MEDICAL COSTS IN PORTUGAL
I meant to keep a track of all my medical (doctor, hospital and dental) appointments and relevant costs since we relocated to Portugal but life just got in the way and I forgot. I cannot be bothered to go back over 2.5 years of receipts and invoices so I have started from scratch. I did try to go over old calendars and invoices but with my menopausal brain fog and current wisdom tooth pain I lost the plot and was drawn towards the lounge bar at mid day so I stopped (ha ha). The costs listed are just my personal expenditure and not hubby’s. He has only occurred dental costs so far (lucky him). He has only been to visit the doctor for his driving licence medical check as he is fit as a fiddle. I have explained more in detail the Serviço Nacional de Saúde (SNS) costs for visiting a doctor on my previous post as well as the horrendous experience we encountered whilst trying to register at a local health centre, which you can view here if your interested: http://casavalhal.com/a-guide-to-signing-up-to-a-doctors-sns-obtaining-prescription-drugs/
Once registered your SNS Utente (User) number allows you to access the Portuguese public healthcare system which is similar to the NHS in the U.K. That doesn’t just mean emergency care at A & E but also access to doctors and nurses at your local community healthcare centre. It is not a totally free service but we receive medical care at a reduced cost. Hubby also pays towards healthcare via his automated social security contributions, a bit like the U.K National Insurance and NHS entitlement. His monthly payments from his salary are a similar price to what he was paying in the U.K and he still needs to top up his U.K Social Security to be entitled to his full state pension upon retirement age. This post is just a record of my treatment and costs so far and I will continue to add to it. Better late than never!
Basic SNS Doctors visit fees are €4.50 and in our case the local SNS Medical Centre stopped taking physical cash and card payments in 2021. This wil result in a bill that will show up on the SNS Website and a copy will be posted to home address. Don’t forget to show your NIF number when paying for private medical appointments and obtaining drugs (prescriptions and other non prescription stuff) from pharmacies as you can claim certain deductions off your yearly tax return for every transaction and although it’s not a significant amount every cent counts!
Doctor Costs (Including Tax)
I will start my doctors appointments from 01/11/2021 after a nasty trip/fall whilst running in my local area. Up to this date I really only encountered the odd €4.50 doctor visit fee so costs were a minimum. 2022 has not been a good year for me medical wise mainly due to my accident prone/clumsy ass (ha ha).
FAAD Hospital is not SNS but I always visit here as it’s very near and located a short 25 min drive from our home. I could visit the SNS Hospital in Coimbra and scans etc. would be a bit cheaper but it’s an hour drive and what I save in exam fee I will only go on petrol. I also love the fact that FAAD give you your results immediately if an X Ray or Ultrasound. They make you wait a few minutes then hand you your diagnosis (paper file with results or disc) which means you obtain automatic results which reduces my stress and anxiety. They also accept all SNS referrals from your doctor but it is best to email them for appointment although I have just turned up before and they have seen me without a prior appointment.
02/11/2021 SNS Arganil Urgent Care Hospital (Similar to A & E in U.K) X Rays to arm/shoulder no broken bones detected (€14).
08/11/2021 SNS Doctors appointment as still in pain, referral to Hospital for 2 Ultrasound scans. (No charge yet).
18/11/2021 FAAD Hospital, Shoulder Ultrasound (€30).
26/11/21 FAAD Hospital, Pelvic Ultrasound (No charge).
11/02/2022 SNS Arganil Urgent Care Hospital X Rays to foot from a boxing sporting injury, Don’t ask (ha ha). (No charge yet).
28/02/2022 SNS Doctors appointment as still in pain with foot unsure if related to boxing accident or RA which I have in my hands, referral for blood tests (No charge yet).
04/03/2022 FAAD Hospital Blood Tests for RA (No charge yet).
16/03/2022 FAAD Hospital Foot Ultrasound (€30).
26/03/2022 Private Hospital near Lisbon initial consultation with a surgeon (€90).
September 2022 Private Hospital near Lisbon, Pending Private Operation around €8000 (I think before tax) but I will confirm in due course.
