Health care for you and your family in Portugal

Health system in Portugal

Before moving ot visiting a new country, you should always insure that your health is well taken care of. You might have travel insurance that covers you for the most part, but if you are settling down in Portugal you should also register with the public health system. 

Portugal is loved by people from all over the world and every year more and more foreigners move to Portugal for a better life and the wonderful whether. The Portugeses are very friendly peopla that are likely to welcome you with open arms and a really good health system. 

According to Care Index, the public health system in Portugal ranks 22nd out of 89 countries and earns particularly good marks for quality of infrastructure. The same study found the system to be the 7 best i Europe.

A different study by the world health organization rated Portugal 12th in the world in terms of overall healthcare efficiency. As any other public system the Portuguese system has its problems, with long waiting time and lack of staff, but there is no arguing with the fact that Portuguese people enjoy an average life expectancy of 82 years.

Who can receive care in Portugal 

As a European Union citizen, you have the right to receive the necessary medical care in healthcare facilities in Portugal.

Medical care is ensured where:

  • You fall ill or have to be admitted to hospital in an emergency (unplanned treatment)
  • A person suffering from an illness who already requires regular monitoring in their country of residence needs to receive care in a healthcare facility (planned treatment)
  • Someone travels to Portugal to receive specialised hospital treatment, e.g. to consult a specialist and/or have an operation (planned treatment).

For more information about medical care in hospitals and health centers for European citizens i Portugal, we recommend you visit the ePortugal website for up to date information. 

Emergency contacts in Portugal

  • Medical emergency – 112 Available 24 hours a day, every day.

112 is the single European emergency telephone number available throughout the European Union. Calls are free of charge.

  • Health Line 24 - 808 24 24 24

For health queries, available 24 hours a day, every day. For administrative contact (non-clinical), available from 8am to 10pm, every day.

The 24 Hour Health Line provides prioritisation, advice and referral in case of illness. The cost of the call is the same as for a call to a landline.

Medical care for non European citizens in Portugal

Portugal does not offer free medical treatment to visitors, and under European Union rules non-EU citizens are required to have travel medical insurance covering emergency medical, hospitalization, and repatriation (including the case of death).   

Minimum coverage is 30.000 euros and the insurance must be valid for the entire Schengen area and the duration of the stay.  For more information please visit the EU Website on borders and migration

Paying social security in Portugal

If you are planing to start your own company or get a job in Portugal, you must contribute to the social Security system.

The Social Security system ensures people's basic rights and equal opportunities, through access to a set of benefits and support in terms of illness, parenthood, unemployment, disability, among others. The system is valid both for Portuguese and foreign citizens who make contributions in Portugal.

Both employees and those self-employed pay contributions to Social Security.

If you are employed, the amount for social security is automatically deducted from your salary by your employer.

If you are self-employed, you are responsible for payment if you are not exempt from this obligation. Find out the conditions for exemption from the payment of Social Security contributions and how to request the exemption.

More information about working in Portugal can be found here...

Health insurance in Portugal

Even though the public health system in Portugal is very good and all EU citizens are guaranteed treatment more or les free of charge, having a privat health insurance is never a bad idea.

There are a number of private clinics and hospitals all over Portugal and even having a health insurance that only cost €30 a month can get you up to 50% discount on many treatments and doctor appointments.

There is no lack of insurance companies offering health insurance in Portugal, but you might be best of contacting agents that work with several insurance companies to get the best possible cover and price.