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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After 10 years of preparing to move to Portugal we are finally doing it.

My husband and I have taken early retirement at 55 and have work pensions.

We both have some health issues which are now stabilised, but good insurance may be a problem.

I understand we can get an S1 for two years or so and be eligible for free healthcare here.

We have paid 30 years NI contributions in England.

But I cannot find out what will happen after the two years.

We would be happy to pay Social Security contributions but I cannot find out how much this is likely to be.

Our pensions work out to a modest income-about 20,000 pounds between us.

Any thoughts please? Thanks
 

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"But I cannot find out what will happen after the two years."
Nor can anyone else, although there is mention of voluntary S/S (N.I) contributions no one I know has every been able to find out exactly what this entails, who can opt to pay or how much.

This is one of those grey areas I'm afraid that it's very difficult to get answered by UK or Portugal, as you are not yet of "official" retirement age and "retired".
Although the British Embassy do state
"15. Health Service
Under EU legislation, British citizens who are legally resident in Portugal are entitled to state medical treatment on the same terms as any Portuguese"

A lot depends on the area you settle in as different areas seem to be applying different interpretations of regulations.
As a Resident you should be able to register with the Health Service because the system is based on Residence , which then gives you full access to the Portuguese NHS at the same cost as a Portuguese National.

This is then where the problems can sometimes occur, that your local Health Service then wants a S/S number for discounted treatment, if that happens to you, then I would go down the S1 route, I think you'll find that once your in the system then that's it.

Re S1 you should do this anyway when either of you first reaches UK State Pension age as the UK will from that time be responsible for your EHIC for use in UK and rest of EU.

It would be nice to give a definitive answer but unfortunately different Health Centre's apply different interpretations even within one Regional area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thankyou for your thorough and considered reply Canoeman. Although it is not entirely reassuring it is good to know that this is a grey area, as I have searched extensively and have found it very difficult to find a definitive answer. I am grateful for your confirmation.
 

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There are two useful PDF publications on HM Embassy site, right side Living in Portugal about moving and living n Portugal.

I've always found Consulate helpful in answering queries, although they do need a bit of nudging:) as their first reply is generally suggesting you contact others, the nudging has produced results as certain pages have been updated and clarified, despite Embassy's clear statement, the health registration is an ongoing problem with lots of varied reports, and Social Security issue for those retired but not working or of state pension age an equally troublesome one, problem could be though by getting it clarified might mean S/S payments here which are not cheap, or reguirement for health insurance which could be even more expensive and not cover adequately.
 

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There is lots of confusion in Portugal at the moments (and ongoing for over a year now). The problems with registering at the health centres started in Jan 2011 when a new computer system was introduced, it seemed to start in Coimbra and is now being rolled out over all PT.

In very simple terms, if you are an EU national and officially resident in Portugal then you qualify for healthcare on the PT system because of your residency. This is different from Spain where there is a 2 year limit.

The 'new' computer system does not allow a person to be registered without a PT social security number, and if you not working or getting pension then you will not have one. It is a compulsory field in the data entry process and the person entering your details cannot go any further. This applies to Portuguese expats returning here also, not just the Brits.

The British Vice Consul has taken on this problem herself and she is liaising with the regional health authorities if anyone is having problems. Remember this is Portugal and changing a new computer system could take a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thankyou all of you. I have searched long and hard for information on this and I am sure it will help lots of other people too.
 
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