Expat Healthcare Advice for Lisbon-Lisbon Coast
Much confusion exists for Americans and other third country nationals residing in Portugal
and our access to Portugal's national health system. While we will always have access to the national health services and won't be turned away from a hospital or clinic, our primary care is served by the private health system for which we buy private international health insurance
. We register at the Portuguese 'Center de Saude' or local health clinic and get a "numero de utente', a health ID number, which we can use with your private physician to enjoy the lower Portuguese citizen's prices for prescriptions, but we will pay out of pocket if we incur charges at the public hospital.. So our first option is to use the private health system, which exists in all major cities and is extensive, inexpensive and state of the art. When first coming to Portugal
, bring with you a list of the prescriptions you're taking, with the Latin name, generic name, dosage and reason for taking....your current doctor will give you this. Be certain it includes your name, US address, date issued and doctor's signature. You can take these to any farmacia to be filled immediately without any issues!
Emergency Medical Care in Lisbon-Lisbon Coast
Larger cities offer several choices of public and private hospitals within a few kilometers of each neighborhood; smaller villages rely on the larger city that could be 20 or 30 minutes away. Care in private hospitals tends to be quick, appointments are timely and modern, clean environments prevail. Emergency services in private hospitals tend to be better staffed, so more responsive. Public hospitals are busier and can lack sufficient doctors and nurses but care tends to be good, just not as good as the private care. In Lisbon
and through the Coast north, we have the CUF networked hospitals
that serve both private and public patients, the Hospital da Luz
, British Hospita
l and about 10 other hospitals.
Expat Health Insurance
Choosing an expat health insurance provider is an important decision for expats in Portugal. Take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA. Sponsored by CIGNA.
Quality of Healthcare in Surrounding Area
Some specialists practice out of only a few hospitals, so you might need to go 30 minutes to an hour from home for an eye, orthopedic or GI specialist. These specialists are highly responsive with current training and well-deserved reputations for their skills. They have modern equipment and the latest diagnostic tools.
Cold, allergy, stomach upset and even flu shots are available without prescription from the farmacias at half or less than the average price in the US. Other situations, from high blood pressure to diabetes to acid reflux, require prescriptions and easily filled for half the price of the US or, sometimes, drastically less. Blood pressure med in the US can cost $100 a month; here, it is about 6 euros.
Expat Health Insurance in Portugal
The cost of a private plan is half or less than charged in the US. Health insurance can be purchased through banks or a few organizations, such as the Automobile Club of Portugal or 'afpop'. These offer even better group rates than the bank rates.