Now Is The Time To Understand How The Portugal Health Insurance System Works


Portugal has gained popularity these days because it is a great tourist hotspot and a perfect destination for expatriates. In fact, it is ranked as one of the world-class wellbeing and health destinations globally.

The country also provides a perfect balance between professional and social life. Plus, the country is growing both leaps and bounds in various sectors, including chemicals, telecommunications, biotechnology, healthcare, information technology, and tourism, just to mention a few.

As you’re planning for a great future in the country, it is vital to understand its healthcare system. The healthcare costs in Portugal can get out of control in the case of emergencies. So to protect yourself from risks, it is advisable to get Portugal health insurance and know how it works.

Healthcare Quality

The country prides itself on having among the best healthcare systems globally, with approximately 86% of Portuguese saying they are happy and satisfied.

Portugal’s system is known for its affordable cost, catering to every family across the country while maintaining high-quality services.

However, there is a shortage of medical experts, resulting in a longer waiting list for surgeries and putting staining on the healthcare system as a whole.

Doctors and Hospitals in the Country

There is a mixture of around 200 private and public hospitals in the country, all staffed with English-speaking medical experts to properly serve foreigners and ex-pats in Portugal.

The quality of medical care in these hospitals is reasonable when it comes to international standards and may care for whatever illness you might have.

Plus, hospitals in the country have improved their management and their effective assessment of ex-pats. In fact, in the event of emergencies, foreigners won’t be denied better treatment. But once you get stabilized, you will be expected to show an insurance form to pay for your treatment.

Health Insurance

In Portugal, health insurance can either be covered by Instituto da Solidariedade e da Segurança Social or your employer through private health insurance.

Some residents also prefer private health insurance to supplement public health insurance. This helps to cover extra services, which the Portuguese healthcare system is not able to cover or include.

Retired and unemployed residents don’t have to make social security contributions. As an EU resident and you have retired in the country, you will be entitled to healthcare by completing an S1 form. This will show that you have made some contributions and deserve medical care services in other EU countries.

What Health Insurance in Portugal Covers

After you register with a local healthcare center, you may book appointments in person, online, or over the phone. When paying the doctor a visit in the country, the health insurance plan will cover a lot of costs.

But you might need to pay the consultation fee, depending on the coverage you have. Apart from allowing you to visit the doctor, health insurance in the country also covers:

  • Eyecare
  • Dental treatment
  • Sick pay
  • Maternity cover
  • Medical emergencies
  • Hospital treatment

Forms of Health Insurance

Most of the health insurance plans may give you access to a large network of exam centers, doctors, and hospitals.

The cost of the treatments, examinations, and consultations charged to insured people are fixed at a fraction of the true costs of medical procedures.

If you want, you may as well use the doctor’s services, not the network. In those situations, the insured people might need to pay in full. Afterward, they will be refunded the part of the total value paid by presenting a receipt and invoice.

While it is a rare case, certain country health insurance firms only operate on a refund basis. They allow you to use the services of a private clinical center or doctor, and the insured asks for a refund later.

Choosing a Great Provider

Like purchasing cheap travel insurance in Portugal, buying health insurance in the country requires due diligence, especially when it is something you have never bought before.

Most individuals begin with their banks as many banks in the country normally provide a discount on health insurance products.

Although this is one of the easiest options, it is perfect to shop around and know the available options.

Comparing different health insurance products by yourself might be challenging. So it will help to enlist the help of a reliable broker who may assess the right options, depending on all your needs. Alternatively, you may request quotes from different insurance providers out there.

The Takeaway!

If you choose Portugal as the ex-pat destination, you may rest assured about the medical facilities in the country. As an ex-pat in the country, you will be able to access subsidized medical facilities as well.

But it might depend on your resident status in Portugal – meaning subsidized medical care is only available to the legal residents in the country, including non-working and working residents.

Visitors taking a vacation in the country need to buy private health insurance for a few weeks or months. This will help to cover health services as well as other emergency treatment services.