Health insurance in Brazil

Before you leave for Brazil, it's a good idea to take out appropriate international health insurance.

assurance sante bresil

Are you thinking of moving to Brazil, whether for expatriation, study, an internship or simply for a vacation? Brazil, with its high medical costs, can represent a significant financial risk in the event of illness or accident. With the right insurance, you can leave with peace of mind, protected against unforeseen financial, medical and legal contingencies. Our health insurance policies specially designed for Brazil cover a wide range of expenses, including repatriation, hospital costs, third-party liability and other emergency medical costs.

Student insurance Brazil

Insurance to cover your studies in Brazil.



/ month

Expatriate insurance Brazil

Health insurance to cover your expatriation to Brazil.



/ month

Travel insurance Brazil

Health insurance to cover your trip to Brazil.



/ trip

Any questions? Need advice?

Information on health insurance in Brazil

assurance bresil drapeau

Political system: Federal Republic
Capital: Brasilia
Surface area: 8,516,876 sq. km
Population: 209.3 million
Languages spoken : Portuguese
Currency: Real

The Brazilian healthcare system

Brazilian government policy has never made health a priority. According to Aquila Mendes, Professor of Health Economics at USP, over the past 28 years of SUS, health financing has never ceased to be a problematic issue. Despite improvements in the Brazilian healthcare system, it is still far from being ranked among the best in the world. Brazil’s healthcare sector is indeed associated with inequalities in the country.

On the one hand, the public sector enables almost 70% of the Brazilian population to receive healthcare thanks to the social protection scheme and the INSS public health insurance, which makes healthcare virtually free. However, medical infrastructures are less technologically advanced, healthcare staff are less qualified, and access to care is limited due to the unequal distribution of patients between the public and private sectors. It’s also important to note that Brazil has more private than public infrastructures (60% of infrastructures are private, while they serve only 30% of the Brazilian population, despite the fact that there are just under 6,000 hospitals in total). This means that waiting times for a consultation with a public-sector practitioner are often long.

How does the Brazilian healthcare system work?

The Ministry of Health regulates the Brazilian healthcare system, which is financed by the state budget. Whether you’re an expatriate or a citizen, if you work as an employee in Brazil, you must join the Brazilian social security system, INSS. A portion of the contributions is deducted from your salary and taken directly from your payslip. In addition, a social insurance scheme is in place to provide free access to healthcare for the elderly, disabled and those unable to work. Brazil has introduced the Unified Health System (SUS), which gives people not covered by social security access to free healthcare.

What does SUS support?

The SUS provides a wide range of services and treatments, including :

  • Mediator
  • Meditation, yoga and other alternative therapies;
  • Breast milk banks ;
  • HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis
  • Sex change surgery
  • Hepatitis C treatment
  • Copper IUD
  • HPV vaccine
  • Medicinal plants

According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, 7 out of 10 Brazilians will depend exclusively on SUS in 2019. This means that less than 30% of the Brazilian population is covered by private health insurance, and can only seek treatment in the public sector, with no access to complementary care.
This free healthcare system has its limits. In fact, access to this care is limited, because on the one hand, health staff in public hospitals are overwhelmed by the number of patients. On the other hand, the quality of care is very limited and inferior in comparison with private-sector medical facilities. In reality, not all Brazilians have access to this free care, as demand is far too high. According to DataSUS, in 2014, 707,000 Brazilians died from diseases considered preventable (flu, tuberculosis or intestinal infections).

How do I consult a general practitioner or specialist in Brazil?

In Brazil, you have the freedom to choose your doctor, and your embassy can also recommend a list of doctors in your area. You can also ask friends and family to recommend a GP once you’ve arrived.

You don’t need a prescription from your GP to consult a specialist. However, the demand for specialist consultations is much higher than the number of specialists available in Brazil.

Pharmacies in Brazil

In Brazil, you’ll easily find well-equipped pharmacies subsidized by the government, which means they offer low-cost medicines. In theory, certain drugs are only available on prescription from a healthcare professional. In practice, however, this rule is rarely applied, allowing you to pick up almost any drug at the pharmacy, whether you have a prescription or not. Brazilian pharmacists can also diagnose you and administer vaccines. The regulation of medicines sold in Brazil is still relatively lax, so it is advisable to be vigilant when dispensing medicines, which must be marked with a red band on the box with the words “Venda sob prescrição Médica”. The pharmacies in the “Droga Raia” chain are open 24 hours a day.

The emergency department in Brazil

To contact the emergency services in Brazil, dial 192. However, you may not get assistance in English. The emergency service is accessible nationwide and free to all residents. In practice, the service is less efficient and reliable, and often rather slow. What’s more, when you’re transferred to a hospital emergency department, you’re likely to face considerable waiting times on site. However, you also have the option of contacting a private ambulance which will transfer you to a private hospital where care will be much faster, with waiting times considerably reduced compared to public establishments.

