If you have plans of relocating to Portugal, you will be glad to hear that the country has a strong healthcare system that ranks 13th on the Euro Health Consumer Index.
Portugal healthcare system is administered by a central body that functions as five separate administrations regionally: Lisbon, Tagus Valley, North, Alentejo, and Algarve. Azores and Madeira, on the other hand, have their independent systems of healthcare.
The healthcare administration is managed by the national Portugal healthcare service, namely the Service Nacional De Saúde (SNS), which is regulated by the Ministério de Saúde (Portuguese Ministry of Health).
Both public and private Portugal healthcare offers a thorough service with their qualified staff and hospitals that employ the best equipment that follows the latest technology.
Public Healthcare in Portugal
All Portuguese citizens and legal residents including expats can benefit from public healthcare in Portugal. To benefit from healthcare in Portugal for expats, you need to be registered in the system. You can do so by going to a local health center with the required documents you can find below:
- Passport or ID
- Social security card (Portuguese)
- Residence permit
Upon being registered to the system, you have free or discounted access to the public Portugal healthcare system. In public hospitals, you can get services such as maternity care, psychiatric care, post-operative care, outpatient treatment, emergency treatment, and nursing. Patients with fatal diseases can receive extensive care as part of public healthcare services, as well.
In addition to the perks of providing a smoothly running up-to-date system, there’s one more advantage of the Portugal healthcare system: it is either free for Portuguese citizens or requires very small fees. Legal residents and citizens can get health services for free most of the time but on some occasions, they have to pay a fee, despite this fee being a considerably small amount compared to other countries in Europe. For instance, patients may need to pay a fee between €5-20 if they are to visit their family doctor or the emergency room. For diagnostics exams, on the other hand, this amount can go up to €40.
One downside of the Portugal health system in terms of costs is that dental costs and cosmetic surgery are not included in the list of expenses covered or aided by the state.
Find below the costs of some of the health services in Portugal:
- An infirmary or other complementary services in local health centers: €3.80
- An infirmary or other complementary services in hospitals: €4.90
- Specialist: €7.60
- House visit: €9.80
- General practitioner: €4.90
Private Healthcare in Portugal
Although public healthcare is much more affordable compared to private healthcare in Portugal, the latter has its specific advantages as well. For example, you don’t have to wait for a long time to get appointments or treatments and you can get a more thorough healthcare service. Another perk of private Portugal healthcare is that there is more chance that there are more doctors and staff in number that can speak English and thus provide better service to foreigners.
Private insurance is more comprehensive compared to public insurance. For instance, it covers surgery and hospitalization. You can also receive additional special treatments such as dentistry, ophthalmology, childbirth, prosthetics, and ambulatory services if you arrange your insurance to cover these services.
There are various private insurance plans in Portugal, meaning there is a plan to meet each individual’s needs. Private insurance proves to be the most commonly preferred option for healthcare in Portugal for expats. It is getting popular among the locals due to its advantages, as well.
There are a few more reasons that give rise to this popularity. The first of these reasons is that you can include your family members in your private insurance plan. This is a very advantageous aspect for the expats who relocate to Portugal with their families. Another important reason that makes private insurance favorable is that it is easy to obtain. By reaching out to your local insurer via phone or e-mail and letting them know about your needs, budget, and medical history, you can effortlessly apply for private insurance. The only important step here is to pick the right plan that corresponds to your needs.
Tips About the Private Health Insurance in Portugal
Try to apply ahead because it can take about 90 days for your insurance to become activated.
If you are employed in Portugal, private insurance may already be included in your contract. Make sure you check if it is so before you apply for another plan.
Annual private health insurance in Portugal costs about €400. This average fee can go up to €1,000 if you prefer a plan that includes more healthcare services.
Portugal healthcare for tourists mostly depends on private insurance. If you are a short-term visitor or a non-resident, you need to apply for private insurance to cover your medical expenses while you are there. (Citizens of EU/EEA/Switzerland are not subjected to this obligation, they can benefit from public Portugal healthcare.
Healthcare in Portugal for Expats: The Bottom Line
As mentioned earlier, expats who have a legal residency permit in Portugal can benefit from both public and private healthcare in Portugal.
Communication does not usually constitute a problem in healthcare in Portugal for expats because most doctors and medical staff in both public and private health facilities can speak English.
Good luck with your new life in Portugal.
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