Some expat residents have been experiencing problems around the Leiria district and Silver Coast, and Hey Portugal have been working with the British Consulate to resolve them. They have been refused Healthcare or charged at the higher (non resident) rates, or been told that they have to get a Social Security Number before they can register for a Health Centre Number.
None of this is correct......the Portuguese Health Systems is a residency-based system.
So here are the FACTS: The Portuguese Healthcare system is a Residency-Based system, irrespective or Nationality, Age or Working Status. As long as you are an official resident in Portugal and have a Temporary or Permanent Residency Certificate then you are entitled to Healthcare in Portugal.
It does not matter where you were resident before you arrived in Portugal. There are no time limits in Portugal, as there are in other countries. (e.g. In Spain you are only entitled to healthcare for 2 ½ years, paid for by the UK NHS, then you have to be paying social security to Spain or retired). There is information on the UK NHS website about your entitlement to Healthcare within the EEA, but if you are in Portugal then the residency-based system overrides the minimum EU rules.
There has been some confusion around the Leiria District over recent months, and some people have been told that they are not entitled to healthcare or that they need a Social Security number, this is not the case. Hey Portugal is in direct contact with the British Consulate, who are trying to sort out the confusions.
Gillian Herculano, who is the British Vice Consul in Lisbon is dealing with this matter directly. She told Hey Portugal that in conversations with a Legal Advisor from the Coimbra Regional Health Authority (ARS), she was told that “there had been an internal circular that seems to have caused some confusion within the local health centres” (particularly Alvaiázere, Ansião, Pombal and Castanheira de Perâ). ARS were not aware of the specific problems British Expats were having and they will look into the matter further.
Portuguese nationals who have lived outside Portugal are also experiencing problems, it is not just British Ex-Pats.
The UK NHS is also a residence-based healthcare system.