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Healthcare in Portugal...

Public System:

Portugal has a public healthcare system called the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS). The SNS provides medical care at low or no cost, depending on your circumstances. It’s a publicly funded system that operates through a network of public hospitals and community health centers.

Portuguese citizens and legal residents of Portugal can be registered in the public healthcare system. Tourists can’t register for the public system, but can still get emergency treatment if necessary.

If you’re coming to Portugal from elsewhere in the EU, you’ll need to show your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your country of origin, and your passport or identification document. This will allow you to get medical care via Portugal’s public system.

Private System:

In part because of the crowded public system, retirees in Portugal often carry private health insurance. Remember that – even as a retiree – if you come from outside the EU, you’re not entitled to public healthcare until you’re a permanent resident. That means you’ll need private insurance for at least the first five years of your retirement in Portugal.

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