If you find yourself needing an emergency room visit Lisbon, don’t be too scared. Unfortunately, I’ve been privy to 3 emergency room visits. One was with an American friend who came here to visit and the others were for Portuguese residents on a D7 Visa who both have Portuguese Health Insurance. Both were at private hospitals (Hospital Luz & Hospital Lusíadas) since I have not used Portugal’s public health system. I’ll break down what happened and the costs. If you have questions, just leave them in the comments.
What Emergency Room Visits Are Like in Lisbon
Emergency Room Visit with Portuguese Health Insurance
The first Emergency Room visit in Lisbon was at Hospital Luz in Benfica near Colombo Mall. In my opinion, Hospital Luz is the best private hospital in Lisbon. Its equipment is state of the art, most of its staff speaks English and can be reached by metro by taking the Blue Line to the Colegio Militar stop.
The second Emergency Room visit in Lisbon was at Hospital Lusíadas. This was also a fine hospital and the process was almost the same. The biggest difference for us was that at Lusíadas, there were significantly fewer people who spoke English. Luckily, I have been taking Portuguese classes twice a week for the past year and this helped significantly. If you don’t speak Portuguese, you may have a more difficult time depending on who is there.
The second difference was in payment. At Luz we paid before the visit, at Lusíadas, we paid after. There is more info on payment towards the middle of this post.
Admission to the Emergency Room in Lisbon
When you first arrive, you must take a ticket. Choose the one that says “Admissões”. When you see this number go up, you can go to the register. They will ask for your name, ID, and Portuguese Insurance Card. If you are already a patient at that hospital, they should already have this on file. Then they will ask you to pay for the visit which costs €40 (we’ll get into what the price includes later). You will keep your number and use it for the next step.
At this point, you will be told to sit in the waiting room to wait for triage. Once they call your number, you will be taken into a private room with a desk. A nurse there will take your vitals and ask you why you are in the emergency room. Once they enter all your information, it is time for step 3.
You are asked to go to a different waiting room. This is where all the people who are sick are at. The seats are definitely not the most comfortable. There is a sign above that gives you approximate wait times. We found these were not accurate. When your number is finally called, you will walk into a private consultation room where more detailed information will be asked about your condition and where you will be examined. The doctor there will decide on the type of treatments and tests you will need. Once they have concluded the consultation, you go back to the waiting room and wait to be called in for treatment.
Once they call your number, you walk into a treatment room. This is where they will do things such as draw blood, etc. If you need more serious exams or treatments, you will go back to the waiting room and wait for your number to be called so you can be taken to the appropriate department (this is in case you need something like a CAT scan).
Once the doctors are done, you will have a second consultation. They will tell you if you need to be processed for intake, if you can go home, or if you need to come back in another day for observation.
If you have Portuguese health insurance, this will all cost €40. Both hospitals accepted American credit cards. This visit included an emergency room visit, a CAT scan, blood, and urine tests. The follow-up visit the next day was free.
If you end up needing to stay a the hospital, prices and methods of payment will vary. Let me break that down a touch.
- Hospital Luz: If you need to stay at the hospital, you will need to put in a deposit of €2700 on top of the emergency room visit cost. The deposit is for a 1-week duration and if you stay less, you are refunded for the length of time you did not stay. This can be paid in cash, by credit card, or by check. However, the hospital will do all the insurance paperwork. Once your insurance processes the claim, they will pay the hospital for their portion and then the hospital will reimburse you for the difference. I was told this process does take some time.
- Hospital Lusíadas: The deposit here was significantly less at €500 for 3 days. The insurance processing and payments work pretty much the same as Hospital Luz.
Emergency Room Visit without Portuguese Health Insurance
The process was almost exactly the same as above (this was at Hospital da Luz). The only difference was the pricing. A visit to the emergency room (this was in 2017) cost almost €200. If you have Portugal health insurance for tourists, some of that cost should be amortized by your plan.
I hope this post about emergency room visits in Lisbon helps some of you. If you have a question about something I did not cover, just ask in the comments.