Here is a list of emergency numbers for private hospitals in major Brazilian cities:

  • Sao Paulo: Albert Einstein Hospital (3747-1000) / Samaritan Hospital (3824-5000)
  • Rio de Janeiro: Copacabana (2257-6060)
  • Brasilia: Vida Ambulance (3248-3030)

Paediatric care in Brazil

In Brazil, a pediatrician charges between R$190 and R$250 per appointment. Many factors influence the price of a consultation with a pediatrician, such as region, type of care and the specialty of the professional you consult. Among the main symptoms faced by these specialists in Brazil are :

  • Nutritional errors;
  • Lack of appetite;
  • Low weight or short stature;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Constipation or diarrhea;
  • Nasal obstruction;
  • Bronchitis;
  • Allergies;
  • Breastfeeding guidelines.

The cost of paramedical care in Brazil

Have your child monitored by a pediatrician from birth to age 19.

Everyone should see an ophthalmologist regularly. An ophthalmologist can identify and treat many eye diseases. When you consult a specialist in Brazil, he or she will carry out a complete analysis of your eye health, including examinations such as refraction tests, fundus examinations, intraocular pressure monitoring, and clinical assessments of diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. In general, the cost of a consultation with an ophthalmologist varies between 90R$ and 200R$. However, in the most popular clinics, the cost of a consultation can range from 300R$ to 600R$.

The cost of a consultation with a physiotherapist generally varies between 80R$ and 230R$. However, you can find consultations at 60R$, but others can reach up to 300R$. Brazilians, especially those who have been working in the same job for a long time or who suffer from chronic pain, are increasingly demanding this service.

Maternity in Brazil

According to the AMB (Brazilian Medical Association), a full maternity ward in a private clinic costs an average of R$15,000. This cost includes fees for the obstetrician, assistant, anesthetist, pediatrician and neonatal intensive care unit. However, this value is only a basis on which you can base your estimates. Draw up a birth plan listing everything you’ll need when you give birth. Depending on your choices, you can make your maternity ward more affordable or more expensive. Factors to take into account when choosing your maternity ward, and their costs, are as follows:

  • Type of delivery (normal, natural or caesarean) ;
    You’ll give birth using conventional medical intervention methods such as epidurals. Only natural methods will be used during your delivery, such as hot water baths and massages to relieve pain. Finally, Caesarean delivery is much more expensive than other methods (55% of deliveries in Brazil are by Caesarean section).
  • Anesthesia;
    Anesthesia includes the cost of anesthesia and the anesthetist’s fees.
  • Hospitalization or maternity expenses ;
    These costs vary according to the hospital chosen, the structure of the room during the stay, the delivery room and the care infrastructure.

Should I take out private health insurance for expatriates in Brazil?

When you expatriate to Brazil, make sure you take out private health insurance for expatriates, as it will provide you with cover against private sector healthcare costs.

If you are an employee in Brazil, you can join SUS, Brazil’s universal health insurance scheme. However, it will only cover public healthcare. On the other hand, the public health sector is very limited due to its difficult access, with demand far outstripping capacity. This means extremely long waiting times for consultations. If you are admitted to the emergency room, you may have to wait several days before a doctor can examine you. The quality of care is very average, even mediocre, in some public facilities. Healthcare staff are less qualified, and hospitals are much less well-equipped than in the private sector.

As an expatriate, it’s essential to take out private insurance. An international insurance policy for Brazil offers many advantages, allowing you to turn to the private sector whenever you need healthcare. Waiting times are much shorter, healthcare staff are much more qualified, doctors have degrees from Europe’s leading universities, and hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.

Which expatriate private health insurance should I take out in Brazil, and for whom?

Non-Brazilian nationals can take out private international health insurance for Brazil. This insurance provides more comprehensive coverage than local insurance, including countries outside Brazil. Certain situations require compulsory health insurance, especially for people on WHV.

  • Many self-entrepreneurs are starting a business in Brazil to create new markets. If this applies to you, take out private international health insurance to guarantee your permanent visa. This insurance allows you to receive care privately.
  • If you’re a nomadic worker, like more and more workers since Covid-19, health insurance valid for the territory is mandatory when applying for a digital nomad visa for Brazil. So take out private international health insurance to cover your travels in Brazil and abroad.
  • If you’re a European planning a vacation in Brazil for less than 90 days, consider taking out travel insurance such as Travel Pass. This insurance covers private care, as public care is of low quality and covers far fewer medical treatments than private care.
  • If you’re an expatriate in Brazil, whatever your expatriate profile, take out private international health insurance, also known as “expatriate insurance”. Whether it’s the duration of your expatriation, or the waiting period if you wish to join a local insurance scheme, you need to take out private international health insurance before you leave.
  • If you are a student going to Brazil for a semester or part of your studies, or for an internship, take out international health insurance. On the one hand, it allows you to obtain your student visa like the Vitem IV, and on the other, it lets you make the most of your student experience without worrying about the cost of private healthcare, covered by international health insurance.

Finally, don’t hesitate to request a free quote on our website and/or contact us by e-mail or telephone for more precise information based on your situation.

Scroll to Top