Healthcare in Brazil – A how to Guide

Healthcare in Brazil - A how to Guide


Healthcare in Brazil - Once upon a time a topic for everyday joke, healthcare system of Brazil has developed much in the recent decades along with phenomenal economic growth, good governance and accountability, inclusion of poor people in mainstream economic activities etc. As well as the Brazilians, tourists passing vacations and enjoying leisure time can avail the health care facilities in Brazil. Like anywhere else on earth you have to know the right and appropriate information to avail the health facilities provided in Brazil. The article is intended to provide you with important information so that you can get the best health care opportunities there no matter you are from Brazil or outside Brazil.

Health insurance in Brazil and how to afford - Healthcare in Brazil

Brazil has established an extensive and unified health care system called the Systema Unico de Saude, as popularly known as SUS. It was established in 1990 as per the provisions of the Brazilian constitution which dictates universal healthcare opportunities for all. Since its inceptions, the system has undergone many revisions and organizations reforms to accommodate better organizing capability, less bureaucratic complexity and better decentralization of hierarchical structure. The system provides full free treatment to all including foreigners.

The Health insurance card - Healthcare in Brazil


Healthcare in Brazil - To afford the healthcare facilities, you need a health insurance card which is known as the SUS card. Recently, an electronic health system has been introduced replacing the card system. Each electronic card has a unique identification number through which any hospital, clinic or other health facilities can have access to the personal health record of the card holder via a central database operated and maintained under the SUS system.

To apply for the card, you need to need contact any Brazilian hospital, clinic or municipal offices. You can also order online through the Ministry of Health Website of the Brazilian government.

The following documents are required:

  1. A birth certificate or a Brazilian ID card
  2. Proof of residence
  3. Individual tax payer’s number
  4. Divorce of marriage certificate in cases of requirement

If you are a foreigner, you have to show your passport with at least six month validity, employee card (where applicable) etc.

Once you are issued a SUS card, you will be given a password which enables you to access the central database to view your health records and to contact the proper authorities in cases of health related problems.

Medical treatment on holidays

Healthcare in Brazil - Holidays are usually busy days for getting treatment in Brazil as many people choose holidays for contacting the health facilities, clinics, municipal health care centres’ etc. Follow some suggestions given below regarding holiday medical treatment.

1. Start early in the morning

You should wake up early in the morning if you want to avoid congestion and hassle of getting to the doctors for treatment. Otherwise, you may face a long cue to reach the doctor, which will cost you valuable times to enjoy the offers of the holidays or the weekends.

2. Do not forget to bring your card

You will have to face a lot of difficulties in any health facilities in Brazil without your card. Most of the health facilities are electronically integrated to the unified health care system and without a card you would be required to spend a lot amount of money.

3. Quality varies in places

Unlike the most of the developed countries of the world, health care facilities in Brazil vary in terms of where you are accessing the health facilities. The large cities like Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro have the most qualified sophisticated health personnel and workforce while the rural and remote areas of Brazil have relatively less developed health facilities. In cases of severe diseases it is highly advised to go for developed treatment facilities.

4. Beachfront facilities can be a very good choice

Several seecatches of Brazil are the most popular holiday destinations for Brazilians and tourists alike. In keeping with the demands for treatment, there are many health centres’ and facilities especially suited to the beachgoers. You can easily avail those facilities. While these facilities are a bit costly, availing those would be helpful in saving your time, travel hassle and other associated cost.

Private healthcare in Brazil

Healthcare in Brazil  - You may be dissatisfied with the public healthcare system of Brazil. You can go for private healthcare system which provides much better qualified services than the SUS system. Private healthcare system is largely available in the metropolitan city or urban area where you can avail the services. But the truth is some private hospitals are even less caring than the public hospitals. So you should be careful in choosing private healthcare.

Among many of the private healthcare providers, the following have been reputed for years:

  1. Italica
  2. GreenLine
  3. Santamalia
  4. Medial
  5. Transmontano
  6. Sao Cristovao
  7. Dix Saude
  8. Unimed
  9. Amil
  10. Golden Cross
  11. Intermedica

Learning Portuguese will help you get better treatment - Healthcare in Brazil

For the locals, maintaining communication with the hospital stuff is not a problem anymore. But if you are a foreigner and cannot speak Portuguese, it will be very difficult to communicate with the hospital staffs since most of them do not speak English. In such cases, the foreigners are required to hire a Portuguese speaker to get treatment which would incur a handsome amount of cost on top of the medical cost. So if you intend to stay for a long time and take medication in Brazil, learning Portuguese, at least to communicate minimally is highly appreciated and advised. It will help you minimize cost and hesitation.

Be informed while choosing hospitals - Healthcare in Brazil

Through online forums and discussions you can easily gain insights on the quality and reputation of a hospital in Brazil. Putting trust entirely on the promotional commercials would be remorseful decisions.

Brazil has the potential to be an attractive place for medical tourism. It is expected that in the near future, healthcare facilities will be much improved. You can get the best treatment by being informed, cautious and insightful. You should learn Portuguese to get better treatment opportunities from your part.

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