The social and medical system

Learn about the well organised
social and medical systems

Go to Portugal Home

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In short:

Portugal has a very extended care-system, we will treat the two most important here: the Medical system and the social helpsystem.

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Getting help from the Segurança Social:

European laws say that every Portuguese citizen shoud have the same rights, whether you're native Portuguese or an immigrant (estrangeiro). And really it dóes work that way. For Europeans the Segurança Social is also the authority to go to with the E121 or S1 form, this gives you the right to have medical help in your country of origin if you want or need to. Your homecountry will deduct an amount of money from your income for that ofcourse, it's like an insurance, often obligatory and sometimes (depending on a variety of factors) you can nót get this form as a result of which it's advantages do not apply to you (this depends on several rules in your homecountry).

For people on a low budget the Segurança Social also offers all sorts of help: a lawyer, programs for the elderly and children, if you become homeless etc. etc. For many things there are downloadable forms online if you want to apply for something.

They also have social workers / psychologists with whom you can have a conversation if you need advice about whatever subject (basically everything that applies to living in Portugal) and they're good, really very professional.

Next to that they also offer help for employers: if you started your own company in Portugal and it's not going as you wanted then you can go to the Segurança Social and see íf and whát they can do for you, you almost never are being sent away with nothing; if they can not help you themselves they mostly can give you good advice on what's best to do in your particular case. The Segurança Social.

The medical system:

The medical system (Servicio nacional de Saùde) is first of all: free (there are exceptions ofcourse). Once you are registered in Portugal and have a valid permission to stay, you can go to a medical center (centro de Saùde) and register in the system (not so long ago you needed to be registered at the Segurança Social first, but not anymore: please take into account that not everybody working in a centro de Saùde is aware of this).

Mostly you pay a small fee for administrative costs, but a visit to the doctor (médico de familia), centro de Saùde or hospital shouldn't cost you much money, we´re talking several euros here. There is an income-scale: the people with a real low income get automatically "isenção de taxas moderadoras" (as registered by the Portuguese tax-authority, Autoridade de Tributária e Aduaneira) which means that everything is almost or completely free.

It cán be that you will have to wait quite some time when you need to undergo an operation, but there are many private clinics too. On average a consult costs around 80 euros for the first time and the clinics are good; qualified specialists who take their time to give you all the attention you need. In some clinics the specialists also work in a hospital, they can arrange for you that (in case you need an operation) you don't have to wait long: 1 to 2 weeks.

On top of that all you can get medical insurance, they're very diverse. The lowest priced insurances cover only several things. Depending on what you're willing to pay, f.e.: you can get coverings for transport to the hospital, second opinion, child birth and dental care (dentists are not part of the system). They all have good websites often with a simulator. Most banks offer medical insurance and other insurances as well. Sugarança Nacional de Saùde (You can login with your numéro de utente, birth date and (Portuguese) mobile number and see everything that's connected to your account like prescriptions, visits to the hospital etc.).


Social (and other) things: