Healthcare abroad

Dear Editor,

You featured a letter concerning the new arrangements for healthcare abroad for British Citizens.

This topic should already be familiar to most of your retired readers, because earlier this year all UK pensioners living in EU countries were contacted and asked to complete a simple form, requesting a European Medical Card. 

I did this and now possess a European Medical Card, for use if I travel outside Portugal. The accompanying leaflet states that it is not for use in the UK.

I qualified for a Portuguese medical card when I came to live here five years ago and when I became a pensioner last year I received confirmation that my healthcare would be supplied in Portugal and charged out to the UK.

I have not heard that this arrangement has changed.

Many people may not receive full information from Government Institutions in the UK, because those institutions do not know the person in question lives permanently in Portugal.

I have my pension paid into my UK bank account, but my recorded address is here in Portugal.

Many pensioners maintain an address in the UK and have their pensions paid into their UK bank, but are also claiming benefits such as Disability Living Allowance and Winter Fuel Allowance, which would not normally be payable outside the UK.

These people are in fact abusing both the British and Portuguese systems. They are receiving benefits they are not entitled to, taking advantage of higher tax allowances in UK and depriving Portugal of the additional revenue. 

From my experience it is these people who are the first to complain about a lack of services provided by the local council and the police, while they are not contributing towards the cost, justifying it to themselves by saying they spend their pensions here.

But do these people spend their pensions in Portuguese owned restaurants and on Portuguese owned golf courses? I think not.


Editor’s note: Dear Reader, please read article ‘Your rights to healthcare in Portugal explained’ .