Living in Andalucía - Health Insurance



Private Health Insurance Policies in Andalucia

If you can afford a private health insurance policy while living in Andalucia, you may find it well worth it. Any Andalusian will tell you that the regional health system SAS (Servicio Andaluz de Salud) is known for its material means, but not for its "trato" - or the manner in which patients are treated.

Family doctors (GPs) generally carry a high patient load and therefore can not be seen on demand. The less urgent your problem might seem, the longer you are apt to wait. GP's in Andalucia have an average of 3 minutes to see each patient if they hope to finish relatively on time. As many are conscientious and try to give at least 5 or 10 minutes to each patient, you can easily spend a morning trying to see your doctor.

The regional government guarantees limits to wait times to see a specialist, but in many cases these guarantees are nothing more than empty promises and appointment lists are simply closed once specialists are working to capacity and can not meet the needs of further patients within the guarantee time. Average waiting lists at hospitals are 50 days, with some specialties seeing patients faster and others taking months to get you in.

It may be difficult to actually see a doctor, but once you are inside your doctor’s office an array of further possibilities await you. You may be lucky to meet with one of the dedicated professionals who strive to provide caring attention in spite of their heavy workloads, or you may be dismayed to meet with one of the many overwhelmed or burned out professionals that populate the system.

This does not mean the state health care system is to be disregarded. Locals know very well that major health crises are often best treated in the public system while lesser ailments and chronic diseases might receive quicker, more caring and personalised attention in private clinics and hospitals under the coverage of private healthcare policies.

For all these reasons (and many more) those who can afford a private policy often supplement public health care with this alternative. This ensures that you will see a doctor promptly and be treated with dignity. Should the need arise for expensive, highly specialized care, your private physician will be able to guide you into the public system - and once again, this is where the public system is at its very best.