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email article print article39 Medical Insurances


This bulletin provides information on the types of medical insurance available in Portugal and outside for Portuguese residents.  The immigration authorities require foreigners wishing to take out a resident’s permit to have health insurance protection.  For EU citizens the National Health Service protection from their country of origin is normally adequate.  For non-EU citizens however, private medical insurance is mandatory. Even for EU citizens additional protection may be considered desirable and many such as residents take out private health insurance policies.

This Bulletin discusses some of the factors to consider when choosing a policy.  In all cases AFPOP recommends that members take professional advice before making a final decision.

Types of medical insurance and schemes available

Medical treatment can be expensive and so medical insurance is also expensive.  No private insurance scheme is able to provide for all types of medical treatment.  Some schemes for instance do not cover the long-term treatment of chronic illnesses, such as cancer, or for specialist treatments such as organ transplants.  Insurance schemes therefore provide various levels of cover to meet their clients’ differing needs.

Basic cover normally covers the cost of unexpected hospital internment and surgery, as well as medical expenses and consultation charges up to the level of the policy amount. Some companies apply an excess which the insured party must pay first either per event or per policy term.  In some schemes additional cover can be arranged to include a salary subsidy during hospital internment.  The level of the premiums will relate to the maximum level of payments payable per year and to the amount of excess payable by the policy holder.

The need for medical treatment increases with age.  Many schemes therefore also have premiums that increase with age.  Most schemes also have a maximum age for taking out a new insurance policy (often 55-65 years) and an age beyond which no coverage is provided (sometimes as young as 65 years but more often between 70 and 75 years).


Date Inserted: 15 July 2007
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