Portugal's healthcare system has been undergoing a major reform in recent years. This has resulted in an improved system without costing the tax payer extra money. If you’re planning to visit Portugal and you come from any other European Union member country you are entitled to free health care under the EU reciprocal health agreements.
If you are living in Portugal, you should be entitled to free basic health care under the Portuguese Public Health System - this includes free essential medicines, free GP appointments etc. If you work in Portugal and therefore pay into the social security system in the country you automatically become entitled to free hospital treatment etc. While essential medicines are free of cost, you pay between 40% - 100% of the cost of non-essential medicines. Once you become resident in Portugal you will need to apply for your medical card which will enable you to seek medical assistance from a GP and to attend your local health centre. It is also very advisable to get a private medical insurance if you can afford it. This will ensure that you are covered on your trips back home and to other countries outside Portugal. It will also get you faster access to specialists in Portugal and also access to private hospitals and medical facilities as well.
For a list of reputed doctors in Lisbon, please click here.
If you are in Lisbon, you don't have to worry if you have problems speaking the local language. Most Portuguese doctors can speak English and there are also foreign doctors present, particularly in popular tourist destinations. However, you should be aware that you will seldom find English-speaking doctors in rural areas. Finding a public hospital in these rural locations can be somewhat of an issue and finding private healthcare facilities is even more challenging.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Lisbon is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Portugal. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Portugal: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Portugal, visit our partner APRIL International