The world’s most popular country to retire is ‘fabulous’ with the most affordable healthcare | Travel News | Travel

TheExpatNetwork, alongside Property Guides, analyzed healthcare systems in the 10 most popular countries for expats. The results revealed that five of the best countries for Britons to move to have “very affordable and comprehensive healthcare”.


According to the study, Italy has the most accessible healthcare system for expats as it has a universal NHS-like healthcare service available, called Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN).

Citizens pay about 4.6% of their income to the health system and receive free or subsidized health care, including visits to the general practitioner. Prescription fees are subsidized as part of state health coverage, which means people only pay a very small amount.

Italy has many beautiful cities, but one of the most iconic parts is the Amalfi Coast, with amazing small towns like Sorrento, Positano or Amalfi.

On Tripadvisor, resident Teresa J explained: “Sorrento is fabulous. It was more what I expected from Italy. With all the narrow streets and vendors. The limoncello, the lemon cakes. The seawall. Swimming in the sea. Just a wonderful experience.”

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Germany also has a tax-funded national healthcare system to which citizens contribute around 7.5% of their salary. This is an opt-in system but having some form of health coverage is mandatory. People can also choose private health insurance, which is one of the most affordable and comprehensive in Europe.

Interestingly, Germany also has the most hospital beds per 10,000 people and is the country best equipped to deal with an increase in emergencies.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands, locals pay 9.65% of their salary towards public health care, but health insurance is compulsory, which means that in most cases expats may need to take out at least one policy basic health care. Health insurance premiums, however, are relatively low compared to the rest of Europe, and people will have access to free prescriptions, GP visits and vaccinations.



Spain is the healthiest country in the world, according to the World Population Review, and that may be thanks to its universal health care.

The system allows free healthcare for all citizens, but if Britons move to the country and wish to access the public healthcare system, they will need to check the terms and conditions for their specific region, which may vary.

Visits to the GP are normally free with public health insurance, but people have to pay part of the cost of prescriptions, certain vaccines or specialist treatment. Many Spanish citizens pay for private insurance in addition to public insurance, which will give them access to broader treatment.

Before Britons move to an EU country, they must apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or replace their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with a GHIC when it expires, which guarantees healthcare state-provided healthcare in EU countries.

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Property Guides editor Chris Nye commented: “While the cost and quality of living are certainly major reasons for moving overseas, healthcare should also be a vital deciding factor. Health can be very unpredictable, and you never know when you might need emergency help or care. And you certainly don’t want the added stress of paying a hefty bill when you’re already sick.

“Most popular expat countries, apart from the United States, have some form of publicly funded health care, with the option of supplementing your health care with private insurance. Wherever you go, there It’s wise to purchase at least the most basic health coverage to avoid being left behind.

“After analyzing the top 10 most popular expat countries, it seems that Italy may offer the most in terms of health coverage, followed closely by Germany and the Netherlands. Spain is very popular with British expats and its affordable, comprehensive healthcare suits many residents, though you may need to take out private insurance to top it up.

“Health care can vary greatly from country to country, so it’s wise to do your research before deciding to take the plunge. You may need to apply for a health insurance card to access care. public health insurance, or you may need to choose a private health insurance policy to get your coverage.In some countries, such as Spain or Canada, health care may differ from region to region, so this can be another deciding factor before you fully commit to expat life.