Health Insurance/Public Health USA expats – Non EU Folk – Expats Portugal Community Forum
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Health Insurance/Public Health USA expats

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Posts: 3
VIP Member
Topic starter
New Member
Joined: 4 years ago

I've read numerous posts on this and other forums but seem unable to find my exact situtation, (or I'm worrying way too much) but here goes..

Spouse and I, from US, considering moving/retiring to Portugal. Will be 62 and 63 with US Social Security for income.

Understand we will need private insurance. Have found MGEN for about $2400.

Spouse has type 1 diabetes and uses an insulin pump.

Will we ever be eligible for the public healthcare system? After 3 months actual residence? or only after 5 years residence? ever? Will it help with diabetic supplies, insulin, infusion sets, etc. or will we have to pay full price? If full price any ideas what these items cost in Pt?

Thanks for any information you can provide. Access to affordable healthcare is one of our primary concerns.


11 Replies

Posts: 879
VIP Member
Prominent Member
Joined: 8 years ago

Hi Mike,

We are similar in age, US citizens and got our preliminary ok from the Portuguese consulate and then we applied here in PT and got our residency cards. We chose Allianz for our "travel insurance" for 6 months. We have bought a car and insurance and will go back to our agent for the health insurance that works for residents in PT. Unfortunately once you are older than 60 the bank's policies (cheaper) won't insure you. The good news is (at least I think) is that Liberty Mutual Insurance out of Boston has a big presence in many foreign countries including PT. So having coverage to apply for you residency visa is crucial and after that find an agent that you feel comfortable with. Likely the many expats you'll meet can give you recommendations in your area, then be sure you retain coverage through the whole year, that is what we were told at the office.


Posts: 35
VIP Member
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 years ago

Hi Mike,

Have you looked at Medis? It has been recommended over and over again and the rates seem very good. Also a discount if you join Afpop. We will be looking into that when our travel policy expires. Also checking thru our bank just to be sure.


Posts: 729
VIP Member
Honorable Member
Joined: 16 years ago

Will we ever be eligible for the public healthcare system?

Why would you be when you haven't contributed towards the cost of it for the whole of your working lifetime ? It's not 'for free' and if I visit the US I most certainly need to take out some very expensive insurance, even just for a holiday visit.


Posts: 67
VIP Member
Trusted Member
Joined: 8 years ago

There is seems to be a lot of confusion about health care but from the way I understand it (moving to PT next week),

Everyone who has residence in Portugal (officially registered at the Camara), has automatic access to healthcare. You just have to take your residence papers (NIF; Passport) to the local health center and you will get a number? Anyone disagree with this?

That is what the Portuguese law says. IT seems in different parts of the country they interpret it differently (not legal though) and insist on a SS number but this is not necessary or required from what I have heard.

So you should not have to buy private insurance but might want to.


1 Reply
Premium Member
Joined: 7 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 7

@shll Thank you for the information. Per US visa you need to purchase health insurance for D7 but if we can get under national coverage that is perfect since pre-existing conditions are not covered. Health insurance is hospital only worldwide. I will check with local health center in Torres Vedras, where we are looking to settle.


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