I had someone ask me this on Facebook while they were bleeding out. Note to people on Facebook, if your bleeding or hurt dial 1-1-2 on a phone. Facebook is not the place to ask for medical help or advice.
We wrote a whole post on How to get Healthcare in Portugal. We go over the step by step process on getting insurance, dealing with the doctors and tricks to make the process easy.
In Portugal like most countries, there are public and private hospitals. I prefer the Private ones because of usually shorter wait and newer equipment. The benefits of the public hospitals in Portugal are that they are part of the state run health system the Servico Nacional de Saude, or SNS for short. Every expat I know uses private insurance but if the price is too high at the private hospitals they go to the public ones.
If you notice most major hospitals and health centers are on the coast. We personally love Hospital Luz and CUF. Both hospitals have English, Frence and of course Portuguese speakers. Just ask the reception for help in your native language. I personally would say both are as good as any hospital you will find in your home country. So don’t be scared to go.
On the Health Centers be prepared to wait since they usually are full. I would assume a 2-hour wait or 30-minutes if in pain. Go to these if you have a common cold or just need some light pain medication.
Keep in mind the SNS healthcare system in Portugal is residence-based. So you will need a NIF and be a resident of Portugal to fully use it. When you become a resident you are issued a SNS health card and number which will track your visits to various doctors. Every doctors visit will ask for this number so make sure you get one.
If you are a Non-residents or are just on a Schengen Visa you should have private health insurance. Those visitors from the EU can use the European Health Insurance Card.
Need Travel Health Insurance?
I would suggest one of these two:
Each is pretty affordable and also has a life insurance / Travel insurance add on which is great. So if your bags are lost or you die (sorry about that) you’re covered.