ebola, Lassa, Marbug), West Nile Virus and other illnesses of special importance nationally or regionally (e.g.: Dengue Fever, Rift Valley Fever, and meningococcal disease).

and in Spanish:

Por el presente se certifica que el Sr./Sra. _______________ No padece ninguna drogodependencia, enfermedad mental o alguna de las enfermedades que suponen riesgo para la salud pública de conformidad con lo dispuesto en el Reglamento Sanitario Internacional de 2005. Estas enfermedades incluyen, entre otras, la viruela, poliomielitis por poliovirus, gripe humana causada por nuevos subtipos de virus, síndrome respiratorio agudo severo (SARS), cólera, neumonía, fiebre amarilla, las fiebres hemorrágicas virales (como el Ébola, Lassa, Marburgo, etc.), la fiebre del Nilo Occidental y otras enfermedades de ámbito nacional o regional (como el Dengue, fiebre del Valle del Rift, síndrome meningocócico, etc.)

You can see the entire document here at the LA Consulate. You’ll need to make sure the doctor signs and dates it, and also attaches their official stamp to it.

Altogether I spent 60 euros on the medical certificate, and won’t require an official translation since the document is written in both English and Spanish (and the doctor signed off on both portions). The only caveat is that each medical certificate is only valid for three months, so now the clock is ticking to submit my entire package. But right now my plan is to submit it sometime at the start of July, so I should be fine.

If you’re looking for any help with this process, make sure you join our Facebook page and exclusive Facebook group. We also send out updated information from time to time via our mailing list, and you can sign up for that below.

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