Voluntary social insurance vs private health insurance – Healthcare in Portugal – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Voluntary social insurance vs private health insurance

Posts: 26
Community Member
Topic starter
Eminent Member
Joined: 12 months ago

I tried to get a NISS the other day but they wouldn't give me one because I don't own a business or have a work contract in Portugal.

It seems I'm falling through a crack at the moment because I'm resident in Portugal but only earn foreign income (I own a UK-based business), but then I came across this scheme, which seems to cover this sort of scenario:

I don't quite understand what my contributions would need to be (even with a webpage translator)?

And I wondered if anybody had compared Seguro Social Voluntário with private health insurance?

And what happens if you stop being able to make contributions for some reason.

3 Replies

Posts: 173
Ask Our Expats Consultant
Joined: 1 year ago

Hello Christian,

You want to get a NISS (social security number) or you wany to have a Utente Number (national public health number) ?

Thanks 🙂



2 Replies
Community Member
Joined: 12 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 26

@anavieira hi Ana, thanks for responding.

I have an utente saúde number. It was the social security number I was trying to get.

I'm still making national insurance contributions in the UK which covers my pension, but I'm not entirely sure what would happen if I was to get seriously sick at the moment, without a NISS or private insurance.

So I was trying to get my head around this voluntary social insurance scheme so I could compare it to private insurance.

Community Member
Joined: 10 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 14

@anavieira Hi I was interested in the questions @christiaan asked with regard to a NISS number. 

We've had an utente number since last October registered to our first address in Portugal. We retired early to Portugal and our income is based on earnings outside of Portugal. When we moved we went along to the Centro de Saúde in the area where we are now living, first to change the address on our record and to sign up to the centre.

We were told that was not possible until we had a NISS number. 

First I am really confused because our health record for our previous address does name a doctor and we could go along to the centre. 

We made our application for a NISS number with the help of a friend in early July, but have heard nothing since. 

Can we access the health care system here? Would appreciate advice?


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