In Spain we have one of the best public health services in the world. However, in recent years the number of people who have chosen to take out private health insurance has grown constantly. Why is this? More convenient, fast and efficient healthcare; the possibility to get diagnoses, treatments, analyses, tests and hospitalization at a specific time; and the peace of mind of being able to choose the medical professional you want. In addition, many companies include this type of insurance among the social benefits they offer their employees. In short, it is about tailoring healthcare to meet the particular needs of each person. All this complements public health by private initiative.
The three main types
The ability to adapt health insurance to users’ different circumstances means there are a variety of options on offer. For example, depending on the number of policyholders it covers, the insurance can be individual, family or group; and the type of insurance system can be assistance, reimbursement or compensation. We’ll tell you how they differ.
A list of medical professionals
An assistance-type health insurance policy offers the insured party a list of doctors and health centers to choose from. You can go to these health centers, which may be owned by the insurance company or be arranged, at no additional cost or for a very low amount called a co-payment, which depends on what has been agreed with the insurer. In this way, you have access to a large number of health professionals nationwide, as well as different clinics and hospitals to choose from according to your preferences: proximity, quality, etc.
Outside the box
What happens if the medical professional you want to see is not in the list of health professionals available to you? This is what health reimbursement plans were created for. You don’t have to limit yourself to the proposed medical team: you go to the consultation, pay for the services, and then the company reimburses the invoice to the limit and/or percentage agreed in your policy.
In the case of compensation insurance, it means that the policyholder receives the amount previously established in the policy if his/her health is affected. For example, in the case of sick leave, the policyholder will receive a daily amount while he/she is unable to work; in the case of hospitalization, the insurance company pays the policyholder a daily amount during their admission; and, in the case of surgical intervention, the insured party receives a payment adjusted to a scale, depending on the nature of the operation required.
The most important thing before opting for private health insurance is to examine your personal or family medical needs. Dental coverage, for example, is more important in a family with young children. You should also make sure you are well-informed about the coverage of each policy and take out insurance that reflects the health services you are most likely to use.