Healthcare in Portugal

Healthcare in Portugal

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Here is a guide to healthcare in Portugal, including health insurance, hospitals, pharmacies, dental care, having a baby and maternity benefits in Portugal.

The healthcare system in Portugal consists of three coexisting systems: the National Health Service (NHS), special social health insurance schemes (health subsystems) and voluntary private health insurance. The Portuguese Ministry of Health (Ministério de Saúde) is in charge of managing the NHS, which is financed through general taxation.

International health insurer Bupa Global explains Portugal's healthcare system and how an expat could access healthcare benefits in the country.

Health insurance in Portugal

Any legal resident registered at a local medical centre has the right to receive healthcare insurance, which covers basic health issues such as sickness or accidents. Extra health insurance coverage is also available to meet your individual needs. Anyone registered for social security coverage also receives healthcare coverage. The Social Security Institute (Instituto da Solidariedade e da Segurança Social) is responsible for administering social security benefits such as pensions and maternity benefits.

Private insurance is available for hospital visits and specialist treatment.

Hospitals in Portugal

Hospital services are provided with a discount, and sometimes even without charge, for people that are registered at a local medical centre. You should bring your SNS card with you.

If you are on a holiday in Portugal, you are also entitled to medical care. However, you are expected to have acquired an E111 document from your birth country. The expenses will be covered by your insurance company in your home country.

The number to call for emergencies is 112.

Expatica has prepared a list of hospitals in Portugal, in case you need further information.

Pharmacies in Portugal

Pharmacies in Portugal are usually open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 13:00, and from 15:00 to 19:00. During the weekend, they are generally open in the morning hours, from 9:00 to 13:00. In any pharmacy you will find a list of pharmacies providing 24/7 services.

In general, Social Security insurance covers part of the expense for medications, and the patient pays a small amount of the cost.

Dental care in Portugal

You and your dependents are entitled to receive dental care, once you are paying into your social security. The treatment is either free or subsidized. You will need to bring your Cartão de Utente (the document showing you are part of the NHS system) when visiting your dentist. This will ensure that you do not pay the full amount for the consultation. Children between 3 and 16 years of age, pregnant women and pensioners have the right to receive dental care for free.

Having a baby in Portugal

Maternity care is covered by the national health system, and an expectant mother receives care at the public hospital in her area, unless otherwise requested by her practitioner.  A woman may also choose to receive private care if she is insured.

Prenatal care also takes place at the hospital.During the first appointment, the mother-to-be will receive a Pregnancy Booklet (Boletim de Saúde da Grávida) in which her doctor will record ongoing medical information as the pregnancy progresses.

The birth itself will also take place in the maternity ward of the hospital.  Home births are very rare in Portugal. A woman can choose to have a midwife (doula) present to help with delivery and is allowed one other person, usually a partner or friend, in the room during labour.

For more information, see Expatica's guide to Having a baby in Portugal.

Maternity benefits in Portugal

In Portugal the maternity leave is paid at 100 percent salary rate for 120 consecutive days or in two separate periods of leave: 30 days before the birth of the child and 90 days after that. If the mother would like to extend her maternity leave up to 150 days, then the extra leave is paid at 80 percent rate of her salary.

Paternity leave is allowed for working fathers for five days after the birth of the baby. These days do not have to be consecutive. However, a new father may have the same leave rights as a new mother in certain cases: death of the mother, physical or psychological incapability of the mother, shared decision by both partners to switch roles in taking care of the baby.

Expatica / Updated by Bupa Global

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Bupa Global
 offers international health insurance to expats in more than 190 countries worldwide.

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