MADRID (AP) — Spaniards spent record amounts on private health insurance last year, according to data released Wednesday.
Spending in 2022 will total $11.36 billion, up 7% from 2021, according to the Spanish Insurance Association. About 12 million Spaniards, a quarter of the population, are now covered by private health insurance, he added.
This figure is all the more remarkable because all working Spaniards have to pay for public health insurance, but registered unemployed people have free access to public health care.
Only 11% of Spaniards believe the public health system is “generally working well”, according to data from a poll late last year by Spain’s CIS public research institute.
Wait times for doctor appointments have doubled across Spain since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but nearly 40% waited more than three months to see a specialist.
In Madrid, the capital, doctors have staged a series of strikes in recent months over wages and working conditions.
Despite having the highest per capita income, Madrid spends the least on primary health care of any region in Spain, according to the Medical Union. They claim that for every €2 spent on healthcare in Madrid, €1 ends up going to the private sector.
Healthcare in Spain is delegated to 17 local governments.
The World Health Organization warned last year that all European countries “currently face serious challenges related to their health and care workforce.”
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