I am moving to Spain or Portugal: what about my health insurance abroad?

If you officially emigrate to Spain or Portugal, you are in principle covered by health insurance abroad. However, if you are retired, you can also remain insured in Belgium. This article will explain more about the possibilities.

You are retired

If you move to Spain or Portugal as a pensioner, and your pension was built up in Belgium, you can enjoy free medical care both in Belgium and in your country of residence. In practice, you can then take advantage of the day-to-day public care (family doctor) in your country of residence, and travel back to Belgium for major operations.

It is important to contact your mutual insurance company before you move. They will take the necessary steps to ensure you remain covered.

You are moving to Spain: read more about the practical steps of moving to Spain.

Moving to Portugal: read more about the emigration procedure in Portugal.

You are salaried or self-employed

When you start working in the country of residence as an employee or self-employed person, you pay social contributions locally. This means you will be covered by the local health insurance. As a result, you will in principle no longer be able to use Belgian medical services free of charge.

Read more about the emigration procedure in Spain.

However, if you return to Belgium, the mutual insurance company can regularise your situation.

Private healthcare

In both Spain and Portugal, there are public and private healthcare services. So you can also take out private health insurance locally. In Belgium, too, there are opportunities to take out private health or hospitalisation insurance.

I am not moving, but regularly stay in Spain or Portugal

If you regularly travel to your second residence in Spain or Portugal, you can ask for a European health insurance card. This allows you to call on local health care. However, this is limited to necessary interventions.

For example, if you have a cycling accident in Spain, initial care will be administered free of charge in a Spanish hospital. After that, you will have to return to Belgium. In case of an accident, you can Mutas, a collaboration of the various Belgian mutual societies, contact.

Read more about medical care in Spain.


If you are considering emigrating, it is essential that you make an appointment with your mutual insurance company. And this before you deregister in Belgium. After all, they are aware of your file and therefore best placed to advise you on your health insurance abroad.

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