Free healthcare is on the wish list for 70% of expats but where in Europe do they get it?


There’s just one country on this planet where healthcare is free for everybody.


Free healthcare is a significant reason that individuals move abroad, recent research has revealed.

70 per cent of those surveyed within the US by Expatsi said they hoped to profit from free healthcare of their goal countries.

The high cost of healthcare within the US is probably going a significant contributing factor. Half of American adults say it is a challenge to maintain up with healthcare costs and one in 4 say they or a member of the family has struggled to pay healthcare bills within the last 12 months, in line with KFF.

Free medical care is not the only reason people move abroad. 15 per cent of those polled by Gallup said they need to go away the country inside the following yr, up from 10 per cent a decade ago. The important reason they gave: “for adventure and private growth”.

Jen Barnett, co-founder of Expatsi, an organization that is helped 1000’s of Americans move abroad, gives her advice on what she beneficial soon-to-be expats deal with. “It’s good to discover a place with the proper weather, culture, laws, and language, but at the top of the day, it’s all about vibes. We recommend scouting trips to seek out out what most seems like home.”

What visas are would-be expats applying for?

Moving abroad is not as difficult because it was. A laptop and a WiFi connection are sometimes all that expat hopefuls think they’ll need.

But with the ability to live and work legally in your goal country can also be essential if you happen to don’t need to run into problems with immigration or tax authorities.

Despite this, only 21 per cent of want-to-be expats surveyed said they’re planning to use for expert work visas. Greater than 50 per cent planned to get a digital nomad visa or weren’t sure which visa they would wish.

Take a look at our full guide to European countries with digital nomad visas.

Is healthcare free for expats in Europe?

Countries with universal or so-called ‘free healthcare’ don’t necessarily offer it to everyone. 

Many countries offer it first to their very own residents. In some countries, residents, including expats, are also entitled to free healthcare. Tourists are less more likely to profit from a rustic’s free health system.

Read on for the foundations in the preferred European countries for expats.

Note that this guide applies to expats who’ve moved to the country long-term, not visiting tourists.

Is healthcare free for foreigners in the UK?

As a foreigner, are you able to walk right into a clinic or hospital within the UK and expect free healthcare? No. Outside of emergency treatment, ‘medical tourists’ have to pay for the health systems in those countries their residents get without spending a dime.

If you’ve gotten residency, you do gain access to Britain’s National Health System (NHS). Nevertheless, it isn’t completely free. Resident visas include an NHS contribution of £1,035 (€1,207) per yr for full access to Britain’s ‘free’ healthcare.

Is healthcare free in France?

Healthcare in France just isn’t provided ‘free’ by the state, which is why French law requires all residents to have medical health insurance.

Most often, that is provided by the French state’s social security system, often known as the ‘Assurance maladie’.

The state system, nonetheless, doesn’t pay for 100% of all health costs. Most French residents also purchase top-up insurance from an organization or a non-profit-making organisation, often known as a ‘complémentaire santé’ or ‘mutuelle’.


Keep in mind that if you happen to live in France but not employed there – like retirees or digital nomads – chances are you’ll get an annual healthcare bill, often known as the ‘cotisation subsidiaire maladie’.

Is healthcare free in Spain?

Spain’s Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS) is analogous to the UK’s NHS. Residents are covered for doctor appointments and treatment without the necessity to pay. Legal residents are also eligible for the system. 

Nevertheless, like within the UK, don’t expect to get treatments reminiscent of dental, eye care, or mental health professionals using the free health system. Private medical health insurance is needed in those cases.

Is healthcare free in Italy?

In relation to healthcare, Italy divides foreign residents into two categories: those that must register with the national health service (‘Servizio sanitario nazionale’, or SSN) on a ‘mandatory’ basis, and those that have the choice of registering on a ‘voluntary’ basis.

Broadly, anyone employed in Italy falls into the ‘mandatory’ category, in addition to those waiting for residency or citizenship. Those within the ‘mandatory’ category have the proper to register with the SSN without spending a dime, while those that fall into the ‘voluntary’ category must pay to register.


To seek out out which category you fall into it is best to seek the advice of an Italian ‘commercialista’ (accountant).

Most of those that are registered with the SSN free normally need to pay for prescriptions and sometimes need to pay top-up fees at hospital appointments or procedures.

Is healthcare free in Germany?

Germany’s healthcare system is considered the most effective on this planet however it’s not free.

Whether resident or citizen, medical health insurance is compulsory. Public medical health insurance, or ‘Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung’ (GKV), is probably the most common type of medical health insurance. If you happen to go for public insurance, you’ll pay a monthly premium to your health insurance provider, which is calculated in line with your income. Your employer will even pay mandatory contributions to your insurance.

Private health insurance, or ‘Private Krankenversicherung; (PKV), is the opposite type of medical health insurance in Germany.


If you happen to’re self-employed, a small business owner, a freelancer, or work in the general public service, you’ll almost certainly have to enroll in PKV, although there are still notable exceptions to this. Premiums for PKV are calculated based on a risk assessment done by the insurer, and usually vary based in your age and health.

Do you recognize the one country on this planet where healthcare is free for everybody?

Brazil is the one country on this planet with a genuinely universal and free health system available to everyone, including tourists. Healthcare is taken into account a human right within the Brazilian structure and, as such, is offered to all freed from charge.


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