There are several types of health insurance systems being applied worldwide, and its differences are important to be known. Those can be found in the article below entitled “Health Systems Classification” by my colleague Jorge Moreira dos Santos. Portugal, as the same article describes, uses the so called National Health Service (NHS) which consists on a tax-based funding and public provision with relationships between agents being determined by the state. This basically means most people working discount to be able to ask for the health care treatment for free or at a reduced price, but then there are some others that privately contract it or benefit from some subsystems (some public, some private) depending on their professional work.
But is this accessible to everyone? How? Well, there are some differences on what it covers and how it is accessible. Let me take the students example, someone with no income. If I am Portuguese, the most common situation is to be covered by my parent’s discounts and whenever needed be able to take health care for free. If I am an international student from within the European Union, the health care system and plan from my home country make my access to the Portuguese NHS easier as according to the European Union rules the right is extended. Finally, the third option is if I am an international student from outside the European Union but studying in Portugal. In this case I am covered by the NHS with free medicines and doctor appointments. To have more than those basics, a contract should be done (usually Universities help with those). Overall, the system covers quite well all the possible situations in which students can be, but does that mean it is efficient and truly beneficial?
Taking my personal experience from the system, I cannot say I am unsatisfied. I am not a frequent user of the NHS but due to some breathing difficulties that sometimes appear when the season changes, I have felt already the need of benefit from it and apart from the time spent taking the treatments I cannot complain, for me it has been working quite well. Moreover, last week for instance I had a problem which cared for medical attention and two days after I was well again.
To conclude my brief comment, independently from your situation, the Portuguese NHS is quite easily accessible for all and the results derived from it – taking my own experience as example, are good and truly beneficial. Have you also the same idea of easy accessibility and good treatment? What has been your experience?
José Miguel Filipe
#1586 Masters in Management