Spending by Spaniards is high on health insurance

MADRID — Spaniards spent the highest amount online health insurance last year, according to data released Wednesday, amid growing dissatisfaction with the country’s public health care system.

Spending in 2022 reached $11.36 billion, an increase of 7% over 2021, Spain‘s Association of Insurance said. It was added that about 12 million Spaniards – a quarter of the population – are now covered by a health policy.

The figure is even more impressive because all Spanish workers must contribute money to the public health insurance – while in public health care is available free of charge to the unemployed.

Data from the CIS public research office in Spain at the end of last year show that only 11% of Spaniards think that public health “usually works well.”

Waiting times for appointments with doctors have doubled in Spain since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but almost 40% waited for more than three months to see a doctor.

In Madrid, the capital, doctors have staged a series of strikes in recent months over wages and working conditions.

According to medical unions, Madrid spends the least on primary health care of any Spanish region, even though it has the highest per capita income. They say that for every 2 euros spent on health care in Madrid, one ends up in the private sector.

Health in Spain is provided to its 17 regional governments.

The World Health Organization warned last year that all European countries “are now facing serious challenges related to health and care workers.”

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