Don't be alarmed by recent press reports about the NHS changing rules for Expats, it does not affect residents in Portugal.
Recent press reports (Feb 2014) caused fear and concerns among British Expats in Portugal and those thinking of moving here, when we were warned that the NHS are making changes on 1st April 2014 that may exclude payments for overseas expats after 30 months and recommending everyone buy Private Health Insurance. You can stop worrying, we have got the facts for you.
After consultation with the British Consulate in Portugal and the UK DWP (department for Work and Pensions) we can say that at the moment this new rule does NOT apply to Portugal.
For people who have not reached retirement age, in order to register with the Healthcare system in Portugal you only need to be a resident of Portugal, there are no other requirements. This requirement differs from other European countries and overrides European and British rules.
The rules are different for people who are retired and these changes do not affect the NHS scheme for overseas residents.
For information and clarity we have included the statement from the DWP (below) as this will apply to other EEA countries that only have the minimum standards, such as Spain and France, but it does not apply to Portugal, at this time.
There has never been a better reason to chose Portugal over other European countries for you early retirement.
Please share this article to ensure that all Expats are fully informed and can stop worrying about this.
" At present people looking to retire early to an EEA country, and who have recently made national insurance contributions in the UK, are able to apply for a “residual S1 form” (previously known as an E106) to cover their healthcare needs for up to 30 months. This entitlement may change in the near future.
Removing this form of access to healthcare when abroad brings the Department of Health into line with the rest of Europe, as this form of cover has been over and above the Department’s obligations under the European Regulations.
The Department of Health is continuing to work through the operational implications of the change and will make a further announcement once this work has been completed and Ministers have reached a final decision. The change would not affect state pensioners, workers or current holders of the S1 form. It would only affect those applying for the residual S1 for the first time."