Non-EU nationals who come to the UK for more than six months could be charged £200 a year to access NHS treatment.
The charge, added to visa costs for students, is among proposals due to be unveiled in a government consultation.
Changes may be made to how hospitals reclaim costs from EU patients and free access to GPs stopped for those staying less than six months.
Some doctors say surgeries could be turned into border posts and there are concerns about public health risks.
The government believes some people come to the UK to take advantage of the system and plans to carry out an audit to determine the extent of the problem.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is to unveil a consultation on its plans but has already suggested an additional £200 charge on six-month visas, as well as charging tourists for GP access and moves to recover more healthcare costs from other countries.
The Department of Health said the cost of treating foreigners is at least £30m a year for the NHS in England alone – although Dr Clare Gerada, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said that was the equivalent of just two hours of the NHS’s annual spending.