Dental Costs (Including Tax)
I wrote a previous post about our experience of finding a local Dentist here: http://casavalhal.com/my-first-visit-to-a-portuguese-dentist/
As I have mentioned before, in my previous post, there are no dentists available on the SNS unless you are an extreme case so all Dentists are private and costs can vary. In my opinion Dentistry costs here in Central Portugal are cheaper than most Private Dentists in the U.K but they are not as cheap as the NHS Dentist costs in the U.K which have fixed set bands. An emergency appointment or simple filling usually costs around €30-€40 but they sometimes do not include a clean, scale and polish with this so they often make you return and pay a further €30-€40 for a separate appointment which is with the same dentist not a hygienist. It all really depends on who you get as in 2020 I paid the 2 separate costs but when I had my last filling the dentist included a quick clean so it’s all a bit hit and miss.
Again, I forgot to record all my dental appointments but I will start from the beginning of 2022 as up to this date we only encountered check up fees, clean/polish/scale and one filling which averages at €35-€40 per visit. Let the expenses explode! (ha ha).
11/01/2022 Chipped my front tooth! Emergency appointment & tiny white filling (€40).
15/02/2022 Regular 6 monthly check-up (€35).
02/06/2022 Emergency Appointment for severe pain, X-Rays showed nothing so referral to hospital for full facial X-Ray (€30).
22/06/2022 FAAD Hospital Full facial X-Ray (€25). Not technically Dentist Cost but related to dental pain so I included it here.
29/07/2022 Wisdom tooth extraction (€350) €50 was tax.
10/08/2022 Emergency appointment as in severe pain from extraction, removed stitches & prescription – antibiotic and anti-inflammatory (No charge for appointment just a small cost for drugs).
My wisdom tooth extraction was a painful and traumatic experience, no fault of the dentist who is amazing. It was a tricky procedure as a severe impacted wisdom tooth under the gum pressing on a nerve. I was told it would cost €300 but they didn’t add the €50 tax so I didn’t have enough cash on me which was mildly awkward but not as embarrassing as the time where we visited a private surgeon near Lisbon and I walked out without paying the €90 consultation fee. The receptionist chased me outside in the rain (ha ha). I also need to mention that the local dentist receptionist here is fantastic. Complete opposite to the doctors receptionist. She is so kind although her English is limited and she has even hugged me! I know OCD Helen hugging strangers, what ever next (ha ha). I often wonder why our dentist and vet regreets are the friendliest people I’ve ever met yet the doctors receptionist is a cold rude fish (ha ha).
Cost of Prescriptions
Costs of prescriptions in Portugal can vary depending on the drug and manufacturer. I am extremely lucky as my under-active thyroid drugs and co-codamol pain relief for my back condition are very cheap. I am not going to list every cost of my drugs I have obtained from the pharmacy but just as a guide, I was prescribed 3 different drugs after my wisdom tooth extraction:
Amoxicillin + Clavulanic Acid Mylan 875 Mg + 125 Mg (Antibiotics) 16 units (€5.95) I paid (€2.78).
Lepicortinolo 20mg (Anti-Inflammatory) 16 units (€3.90) I paid (€2.46).
Dol-u-ron Forte 30/500mg (Pain relief similar to co-codamol) 20 units (€2.95) I paid (€2.01).
The current prescription charge in the U.K per item is £9.35 but I must mention that my under-active thyroid condition entitled me to free prescriptions in the U.K despite me working full time. I didn’t realise this exemption for a while as no one tells you shit (ha ha).
Follow up medication:
Azitromicina ratiopharm 500 mg (Antibiotics) 3 units (€4.84) I paid (€2.11).
Ibuprofen 600 mg (Pain relief) 20 units (€2.22) I paid (€1.35).
I will leave you with a final funny true story. Yesterday hubby received an email from our old NHS dentist in Bristol, U.K requesting a £37.00 payment for an outstanding balance! Weird coincidence as I just had my wisdom tooth extracted. Anyway, we haven’t visited that dentist in nearly 3 years and we always had a regular 6 monthly check-up with any follow up treatments but they always made you pay immediately after your visit so I know damn well that there is no balance owed. Why the F wait 3 years! I personally think they have mixed him up with someone else as he has a very common name. We also informed them that we were leaving the country so we didn’t take up an NHS place that someone else could use, I’m a kind spirit! It’s all a bit of a mystery and one for Miss Marple or in our case hubby (ha ha). We are awaiting a response but they are not very forthcoming.