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Healthcare and cardiovascular pre-existing condition  


Posts: 14
 JAR
Premium Member
(@jar)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago

Early next year we are planning to retire to Portugal. We need healthcare. My husband had a bypass 5 years ago.

Does anyone know of a private insurer that will insure, without excluding this pre-existing condition?
 
Thank you!
17 Replies

Posts: 106
Community Member
(@peggyl)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 months ago

My husband has been looking into private insurance for me about 5 years. He looks & looks and contacts new insurance companies and goes to ex-pat forums and open marketing sites. We can't find any insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. The only one that came close said that we had to get a statement of coverage beginning the first date of diagnosis and continuing through the beginning of the new insurance. But I have had Rheumatoid arthritis for about 12 years and my husband's former employer changed insurance companies like changing underwear. We would have to try to get statements of coverage from 6 different insurance companies. That would just not happen. It would be an effort in great frustration. Fortunately, the cost of medical care here is so reasonable. If you take the money that you probably would be paying in premiums, say a couple of thousand euro a month, and put it in a savings account, you would have the money to pay for private medical care. Once you are a resident, you qualify for the free public health service. I spent 4 full days in a unit similar to a "step-down" unit a year ago due to a respiratory problem. I came through the ER and was there for 4 hours. I had a full O2 mask for 4 days, 2 IV's for 4 days, 3 medical specialists, a CAT scan, several x-rays, A lot of lab test,s steroids IV and antibiotics IV every 4 hours, and a heart monitor. The total bill for the 4 days was less than 4,000 euros. Six months later I had my knee replaced in the US and the bill in the US was over 150,000 Dollars. Health care is so much more affordable here. And the doctors and nurses who cared for me were excellent!

peggyL 

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5 Replies
 JAR
Premium Member
(@jar)
Joined: 2 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 14

@peggyl

Thank you very much Peggy for taking the time to write this--it is extremely helpful. I am so sorry for all that you have endured medically.

Two questions: with private medical care that you had, were you able to get timely appts? Did you have to show proof of funds that you could pay for these treatments/care?

The fly in the ointment with us is that my husband is 75 and although very active, has this pre-existing condition.

We are aware that a Golden Visa enables us to get public medical healthcare if we go that route.

Your response certainly gives us another option......many, many thanks...Julie

 

 

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Community Member
(@peggyl)
Joined: 5 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 106

@jar

You have to show proof of coverage to get your Resident card. We are just retired last Sept. so still on Hubby's COBRA plan. I had to pay cash for the care at the private hospital. Billing came up with a deposit amount that had to be paid before I was admitted then I paid the remainder at discharge. 

Currently, I see a Rheumatologist, a pulmonary specialist, a family medicine Doc, the dentist, and a Pain specialist. Yes, I am able to get timely appointments. I feel very well taken care for. I forgot to mention that medications are a small fraction of what they are in the states. I take 3 BP meds. The Bystolic equivalent is their brand name and just a few euros a month. The Hudralizine is also just a few euros a month. I can get up to whatever number of refills are listed all at one time (If the pharmacy has it in stock)  For example if the Bystolic is written with 6 refills, I can get all 6 at one time if the pharmacy has it in stock. One of my Rheumatoid medications is over $4,000/month in the US. Because I am over 60 yrs old, I can get the medication here for free if I fill the prescription at the public hospital in Alvor! Same with the methotrexate injections, but I can get those free at the green pharmacy in the Guia MAR.

I usually get 15-16 medications filled at one time. Most I get 2-3 months worth (I can only get 1-2 months of the injections at one time) For 15-16 medications X 2-3 months each my cost is around 200 euros. 

The cost of an appointment with the doctor is 50-70 euros each time, much lower than the US. So you can see that even paying cash for the appointments and medications I am saving money. Or I would be if we were not paying the premiums for the US insurance. 

At 75 years old, I think, I think medications would be free if filled at the public hospital Then you would only be paying for Dr. visits and LABS and other tests. I had a CAT scan a few months ago, it was 250 euros, I also had an MRI and it was 300 Euros. So you can see where being diligent with monthly deposits into savings would cover most medical expenses. You can also get a US medical insurance plan for catastrophic illness or injury. Your medical insurance does not have to be a Portuguese carrier. 

Hope that helps. 

@peggyL

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 JAR
Premium Member
(@jar)
Joined: 2 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 14

@peggyl

So, so helpful Peggy. You have had a lot to contend with from a health perspective. I am sorry to hear that.

We are encouraged via Ana's responses that we might have a solution w/one healthcare company.

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Community Member
(@anavieira)
Joined: 3 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 28

@peggyl
Hello Peggy, 

Just wanted to tell you that there is at least one company that works with people with pre-existing conditions. They are excluded in the first year but then they are considered in your health insurance. (and you can do general exams tike CAT scans, lab-tests, medical exams, apointments, etc. Only something very specific related to the pre-existing conditions in the first year, is excluded).
And you can have some quotes from about 130€/150€ per person per month, depending on age.

