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Social Health Care Coverage

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craigandmicki
10/10/2014 05:33 EST

I am researching access to the public/ social health care system in Portugal for US Citizens holding either temporary or permanent residency visas. If you have information, personal experience, recommended resources, please respond to this post. Many thanks!

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ProfBren
10/10/2014 09:44 EST

We have tempory residency and because of that we get discounted health coverage from the public hospitals and clinics. No dental or prescription.

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craigandmicki
10/10/2014 14:46 EST

Portugal doesn't offer public dental, so your lack of that makes sense. I presume you have private health coverage, as well, to fulfill the requirements of Portugal's temporary residency requirement? How did you register for public health care (where did you go, what documents were required, etc)? Thanks for your input.

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ProfBren
11/27/2014 09:46 EST

We do have private coverage from US. We went to the private hospital and they couldn't refer me to a specialist for several months so they suggested we try the public clinic. We gave them our residency card which has our fiscal number and current address on it. The lady did not speak much English but she just kept filling out paperwork, handed me a couple of pages and told us to go to another window. We made an appointment to see the doctor in a week or so. When we went back they charged us 5€ and we saw the doctor. I really do not remember who told us we have discounted health care but we do. Later we went back to register my husband. We usually have to wait for a while to get things done and because we live in Lagos we have to go Portamou or Faro for some types of tests. We have a Cuban doctor who speaks fairly good english. I like him a lot and other than long waits for tests etc. we are fine. We are also applying for local insurance through AFPOP a local expat group. We have used the private hospital when it is urgent and also Luz Doc, a private practice clinic.

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ofilha
11/27/2014 09:51 EST

Hi,
I am trying to find out about the public clinics also. So what do we need, just the residency card? And is this to register?
I am wondering if we need to register before we need to see a doctor?
thanks.

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ProfBren
11/28/2014 12:26 EST

We went to the public clinic and asked to make an appointment. They asked for our passport and I told them I was a resident. We gave them our cards and they gave us a piece of paper with an official seal and said go to another window. From what I can learn we have subsidized medical, no prescription or any thing else but the costs are reasonable.

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ofilha
11/28/2014 12:30 EST

@ProfBren,
Thank you. I am a portuguese citizen as well as a us citizen but the wife is american, we are now trying to get her residency set up.
thanks for the information

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smajor
4/15/2017 19:58 EST

I've read conflicting information online. Is the public healthcare system available to expats who are not working in Portugal but living off their own savings?

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kawazaki
4/16/2017 04:48 EST

I came to Portugal for 2 months in summer 2016 to register with SEF, IRS, Public Health Care, and open bank accounts, etc prior to moving here in Nov 2016. Once I had my IRS number I signed up for public health care and actually used it during my 2 month trip. There is a small fee when I use a clinic and I get discounts on most prescriptions. Doctor appointments are free if it is related to diabetes. I have Type 2. Expect a very inefficient, slow system and limited in scope.

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deangolden
4/16/2017 09:14 EST

Yes, I want to know that also, sounds conflicting

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miket2937
4/29/2017 14:36 EST

kawazaki, can you explain what you mean by "limited scope"? My spouse has type 1 diabetes and uses an insulin pump. We will get private insurance but want to understand if the public system is there if we need it... Thank you.

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kawazaki
4/30/2017 06:03 EST

What I mean by "limited scope" is do not expect much of anything beyond prescriptions, physical therapy, creams, and long waits. MRIs and CT scans are virtually impossible with the public health care. I accidentally discovered one appointment I had was free because I told them I am Type 2 diabetic. Fluent English speaking doctors are not common. I used the VA in CA and the doctors are good and poor just like in Portugal.

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jm27746
7/16/2017 17:30 EST

What office do I need to go to register for public health care and what all do we need? We just received are temporary residence permit and will have our nif in a couple of weeks, do we need a social security number?

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cruizes
10/14/2017 22:49 EST

Hi. When you originally applied for your temporary visa did you have to get a full year of health insurance or were you able to pay month to month and then cancel it to get the reduced insurance that you mentioned once you received the visa. I am 64 and retired American and the insurance quotes that I am finding are very high even though I am healthy. Thanks for the info.

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croonerjim
10/15/2017 08:13 EST

I just used travel insurance that had the minimum required coverage...used Berkshire Hathway through Squaremouth.com...not expensive at all..and I am 71. I did it for 6 months and can renew if necessary. Once you get here if you also want private insurance (good idea) banks offer it and you can join AFPOP and get Allianze through Medal for very good price. For wife and I it's $145 a month.

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