Healthcare in Portugal – A World-Class Service

When seeking a new country to live in, there are various factors that are top priority for you and your family. As a destination of note, Portugal has become renowned for its expat community, vibrant atmosphere and rich opportunities. Healthcare in Portugal is world-class. According to the 2021 Health Care Index, Portugal ranks 22nd globally, ahead of Canada, the United States and Singapore. This ranking takes into consideration healthcare infrastructure, professionals, quality of medicine available and government readiness.

Generally, residency-by-investment in property in Portugal is the gateway to getting your foot in the door, and when it comes to property there are some criteria that must be fulfilled. To take advantage of the levels of healthcare that Portugal has to offer, your sought-after property must be in a qualified low-density area and within an urban regeneration zone.

black stethoscope

The general health levels in Portugal are better than the European Union average and are similar to those of other western European countries. Anyone legally residing in Portugal for more than 6 months is entitled to join the health service. Healthcare in Portugal incorporates 3 systems:

  • The National Health Service (NHS, or Servico Nacional de Saude, SNS)
  • Social health insurance schemes for the public sector and specific professions including the military
  • Voluntary private healthcare insurance

Healthcare with the National Health Service is available to all residents and expats in Portugal. Many primary and secondary healthcare services are free, or charge very little depending on treatments. These services include:

  • Doctors
  • Hospitals and specialist care
  • Some dental care
  • Community healthcare

It is helpful to note that if you are registered with the National Health Service and you do see a general practitioner, the small consultation fee or taxa moderadora is often waived for senior citizens or small children.

Dental care in Portugal may require you to pay out of pocket when it comes to treatment, however with over 7 000 dentists in the country, this may still work out to a significantly cheaper rate than expected.

Once registered with the National Health Service, a family doctor or general practitioner is assigned to you and is generally your first port of call. General practitioners are responsible for providing the first line of treatment for most conditions in Portugal. These doctors will refer patients to specialists and are responsible for prescribing medication. Having a referral from a general practitioner towards a specialist will ensure your treatment is covered by the National Health Service. Medication that is prescribed is generally subsidised for a small portion of the cost by the government.

smiling woman carrying baby

Having a child in Portugal accrues benefits to you as an ordinary resident, at no cost, provided you are a legal resident of Portugal. These benefits include access to an obstetric gynaecologist and guided C-section or natural birth, depending on your choice.

Portugal also enjoys a high life expectancy of approximately 83 years, higher than the European average of 80 years, with expectations to rise to 84 years by the year 2030 – showcasing the increasing levels of quality healthcare in and around Portugal.

Affordable insurance for private healthcare in Portugal is also popular among expats who want to supplement the National Health Service to cover charges that are not included in the programme, and allows for faster treatment services at certain healthcare facilities. These facilities host professionals who speak both Portuguese and English. Dental treatment is also provided free of charge or at little cost at regional hospitals and specialist clinics in some regions.

Benefits of private healthcare include private ambulatory services, appointments with specialists and tests, and physical therapy. Some private treatment may include ophthalmology and prosthetics, depending on the gravity of the medical emergency and treatment required.

This overview of healthcare in Portugal provides you with the basic knowledge you need for navigating the system when you immigrate. Along with 12 Star Capital, you will gain additional assistance to make your immigration journey easier. Contact us to learn more about how to obtain your Golden Visa.