Is Medical Insurance Required or Not

The are so many questions surrounding this subject and it appears that few know the answers. I read a lot on various Portuguese forums and noticed that some people under the age of retirement, are deterred from living in Portugal based on the understanding that medical insurance is a must at some astronomical cost. Below you will observe a concern over this matter through a forum posting.

Would anybody be able to assist please. My wife and I are both 59, retired but 7 years away from UK retirement age and looking to move to Portugal in the next 12 months. I understand that Portugal is no longer party to the reciprocal health care arrangements with the UK and as such we will not be entitled to any Portuguese state health care until we reach 66, i.e. UK Retirement age at which point the UK will provide support for the cost of any health care needed in Portugal. Am I correct and if so is my only option to obtain Private Health Care?

Assuming all the above is correct, I have obtained quotes for Private Health Care which are about £4000 – £5000 a year for both of us. Does this sound about right?
Many thanks
D H.

Access to the National Health System in Portugal

Having myself in a similar situation and having investigated further myself and through the help of others. It transpires that Uk expats can be covered under the Portuguese heath system.

The link here Access to the National Health System in Portugal should help in the understanding that health care is available and contains the following text.


The Uk Gov site says (May 2016) “The Portuguese health system is universal, based residence. For this reason, if you are formally resident in Portugal (ie you have registered with the Town Hall or Immigration authorities and have obtained a Residence Certificate), you are entitled to register with your local health centre and receive state healthcare.

However, EU regulations state that if you are in receipt of a State Pension from one EEA member state but resident in another, your healthcare should be covered by the state that pays your pension. For example, if you are resident in Portugal but in receipt of a UK State Pension, the UK should cover your healthcare by issuing you with an S1 (previously E121).

Therefore if you reach State pension age while living in Portugal, it will be necessary to request the form S1 from the DWP and hand it to your nearest social security office (Posto de Atendimento da Segurança Social) so that they can change the way you are covered.

If you do register with the state health system in Portugal, it is important to de-register with your GP in the UK. Likewise, if you decide to return to the UK, then you must de-register with the Portuguese authorities. You can find out more about how to plan for your healthcare if you are going to live abroad on a permanent basis on the NHS “

From the Portuguese Side

There is additional information via arsalgarve where much the same is confirmed. Again referred to here (May 2016). See Note 2 on the above link.

Disclaimer: It should be noted that the above are my own observations and beliefs and the each person should investigate such subjects as this themselves and if in doubt, seek professional independent advice. 

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