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Portugal – Health Insurance

Health insurance is an essential aspect of living in Portugal, and it is important for both residents and expats to have adequate coverage. In this article, we will explore the health insurance options available in Portugal, including the mandatory state health insurance system, how it works, what it covers, and how to apply. We will also discuss the advantages of international private medical insurance for expats living in Portugal.

Health Insurance Requirements in Portugal

Health insurance is mandatory for all legal residents in Portugal. The Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) provides public health care to all legal residents, including expats, who contribute to the Portuguese social security system.

State Health Insurance System in Portugal

The Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) is a state-funded public health care system that provides comprehensive health care to all legal residents in Portugal. The SNS covers a wide range of services, including consultations with general practitioners and specialists, hospital care, emergency services, prescription drugs, diagnostic tests, and laboratory services.

The SNS is funded by the Portuguese government, which means that residents who contribute to the Portuguese social security system are entitled to free or low-cost health care. However, some services may require a small co-payment.

Applying for State Health Insurance System in Portugal

To join the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS), you must be a legal resident of Portugal and registered with the Portuguese social security system. Here are the steps to apply:

  1. Obtain your social security number by registering with the Portuguese social security system (Segurança Social).
  2. Once you have your social security number, visit your local health center (Centro de Saúde) to register for the SNS.
  3. Provide your social security number, identification documents (passport or ID card), and proof of address to the registration desk.
  4. You will be issued a health user card (Cartão de Utente) that you must present at any health center or hospital when using the SNS.

Advantages of Private Medical Insurance in Portugal

While the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) provides comprehensive health care to all legal residents, including expats, it is often recommended for expats to have additional private medical insurance. Here are some advantages of international private medical insurance for expats living in Portugal:


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1. Access to private health care facilities

Private medical insurance provides access to private health care facilities, which offer shorter waiting times, more personalized care, and a wider range of services than the public health care system. Private medical insurance can also provide access to English-speaking doctors and specialists, which can be helpful for expats who do not speak Portuguese fluently.

2. Coverage for pre-existing conditions

Portuguese National Health Service (SNS) may not cover treatment for pre-existing conditions. However, international private medical insurance may cover treatment for pre-existing conditions, which can provide peace of mind for expats who have pre-existing medical conditions.

3. Coverage for medical evacuation

In the event of a medical emergency, international private medical insurance may cover the cost of medical evacuation to a hospital in another country or repatriation to the expat’s home country. This can be especially important for expats living in remote areas of Portugal or in areas with limited medical facilities.

4. Customizable coverage

International private medical insurance allows expats to customize their coverage to meet their individual needs. This can include coverage for specific medical treatments or procedures, dental care, and vision care.

5. Comprehensive coverage for travel

International private medical insurance can provide comprehensive coverage for travel, including emergency medical treatment, medical evacuation, and trip cancellation insurance.


Latest Videos

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.  Germany's Health Insurance Update:  Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.  COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:  With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.  Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:  Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.  Spain's New Health Advice App:  Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.  Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:  A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.  Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

COVID-19 Measures Reintroduced in Cyprus:

With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

Free Health Trials in Trieste, Italy:

Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

Expat Satisfaction with Healthcare in Mexico:

A study reveals that expat retirees in Mexico are largely content with the healthcare quality and costs, with many citing significant savings compared to the United States without compromising on care quality. This insight sheds light on the growing trend of healthcare tourism and relocation for medical reasons.

Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

Expat Focus International Healthcare Update January 2024

Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

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