Health & Protection in Portugal



Working abroad is not an easy thing, and many expats can attest to that. You move away from your loved ones, step out to the unfamiliar and adjust to an entirely different environment. When others are investing in properties and other material things to make the most of their hard-earned money, one thing you should address for your personal finance is to ensure that you are well protected. Your health should always come first, because, in the event that an unwanted situation arises, the absence of insurance can surely drain you financially; and might lead to the loss of your precious investments. As you move to Portugal, let us help you get the address your need for health care protection and give you some tips on how you can start looking into it.

Getting Insurance

As an expat, you should have health care included in your relocation package. This type of benefit usually covers not just you, but your dependents as well. If you need any clarifications regarding your policy, it is best that you talk to a representative of the Human Resource department of your Portugal office or your Global Mobility team since they are the best people to answer your questions. If the cover offered by your benefits package does not fit you, try and negotiate, if it is cash allowance, then you might need to look at securing your health insurance by yourself.

You also need to check if your company is accredited by the Bank of Portugal, who ensures that all insurance providers in Portugal are operating legally.

Even if you have adequate coverage from your employer, you still have the option to get health care and protection from the various international and local brokers in Portugal. There is a high probability that by looking at their broad range of policies, you will find exactly what type of insurance will best suit your needs. Expats can choose between Bupa Global, an international provider of comprehensive health care and Banco Santander Totta S.A, which is a local bank that has financial, home, auto and other types of insurance.


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Importance of Insurance

Portugal can be considered as a safe country, but there are still risks to your health specially that you are still adjusting to the environment. Many first timers to the country experience heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke which are common during the summer season. Though not required by the government, it is best that you get vaccinated against rabies, tetanus, measles and diphtheria before going to Portugal. Tuberculosis is also one of the common causes of death in the country, so make sure that you stay physically fit and have a good health care to cover you in case you fall ill.

Medical services in Portugal are cheaper compared to other countries and because of this; most people do not see the importance of insurance since they can easily pay the fees with cash. But most of the health risks mentioned above do not require immediate confinement or hospitalisation. They can all be prevented as long as you remain healthy, which can be a bit costly. The good thing is most policies cover services that’ll help you monitor your health and maintain its good condition by undergoing routine check-ups, laboratory tests, physical exams and vaccinations.

Local Insurance in Portugal

By contributing to the Portuguese social security scheme or segurança social, you and your dependents will be entitled to free health care to all the public hospitals in the country. Dental and medical treatments will also be subsidised by the government along with other services such as laboratory exams, hospitalisation and low-cost medicines or prescription drugs. Health care is also a required in Portugal for you to get a residence permit and once you became a resident, you will be able to apply for the National Health Service card which you need to present to take advantage of the free public health service. Basic consultations and treatments to minor illnesses are available across the country, but those who need extensive care must travel to the major cities where most specialists are. In the case of emergency, the number that you need to dial is 112 (ambulance).

Those under the segurança social usually need to endure long wait in understaffed and overcrowded public hospitals. Because of this, most expats choose to get private coverage even if they are a bit pricey. It is also much better to have an international insurance because its benefits will make up for the amount that you need to invest. You will be able to enjoy medical assistance anywhere you go and find policies that are designed to fit your lifestyle as an expat.



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Insurance Guide

Expat Insurance Services in Portugal