Healthcare System in Portugal

If you are planning on travelling to Portugal, relocating there or are just looking to change your international health insurance provider, it is essential to know what options are available to you in terms of health insurance, and the state of the healthcare in the country in general.

Portugal has an estimated population of 10,700,000 and a life expectancy of 76 for males and 82 for females, which have been increasing continually thanks to improvements in infrastructure and healthcare. The World Health Organization currently ranks Portugal's healthcare system as 12th in the world.

Healthcare facilities

The Portuguese healthcare system is a mix of public (National Health Service) healthcare funded by taxes, social health insurance and private healthcare, granting all citizens essential preventative and curative care, though charges can still apply for public healthcare practise. 

Agreements between EU member states (European Health Insurance Card) mean that applicable EU citizens can gain access to the same level of state-provided medical treatment as any Portuguese national. This applies to emergency treatment only and fees may still apply – make sure you have adequate medical and travel insurance. In terms of immigration, you get coverage when you register for social security, and this includes general dental care. Make sure you register with a medical centre for general health cover – this will gain you discounts or free treatment at hospitals.

Overall the standard of Portugal's healthcare system is very good, and problems that are highlighted are the same problems that affect other developed nations. There are modern hospitals situated in and around every large town and city in Portugal, with some of the best and most well equipped in Lisbon, such as the Santo Andre and Amadora Sintra Hospitals. In rural areas, public community health centres are there to treat minor problems. You can also get general advice from pharmacies, which are open from 9am-1pm 3pm-7pm weekdays and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.

Before you go

You are advised to check with your medical practitioner eight weeks prior to your trip to see if you require any vaccinations and preventatives. Viral diseases include Hepatitis A and B, with Hepatitis B being of intermediate endemicity - vaccination is recommended for at-risk travellers. Always take the necessary precautions.

Next steps

You can get a quote for one of our WorldCare plans to cover your stay in Portugal, with WorldCare treatment access available anywhere in the world. You can purchase and manage your plan online – it's an easy and quick way to get comprehensive cover.

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