Portugal Medical Insurance
Portugal is one of the warmest European countries, the annual temperature averages in mainland Portugal are 13 °C (55 °F) in the North and 18 °C (64 °F) in the South and it is over 20 °C (68°F) on the warmest spots, like the Southern coast of Madeira island.
The quality of healthcare in Portugal and its healthcare facilities are generally good and have improved considerably in recent years. In Portugal, the Ministry of Health oversees the health service, and this is done through a series of regional health administrations (administração regional de saúde) and the health centres (centros de saúde). The country’s public healthcare system provides free or low cost healthcare services for those who contribute to Portuguese social security program (segurança social), including their families and retirees (also covered are retirees from other EU countries with a residence card and receiving state pension). There are subsidised prescriptions for members aged over 65 and patients normally pay 40 to 100 per cent of the cost for non-essential prescripted medicines. There are also large contributions required from patients for other services including spectacles, dentures, dental and spa treatment to name a few.
Employers are obligated to register their employees with the Portuguese social security fund and make regular contributions to this fund for the duration of their employment. The unemployed, old age pensioners and people on long-term sickness benefit or maternity leave do not have to make healthcare payments. For the self-employed, it is required to purchase additional insurance to cover additional members of the family.
Foreigners immigrating to Portugal, with no employment and making no financial contribution to the social security fund must provide a proof of private health insurance in order to obtain their residence permit. They can then subsequently apply for a medical card from their local health centre, which proves their entitlement to free or subsidised care.
While there is much to be praised for its advancements, the quality of services provided under the Portugal State healthcare system can be rather inconsistent, and often your location will dictate what medical facilities are available and how good the resources are. Many local hospitals are small and outdated, and some towns rely only on the health centers which cannot possibly provide all treatments that may be required.
Private healthcare is also available in Portugal but it tends to be costly. Private clinics are available especially in the more densely populated tourist areas. Many foreigners or expats choose to opt for private healthcare insurance to cover private medical treatment, as they feel that the Portuguese State healthcare is inadequate to fulfill their needs. The state healthcare service provides free or subsidised medical and dental treatment, including care and treatment by GPs and consultants, hospital care, laboratory services, subsidised prescription medicine, maternity care, surgical appliances and emergency ambulance transportation. However, the public health service has limited resources for out-patient treatment, nursing and post-operative care, geriatric assistance, terminal illnesses and psychiatric treatment.
In many areas, there are often long waiting lists for specialist appointments and non-urgent operations. Private healthcare offers patients faster access to medical consultation, more choice regarding doctors and specialists, as well private hospitals and clinics with the latest technology and equipment for treatment. Moreover, they feel happier paying a higher cost for the comfort of being able to communicate more easily with the doctor and hospital staff, especially if an illness is complicated, or of a more personal nature. Last but not least, it is also advantageous to have coverage with an insurance company with a strong financial backing to pay large medical bills directly.
When purchasing health insurance in Portugal, one of the things to note is that, local Portuguese insurance companies typically provide health insurance coverage for people under the age of 55. If you are above this age, you may want to seek coverage from an international insurer.
Pacific Prime is a one-stop insurance brokerage service provider for you when travelling to Portugal. We offer a wide range of policies to meet your individual needs, including benefits such as dental, maternity, inpatient, outpatient, specialist consultations and many others. Contact our professional advisors today to enjoy full insurance protection such as a Health Insurance Plan for yourself and your family.