Healthcare System for Expats in Brazil

Brazil is a beautiful place for travelers as well as expats because of its vibrant ambiance and visitor-friendly residents. If you are planning an extended stay in this South American country, you should opt for international health insurance that offers adequate coverage for you and your family. You also need to learn about the local Brazilian healthcare system before you make the move to this country. In fact you can purchase coverage after you have arrived.

Brazil has a lot to offer to tourists looking for a little adventure in their lives. If you intend to take part in activities in this part of the world that could be risky for your health. Obtaining a traveler’s insurance plan would be a wise decision. It is important to note that Brazil has both developed and underdeveloped areas. So the quality of public healthcare may vary across different cities or towns. As an expat, you certainly have access to the public healthcare safety net. However, choosing private healthcare insurance can be an even better investment. For more health-related information of Brazil, click on this CDC Health Page for Brazil link.

Key Medical Information for Expats in Brazil

  • Almost all major Brazilian cities have acceptable health care systems, especially for private care.
  • The top hospitals in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are equipped with the latest health care technology and medical facilities.
  • The well-trained staff in these hospitals speak English too, which is an added advantage for foreign nationals and expats.
  • Blood transfusions are adequately tested to ensure the safety of patients. However, there may be an occasional shortage in the supply of blood for a patient of a certain group.
  • Medical arrangements in remote areas are poor and sanitation could be an issue in these areas.
  • Pharmacies in Brazil are easily accessible and well-stocked with the required medicines at low prices

Overview of Healthcare in Brazil

Brazil boasts of an efficient public healthcare system that makes life easy for its citizens as well as expatriates. However, insufficient funding in some places affects the quality of services of this system. On the contrary, the private healthcare system in Brazil offers top quality services, but usually at a higher cost. Expats who can afford should ideally subscribe to a private health insurance policy and avail those services. They can later get their expenses reimbursed.

Free public healthcare is available for all the legal citizens and permanent residents of Brazil. However, as an expat, you may not be satisfied with the quality of services, especially in government hospitals. You may find the private care a bit expensive, but most of the prescribed drugs of other countries are easily available in the Brazilian pharmacies.

How the Brazilian Healthcare System Works for Expats

According to the Brazilian constitution, everyone living legally in the country can have access to healthcare facilities. Residents can obtain these services from the public national health system, private healthcare providers and private sector enterprises. The public national health system also offers free health treatment and check-ups for those who find it difficult to pay for health care. According to the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), those who cannot afford won’t have to pay doctors’ fees, charges for surgeries or hospitalization and prescription medicines.

Public Healthcare

Individual state governments in Brazil are responsible for the efficient and smooth operation of public hospitals in the country. However, the federal government is in charge of overseeing the general healthcare policy. Unfortunately, most of the public hospitals in Brazil are overcrowded and finding English-speaking doctors is often difficult. The inadequacy of funds to maintain these hospitals in a good condition adds to the negative impact on the quality of services available here.

Private Healthcare

Brazil’s private healthcare is known to be of the highest standards in Latin America and thus expensive and unaffordable for many. Since the quality of service offered by private healthcare providers is equivalent to the best one could find in Europe and North America. Medical tourism is thriving in places like Sao Paulo – a city with several top-quality hospitals.

You will find a wide range of healthcare professionals and specialists, especially in the larger cities. Private medical care is cheaper in smaller towns, but its options are also limited.

Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Brazil

If you are an expat accustomed to good quality healthcare, you should opt for international health insurance to enjoy adequate benefits, portability and access to care back home and globally. By purchasing a private expat medical insurance plan, you can get the best possible treatment at some of the top-notch hospitals in the country. You can go for one of the most recommended global medical insurance plans, including Cigna Global Health Options plan and Allianz South American health plan. Having robust health coverage will give you the peace of mind to enjoy everything that this beautiful expat destination has to offer.


Learn about top 5 countries to retire in South America.