Congratulations, new parent! Even though you’re exhausted and overjoyed and still unsure about what your life will look like with a new bundle of joy, adding baby to insurance is a necessary step - especially given the number of check-ups, baby and child routine vaccinations and first-time parent doubts in the first year. Adding insurance for your newborn will allow you to worry less about costs and more about your child’s well-being whenever those milestones hit, so you should add this task to your list of things to complete shortly after baby’s arrival. Read on to learn more about how to add your newborn to your current insurance plan.
A brief introduction to social security in Spain
Spain’s national security system (Instituto de Seguridad Social, or INSS for short) guarantees access and equity for citizens and oversees social benefits such as pensions, sick leave and healthcare, to name a few. In nearly 150 years as a public entity, its benefits were greatly reformed when Spain became a democracy in the late 1970s and now covers all citizens, including minors, who have the right to be in the system and many foreign nationals.
How to register your baby in the public social security system
Your first step should be to register the birth in your local Civil Registry (registro civil) to obtain the Libro de Familia if you don’t have one, get a copy of the birth certificate and be able to ask for maternity and paternity leave. Completing this step will also make registering for benefits online much faster. You can read how to on Typical Non Spanish.
If you and/or your partner are receiving benefits via Seguridad Social, you may add your child or another beneficiary so long as you meet one of the following requisites:
- As a legal partner (pareja de hecho) or spouse;
- As a former partner who is entitled to alimony or a pension, as prescribed by a court of law;
- Be a direct descendent of a beneficiary who is not older than 26.
A child will be associated to one parent’s benefits, so long as that person is affiliated with the social security system. If both parents are enrolled, only one will be listed as the child’s affiliated parent.
There are two ways to do this: online or in person. You should complete this step as soon as possible, as children are given a grace period in which they can be on their mother’s insurance that typically ends in 15 days.
How to register a new beneficiary via the Internet
Point your browser to Tu Seguridad Social and sign in. You need only put in the baby’s full name, date of birth and gender at birth, and the government will match the data with the Civil Registry. Once you have completed this step, you will be able to download a certificate to take to your primary care center to be assigned a pediatrician and a health insurance card.
Important note: you must have a certificado digital or cl@ve to use this service.
How to register a new beneficiary in person
If you wish to register your baby in person, the process is similar. First, get an appointment at your nearest Centros de Atención e Información (CAISS) del Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social by using the online tool or by calling 901 10 65 70 (standard rates apply).
At your appointment, you will be asked to present the original and one photocopy of the following:
- Libro de familia (if the child’s birth has not yet been registered, you can also send the certificado literal de nacimiento).
- DNI / NIE of the parent to whom the child will be receiving benefits.
- Form, duly filled out.
Upon successfully registering, you will be given a form to take to your primary care center to be assigned a pediatrician and a health insurance card.
Should you choose to mail in your application, you must send a notarized photocopy of all documents and keep the original.
How to register your baby in private insurance
Those who do not qualify for the national health system or who wish adding a baby to a private insurance plan can do so by checking specifics with their private insurance company; you may be able to add a beneficiary though your online portal by uploading documents. Generally speaking, you will have 15 days to include a baby on your policy.
While having a private insurance plan can be beneficial in many ways, it means that your child will already have the same wait periods as you. For example, if you took out an insurance plan with a nine-month wait period for surgeries (called a carencia) and have already passed that time period, your child will not have to wait for any necessary surgeries. For this reason, it’s essential that you take this into consideration prior to becoming pregnant.
Call your insurance company prior to becoming a new parent to ask about not only how to add a beneficiary, but about baby insurance cost and coverage for that beneficiary. Is there 24-hour pediatric help? Coverage for specialists in the event that your child needs one? Are there co-pays or caps in coverage? Is it necessary for a parent to also be insured by the same company and with the same plan? Consider, too, the cuadro médico: this means that you should be sure that there are pediatricians, emergency rooms and other specialists in your area that are covered under your plan.
How to register your baby in a mutua
A mutua is connected to social security in the sense that a mutua is sustained by social funds provided by both employees and the employer, but is available only to a collective of employees, such as firefighters or judges. Beneficiaries do not have the same rights within the social security regime; for example, they do not have access to public health centers, save hospitals in case of emergency.
If you belong to a mutua, check in about specifics for adding baby, dependents or even an unemployed partner. Be sure to have your libro de familia and any affiliation number to the mutua.
Full disclosure: I am enrolled in both the public healthcare scheme and Caser’s Activa plan since 2013, and my two children are enrolled in my husband’s mutua (I am not a beneficiary because I am employed). They are thus considered private patients, and the list of doctors is dependent on one of Spain’s largest insurance providers.
Should I register my baby in public and private insurance?
This question depends entirely on the family. Social security is universal coverage, meaning that your family members will have access to hospitals, procedures and medical professionals at no additional cost to you. That said, you are assigned a GP and nurse by the local clinic and don’t have as much choice as you’d have in other healthcare organigrams.
My children do not take advantage of my social security benefits. When we were expecting our first, we considered costs, ease of access and coverage with my social security against the additional costs in my Activa plan. We ultimately chose to have the children on my husband’s mutua because their many ER visits, vaccinations and routine check-ups would all be included in coverage and because we would have no wait times. This has meant less access to nearby specialists and hospitals, which we found out when showing up to my youngest’s one-week check-up, only to be turned away because the hospital had unaffiliated.
Make registering your baby in the civil registry and insurance two of your top priorities after his or her arrival. Registration in your preferred insurance scheme is simple and will ensure you peace of mind on that first overnight ER trip!
Besides, babies sleep a lot those first few weeks anyway.
If you are searching for health insurance in Spain, Caser Expat Insurance has the right policy for you!