Check out our rundown to learn which countries provide free medical care and which require residents to pay for it.

Where is it required that I have a private health insurance policy?

Healthcare is a major worry for folks who plan to retire in a foreign country.

The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom provides free universal care to its citizens, therefore receiving private medical treatment and having health insurance is not required. On the other hand, this is not at all the case in some of the typical retirement locales.

In countries like the United States, where there is a far higher emphasis on private medicine, having medical insurance is absolutely necessary. Those who are moving to South Africa will need to further acquire sufficient private coverage.

Where exactly do I need to make a payment toward the cost of my healthcare?

There is a robust state healthcare system in France, Spain, and Italy, which provides the majority of medical care at much reduced costs. Before they leave the country, retired expats living in the UK are required to fill out an S1 form.

However, additional medical insurance is still needed because you will often be responsible for paying a portion (about 30 percent) of the cost of treatment and medications.

In the event that you require medical treatment, you will be expected to pay at the conclusion of each consultation; however, in most cases, you will be able to submit a claim to your insurance and have the money sent straight into your account.

Where else can one find healthcare that is comparable to the NHS?

Free healthcare is available to everyone in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, making these countries possibly the most comparable to the NHS in the United Kingdom.

Although having medical insurance there could broaden your treatment options and shorten your wait periods, it is not considered a must.

The following table provides an overview of the free medical services that are offered in some of the most popular locations for retirees.

Countries compared with regard to medical care

The following table provides information regarding the availability of universal healthcare benefits across a variety of countries that are typical destinations for retirees.

We also highlight the areas of the country where residents are required to get a visa in order to work.

Country  healthcare for all? Visa needed?
Australia Yes Yes
Canada Yes Yes
Cyprus No No
France Yes No
Germany Yes No
Ireland Yes No
Italy Yes No
Jamaica No Yes
New Zealand Yes Yes
South Africa No Yes
Spain Yes No
United States of America No Yes