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What You Need To Know About Portugal's Healthcare System

February 17, 2021
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has made people become more aware of a lot of things. That, of course, includes healthcare. When you're in a certain country, it's important that you're familiar with how they run their healthcare system there. Whether you're there visiting as a tourist or you've moved there and had recently become a resident, it pays to know if you're able to access it or not. Not to mention knowing the medical costs you'll have to face when you'll be in need of medical care. In a country like Portugal, for instance, healthcare here is already quite fascinating!
What You Need To Know About Portugal's Healthcare System

Eligibility to Portugal's Healthcare

Generally, similarly to other European countries like its close neighbor Spain, Portugal operates on a universal system when it comes to their healthcare. Simply put, all residents in the country are given free access to the public healthcare provided by the Ministry of Health, or Ministério de Saúde. The public option is called the “National Health Service.” In Portuguese, it’s ‘Servico Nacional de Saude,’ or 'SNS' for short. Thanks to this system, everyone who's a legal resident in Portugal gets access to a free insurance plan that provides all sorts of medical care and attention while minimizing the costs.

Portugal's Healthcare System Coverage

With all that said, what exactly does the SNS come with? For one thing, gaining access to this system helps connects you with your own doctor in the country. It's important that you're registered with a specific doctor so that he/she can know all about your health conditions, problems, and the like. You'll also be provided with dental care, registering you with your own dentist as well. Not to mention, of course, connecting you with various hospitals within the country. As for expecting mothers, you too will be well-taken-care-of by the system with subsidized costs!

What You Need To Know About Portugal's Healthcare System

What You Need to Register For Healthcare

As already mentioned, only legal residents of Portugal are allowed access to their healthcare system. But don't think that once you've become one here that you'll automatically be included in the system. You'll still need to register to SNS yourself. Firstly, you have to register in Portugal's Social Security, also known as 'Seguranca Social,' to get your NIF Number. That's the first of your requirements. The others include your Social Security number, your valid passport, and your residence permit! Don't worry! You can also do all of this online through SNS' web portal!

Getting Private Healthcare

Another great option would be to go for a private plan instead. This is especially helpful for those who aren't residents of Portugal but are allowed to stay here legally for a long period of time. Not to mention the many tourists who go here for business or vacation as well. More often than not, a private plan has more benefits than just the public option. This includes gaining access to private hospitals, becoming first priority in many institutions and for various doctors, and lower medical costs overall. For all you expats and tourists out there, getting a plan from international providers like Allianz Care and Cignal Global is your best bet!

What You Need To Know About Portugal's Healthcare System

Portugal's Pharmacies

You should also know that gaining access to healthcare in Portugal, whether it be via the public option or a private plan, also allows you to go to any Pharmacy without any trouble at all. Getting coverage allows you to get subsidized rates on various prescription drugs and here, they have a grading system that determines what the subsidized rates are. For grade A drugs, for instance, the subsidized rate is 90%. For grade B drugs, it's 69%. Grade C prescription drugs are subsidized at 37%. While grade D drugs are only subsidized at 15%.

Useful Medical Terms To Know

Of course, since you're in Portugal, it can't be helped that many people, even medical emergency personnel, only speak and understand Portuguese. This means you should learn some Portuguese medical terms so that you'd know what to say in case of an emergency. When you feel ill, for instance, just say, 'Estou doente,' which means 'I feel ill.' On another note, 'Chame uma ambulancia!' means 'Call me an ambulance!' If you want to see a doctor, say 'Gostaria de ver um medico.' And if you want to make an appointment, just say, 'Gostaria de marcar uma consulta.'

What You Need To Know About Portugal's Healthcare System

Getting to know all about Portugal's healthcare system will help you in. a lot of ways while you're there. It's important that you understand the vitality of getting coverage here, both for the sake of your health, well-being, and even your bank account!

Your health will be safer too if you choose a luxury place as your home here!