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Health Insurance for Expats in Portugal

Submitted: August 2014

Private health insurance in Portugal is good to have, but the Portuguese generally use it only as a supplement to their basic social security rights. About 20% of the Portuguese have private health insurance.

Private health insurance would generally pay only for what is not covered by the Portuguese social security (SNS). The problem with the SNS is that it may be in fact not that comprehensive, because out-of-pocket payments are virtually unavoidable – albeit they can be substantially eased by SNS benefits. If you are part of the foreign nationals in Portugal not covered by the SNS, private health insurance is strongly recommended.

If you have been come to Portugal as an expatriate employee, private health insurance may be part of your salary package. If not, you may still purchase health insurance on a voluntary basis. Your insurance premiums may get you a 10% tax credit under certain conditions.

When coming to Portugal, it is advisable to get your health insurance arrangements as soon as possible. Do ensure you keep covered against the risk of long-term illness as well.


International cover

You should check the geographical coverage of your existing insurance policy, if you have any.

If you have a foreign policy but you haven’t been sold it as an international insurance cover specifically designed for expats, your policy is unlikely to work in Portugal. In that case, you should let your insurer know that you are moving to Portugal, and switch to an international cover. Your insurer is likely to charge you extra for this, but do bear in mind that the very fact of being insured in several countries carries an extra burden as well.

A good international cover would insure you against:

If you are coming to Portugal only for a temporary visit, you probably don’t need international health insurance if you have appropriate travel insurance.



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