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4 of the most important things to understand about Portuguese medical insurance

4 of the most important things to understand about Portuguese medical insurance Image

May 19, 2023

You probably won’t need our team here at Ibex Insurance to tell you that when it comes to something as crucial as your health, you won’t want to leave anything to chance. And yet, the task of trying to find the most suitable private medical insurance in Portugal can present a high risk of misunderstandings for many expatriates, not least given the language barrier.

This is one reason why Ibex Insurance exists; we take pride in banishing much of the confusion that expats can often experience when they are trying to seek out a Portuguese medical insurance policy.
In that spirit, let’s take you through some of the things that it is most important for expats to appreciate when they are comparing their options for private medical insurance in Portugal.

What geographical coverage is needed

Everyone has different circumstances and requirements when it comes to private health cover, and when you are trying to find the most suitable plan for you, the geographical coverage that a given policy offers ought to be factored into your thinking.

Sure enough, here at Ibex Insurance, we make available Portugal-only policies, but also those that provide coverage across broader Europe, and even the world.

A given policy’s terms in relation to pre-existing conditions

When you see references to “pre-existing conditions” on the subject of private medical insurance in Portugal, this typically refers to physical or mental conditions for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment is received or recommended prior to the policy commencing.

It might be the case that a given policy excludes pre-existing conditions, although this is not automatically applied to every Portuguese health insurance policy out there.

The likelihood of you being able to get insurance for any pre-existing conditions you have, will depend on such factors as whether the condition is ongoing, as well as its type and severity.

The voluntary or compulsory excess

In the world of insurance, the “excess” is the amount of money that the policyholder is required to pay towards the overall cost of a given insurance claim.

So, how does that concept work when it comes to private medical insurance in Portugal? Well, it depends on the specific policy; some policies might put in place a compulsory excess, meaning the policyholder has to pay whatever the excess level on their plan is, before they will be able to receive any claim monies from the policy.

Alternatively, the excess may be voluntary, by which we mean that you can choose to have an excess applied to the policy, which could be a good way to lower the costs of your ongoing premiums. If you go down the route of a voluntary excess, you will – of course – need to pay the excess amount in the event of making a claim.

As always when it comes to insurance, though, it is vital to pay close attention to the ‘small print’, so that you fully understand what form any excess takes on a particular policy (for example, whether the excess is annual, or you need to pay a new excess for each medical condition you have).

Exactly what a particular policy does and doesn’t include

If you are accustomed to depending on a state healthcare system for your medical care – for example, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK – and you are reading this as someone who is coming into contact with the world of private medical insurance for the first time, this is an especially important thing to appreciate.

As you will see when you look at the health insurance comparison charts on our own site, health insurance providers vary when it comes to such matters as whether in-patient cover is included, what the overall annual limit is, and whether the policy covers pregnancy or dental. There may also be an age limit for entry that you need to take account of.

Naturally, every person’s situation is different as far as private medical insurance in Portugal is concerned. That’s one reason why, here at Ibex Insurance, we are a broker rather than an insurer ourselves. It means that we can bring you a range of insurance plans from across the market, and present you with one that particularly suits your needs.

Would you like to get started with finding the ideal private medical insurance in Portugal for you, with a little help from Ibex? If so, please feel free to request a quote online from us today – or if you would prefer a face-to-face chat, you are welcome to visit one of our Portuguese offices in Almancil or Tavira.


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