International Health Insurance in Portugal

International Health Insurance in Portugal

With stunning coastlines, a laidback culture and the promise of months of warm weather, Portugal is an attractive destination for expats and tourists alike.

This Iberian nation offers a lower cost of living than some European neighbours, safe streets and a growing retiree community.

Factors such as quality education recognised and valued across the EU, and a multilingual culture also boost its appeal for expats with families.

Protect your life here with international health insurance in Portugal from Cigna Healthcare.

How does the healthcare system work in Portugal?

Portugal’s healthcare system is publicly funded, run by the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS). The tax-funded system invests a substantial amount of public funds in the healthcare service. Most essential treatments are free at the point-of-service, with non-essential treatments requiring co-payment, though the fee is usually small.


Pros and cons of using Portugal’s local healthcare system


  • With approx. 9.5 % of the GDP invested in healthcare , good medical treatment is a major benefit of living in Portugal.
  • Medical insurance in Portugal is quite robust and most basic health services are available without any costs.
  • If you’re emigrating from the UK or EU, you’re also able to access the healthcare system freely for up to 90 days via your GHIC or EHIC cards respectively.


  • Although the system is high in quality, hospitals may be tougher to access in remote areas.
  • Linguistic issues with English/other languages also arise when living in more remote areas.
  • Public healthcare system might be well equipped but can be very busy.

Differences between public and private healthcare in Portugal

Public Private
Publicly funded. Faster treatment access and shorter wait times.
Can be difficult to access in more remote areas. Bills can rack up fast, so comprehensive medical insurance in Portugal is imperative.
Non-residents can access services via a GHIC or EHIC.


How can international health insurance help you in Portugal?

SNS (the organisation that oversees public healthcare in Portugal) is only operational in continental Portugal. Autonomous areas such as Azores and Madeira have their own healthcare systems. This is a great reason to set up an insurance package that covers you across regions and borders. 

Medical insurance plans for Portugal are traditionally much more robust than state-based plans. It’s generally a good idea to be protected from your arrival date and we can help find a package to suit your needs.

Choosing your international health insurance

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Select a Cigna core plan:


The core benefits on the Silver plan provide international inpatient and daypatient cover, including hospital stays and treatment.

  • Annual Benefit Limit: $1,000,000

  • Inpatient and daypatient treatment

  • Private room

  • Full cancer care

  • Newborn care cover


Comprehensive coverage, with higher overall annual limits and added benefits including inpatient maternity care.

  • Annual Benefit Limit: $2,000,000

  • Inpatient and daypatient treatment

  • Private room

  • Full cancer care

  • Inpatient Maternity


Our highest level of coverage offers an unlimited overall annual limit, with most benefits being paid in full.

  • Annual Benefit Limit: Paid in full

  • Inpatient and daypatient treatment

  • Private room

  • Full cancer care

  • Inpatient Maternity

  • Mental and Behavioural Health care paid in full

Why choose Cigna Healthcare for health insurance in Portugal?

Cigna Healthcare is a global leader in providing international health insurance. Benefits of our packages include:

  • Access medical assistance in over 192 countries, with a world-renowned network of professionals and hospitals.
  • Private healthcare in Portugal allows travel between islands and mainland with ease.
  • 24/7 access to our leading Customer Care Team.
  • Years of experience in delivering international health care.

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Non-native residents and expats can access the national healthcare system if they qualify for a National Health Service user card. You’ll likely need a passport, residency card and social security details (non-EU residents) to apply.

With state healthcare, you may be required to pay a portion of the total value of your prescriptions. Medication is separated into different classes based on set criteria, listed A-D. You’ll be required to pay a percentage depending on the class, with A being the lowest and D the highest.

We can help organise your treatment for you and ensure you get access to the best healthcare available. Call our Customer Care Team to get started.