But of course you can use public health services, probably with the best professionals ever 🙂

Ana

 

 

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Community Member
(@peggyl)
Joined: 5 months ago

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Posts: 106

@anavieira

Thank You Ana, can you PM me the name of that company? 

@peggyL

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Posts: 28
Community Member
(@anavieira)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 months ago

@JAR 
Hello,

I will try to answer you in my best english but sorry for any errors. I am portuguese 🙂

You can have a private health insurance here in Portugal even with pre-existing conditions. It will all depend on the age.
If less than 60 you will have more options. If above 65 there is at least one company that will accept your family, even with your husband pre-existing condition. There are some details, like you have to be all family (couple or couple with kids, depending on your case) with the same insurance plan. All regular services are covered (clinical analyses, ultrasounds, consultations, etc). If you need special treatment for the heart its only covered on the second year you are with the health insurance. In the first year that is an exclusion. But after the second year, its considered covered.

the price is higher than insurance without pre-existing conditions but it is much more affordable than in UK or US.
If you need any help, my husband is a insurance broker and i would be very happy to help you.

As Peggy said, you also have the public health service, where you can find very good professionals (most of them work both public and private). The only problem is that sometimes you have to wait longer for an appointment or a exam.
And of course you can always go to a private clinic or hospital and pay full price if you have not an insurance. 

Best regards,

Ana

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2 Replies
 JAR
Premium Member
(@jar)
Joined: 2 months ago

Active Member
Posts: 14

@anavieira

Thank you very much for your reply Ana...and your english is fantastic!

I should have mentioned that my husband is 75 years old and that is the sticking point. We know of one ins broker Medal that has an age cutoff of 70. We are not aware of any insurer that will cover his pre-existing condition even at a higher premium rate.

With a Golden Visa we have more options so we are considering that route.

Thank you again Ana....have a lovely week!

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Community Member
(@anavieira)
Joined: 3 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 28

@jar 

sometimes my english is not so good 🙂 Thanks

There is a company that covers 75 year old and over and we work with it 🙂 

If you are interested in getting a private health insurance, you will have at least one option. Its more expensive but possible. If you need help, just let me know!

Wishing you a lovely week as well 🙂

 

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Posts: 41
 Bert
Premium Member
(@bert)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago

As long as you are discussing health care I will be having US medicare for the first year or two I move to Portugal. I will be needing one or two knee replacements eventually and wondering if anyone has information on good orthopedic surgeons in Portugal as I thinks about where to have this done. Thanks. 

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1 Reply
Community Member
(@anavieira)
Joined: 3 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 28

@bert

Hello,

I cannot tell you if this is the best but i is very good and famous for working on knees. Hs name is Ricardo Varatojo and he works in Lisbon, in private clinics CUF Alvalade (specialized in orthopedics) and CUF Descobertas.

Ana

 

  

 

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Posts: 41
 Bert
Premium Member
(@bert)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago

Thanks. Does CUF represent a private health care system?

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5 Replies
Community Member
(@anavieira)
Joined: 3 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 28

@bert 

Its a private health group in Portugal. They have several clinics and hospitals from North to south. You can use them with a health insurance plan or directly paying the full amount.

https://www.cuf.pt/hospitais-e-clinicas

 

 

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Community Member
(@peggyl)
Joined: 5 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 106

@bert

Bert, I saw a really nice, well respected orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital Particular in Alvor a few months ago. I am having a lot of trouble with one hip and pain down my leg. He showed me the MRI and we discussed the options. I'm going to wait a while before having the hip replaced but as a nurse, I was very impressed with the surgeon. I will have to look at some papers from that visit to get his name if you are interested.

Peggy

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 Bert
Premium Member
(@bert)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 41

@peggylThanks Peggy, yes would appreciate it. After looking at my x-rays think I can fend the surgeons off for awhile yet but wanting to get my ducks in a row for when the time comes.

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Community Member
(@peggyl)
Joined: 5 months ago

Estimable Member
Posts: 106

@bert

Bert, I do not see the response that I posted earlier. I'll just toss it in here again. I saw Dr. Hugo Esteves Cardoso at the HPA in Alvor. I liked him & thought him very knowledgable & his other patients in the waiting room seemed happy. You can go to the HPA web site and look up the particulars of his schooling & experience. https://www.grupohpa.com/en/staff/?name=&unity=&speciality=35&healthcare=&_ga=2.172521571.1713477015.1602857388-1775380734.1602857388

When you are looking up anyone in the HPA system, they are listed in alphabetical order by first name (not surname).

 

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 Bert
Premium Member
(@bert)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 41

@peggylThanks yes it was in my inbox. I checked it out. Roberta

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