Health Insurance

I’m aware that I cannot apply for the public healthcare (long wait for the GV). But does anyone know if you can get private health insurance if you don’t have residency, I would like to just be able to buy for 10 months, rather than relying on travel insurance.

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Of course you can take private insurance, for example Multicare (Portuguese) or Zurich (Switzerland). I can say that insurance in Portugal works great.

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You may want to get a quote from here: Médis Healthcare | Médis
The prices are reasonable and many Portuguese use it in addition to public healthcare. There may be a minimum period (eg 1 year) of adherence.


Have you applied for GV after 31 Dec 2021?
If you applied before that date you are eligible for SNS.

Yes, we applied Dec 2022, so we have a very long wait ahead of us….I just wasn’t sure if I would be entitled private health insurance if Portugal is not my principal residence, and if I am to rely on travel insurance.

Ah ok. In that case yes, you can buy a private health cover no problem.
In fact depending on your needs you may simply do pay-as-you-go and not taking up any insurance. You probably know the cost of consultations/ treatments in Portugal.

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Health insurance is only offered for people till the age of 75 years on Medis Healthcare.
Are there any options for health insurance for people older that 75 years.

If you do not have SNS number will Public hospitals refuse to treat a patient. In the UK and Germany, hospitals by law cannot refuse to give treatment even to a foreigner.

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Multicare and Medis works pretty well in Portugal with a large network of hospitals, Labs and clinics. We were able to visit a Specialist at a private hospital on the same day and without even visiting a GP , with a co-pay of 17 Euros only. Prescription medicines are super affordable and the whole prescription costed us less than a coffee+ Cake.


I have been paying for the private insurance since September 2021.
2 years before my biometrics appointment (Still waiting) and approval.

I decided t was worth the expense for many reasons; being insured while in Portugal over many visits, not having to have any waiting periods for coverage, before having any existing health concerns pop up that would cause a denial or an increased coverage costs and being under 60 when I first applied, hence lower starting costs. Also, if I have any necessary procedures to deal with, I can choose the US or Portugal.

For these reasons as well as the insurance is good for up to 45 days out of the country each time I enter an leave. I got mine through millennium bank, I have not had to use yet.

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I also use Medis through Millenium. I got my D7 in November so I am eligible for SNS but only use it for the Rx discount which is substantial. Since I use the Trofa Saude private hospital system I also got a discount plan through that hospital. The health care in Portugal was a primary plus for my retirement needs.

How’s your experience with the private healthcare and what sorts of costs do you face with it?

I am back in US for a couple of months so I brought the meds with me. I paid around 175 eu for stuff that would’ve cost me around $3000 here. The private hospital I go to will cost me around 40eu for a private doctor visit. It takes under an hour from entry into the hospital to exit with payment included. Portugal is a country that has medical tourism for a reason. Even without the subsidy when you become resident though the retail prices are very low. I am very satisfied with the care here and as a bonus the meats and vegetables are better quality as well :grinning:. I believe my policy with Medis was around 450 for the year and my discounts plan with the hospital is an additional 75. I even get additional discounts because of where I buy my groceries.

Hope this helps,


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Very helpful thank you. If you don’t mind sharing, are the prices on drugs better than you can get on places like costplusdrugs?

We applied in November 2021 and I was not aware that this gives me any access to the Portuguese healthcare system before the visa is granted. Sorry for my ignorance but does anyone have pointers to more information about this? Thanks!

There is a detailed post on this subject courtesy of @nevadaandonward:

Since then the Despacho mentioned in the original post have been updated as posted by another member of this forum here :wink:

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The fact that you applied before Jan 2022 not only gives you access to public healthcare, but also access to all other public services in PT, as well as the right to work and continued ‘presence’ in Portugal (i.e. not limited by your regular Schengen visa or visa-waiver conditions).


Thanks so much @tommigun!

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If you get a numero de utente ie are registered on the national health service, does that mean you no longer need private health insurance to renew GV?
Even if you don’t actually pay Portuguese taxes and still reside outside the country.