Private healthcare in Portugal

Posted on 29 August 2017

There’s no denying Portugal has a top-notch public healthcare system, but if you want the extra piece of mind that going private brings you’ll be pleased to know you’re moving to the right country.

While the state healthcare system has a great reputation on the whole, it can suffer a lack of funding and inconsistency in services from area to area. The similarities to the NHS model are undeniable, although a part-payment system means the majority of people are required to pay nominal fees for GP visits and a little more for X-rays and scans.

Despite most expats from elsewhere in the EU being covered by the Portuguese state healthcare system, many choose to make use of the private medical facilities found throughout the land. Whether it’s a small private GP surgery, or an all-signing all-dancing private hospital, here’s a quick guide to accessing private healthcare in Portugal.


It’s common for residents in Portugal to take out a health insurance policy that covers a percentage of the cost of any private treatment. For example, rather than paying the full rate to see a private doctor you might pay as little as €10-20, with the outstanding sum covered by your insurance.


Like most things in life, you get what you pay for and healthcare in Portugal is no different. While access to private healthcare in Portugal isn’t cheap, it’s a lot less expensive than the US or north-west Europe.


Why wait days for a medical appointment, or travel miles out of your way to attend, when you could see a GP or specialist the next day near your home? For some people it’s more cost-effective to splash out on private healthcare, rather than sacrificing a day’s income.

Pregnancy and birth

For around €4,000 – assuming there aren’t any complications – you could opt to give birth in a modern private hospital. While state hospitals offer perfectly adequate facilities, some have a reputation for being rather “set in their ways” in terms of how they operate.

Portugal offers the flexibility to use its high-quality public and private healthcare systems as you see fit, provided you put measures in place to cover any costs.

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