To access free medical benefits under Portugal’s National Health Service, you’ll either need to have EU citizenship or be working and paying contributions into the country’s social security (segurança social) system.

Retirees from non-EU countries generally need to have private health insurance. You will be expected to provide proof of this when applying for a residence card.

Good healthcare is available, but facilities may be limited to small health centers (centros de saude) outside urban areas. Public hospitals offer services at costs lower than private hospitals, but sometimes do not maintain the same comforts or high-tech facilities as hospitals in the United States. The U.S. Embassy advises that you should obtain insurance that covers medical services from a private Portuguese hospital or clinic.

 

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