Healthcare in Portugal

Healthcare in Portugal

Healthcare in Portugal

When considering healthcare in Portugal, it is import to take into consideration your personal circumstances, budget and where you are going to live. Below is a brief explanation of both the public and private health systems applicable in Portugal.

Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS) – National Health Service

Access to this service is free and available to all legal residents, including expats. The system is very good but like most public systems, there are often long waits for service and you often can’t pick your doctor. And if English is your only language, finding an English speaking doctor is of the utmost importance. Through this system, there are charges for some of the services provided. For full details on the SNS website.

This service is funded by social security contributions paid through employment. If you are from another EU country and retired, you don’t need to make social security contributions but you will need to submit a S1 Form to prove you have contributed to a similar service within the EU.

Private healthcare

Private healthcare is freely available in Portugal and not as expensive as in some countries. The cost to see a GP, for example, is between €40 and €50. Waiting lists are generally shorter, there is a wider range of services available and there is every likelihood that some staff will speak English.

Private healthcare insurance is also widely available with monthly or annual fees based on age, medical history and level of cover required. Again, this is not as expensive in Portugal as some other countries but it is worth getting several quotes.


If you are not a resident in Portugal but from another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you will need to carry your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to obtain free medical care.

For UK residents, this may be affected by Brexit and the situation should be continually monitored by clicking on this link.

If you are not a resident and from outside the EU, you will have to purchase private medical care which you can cover through insurance. A few countries, including Andorra, Brazil, Cape Verde and Morocco have agreements in place whereby healthcare in Portugal is available free or at reduced rates. It is recommended that you check with your embassy.

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