The history of Brazil’s healthcare system
Brazil has one of the world's most comprehensive public healthcare systems, dating back to 1923. The country’s healthcare system was established during social movements and re-democratization and was formed along with the social security system for those employed by the private sector. In those days, health was not a constitutional right; hence access was not a priority in the health system. Today, the healthcare system is known as the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS).
Brazil’s social security model
The country's social security model is built upon employers and employees, as well as the private sector's compulsory contributions. This model did not include agricultural and informal sector workers, meaning that most people did have medical insurance. But post the Brazilian Military Regime in 1985, Brazil focused on more rights and freedoms for its citizens in the new constitution. The Brazilian constitution states that "Health is a right of all and an obligation of the State, guaranteed by socioeconomic policies which seek the reduction of the risk of diseases and of other grievances and to the universal and equal access to the actions and services in its promotion, protection, and recuperation."
The SUS was created in 1988, and since 1990 the system has witnessed immense growth. In 1996, Brazil's federal government introduced an embarked healthcare tax on financial transactions, raising over USD $20 billion. Note that the SUS played a significant role in increasing healthcare access to a large portion of the population in the country at a time when privatization of the health system was growing.
The public healthcare system in Brazil
Brazil has a strong healthcare system that covers every person legally living in the country. The SUS is the country's only national health system that offers universal health coverage offering many free services, such as preventative care, primary care, outpatient care, inpatient care, maternity care, dental, and more. People need to show their unique National Health Identification to receive treatment. The identification cards can be obtained at any hospital, clinic, or health center by presenting an identity card, proof of residence, and taxpayer number.
Even though public hospitals in Brazil offer high-quality care, they struggle with overcrowdedness and long wait times. In addition, public hospitals lack the conditions and infrastructure that private ones possess, for example, lack of air conditioning or missing medical equipment. Although expats and foreigners can receive free treatment at public hospitals, they choose to reach out to private hospitals and pay for the services out of their own pocket.
Private healthcare in Brazil
Most Brazilians with private health care plans receive private medical insurance through their employers as part of their employee benefits program. Now, if you are wondering how much private health insurance costs in Brazil? It varies from one insurer to another. However, the average cost of medical insurance for an expat over 50 years old with a free complete physical checkup, medicine, hospitalization with a private room, dental, and eye care is USD $124 per month.
Get in touch with Pacific Prime for a Brazil health insurance quote
Brazil's healthcare system is extensive, but so are the wait times. The only way for you to guarantee yourself of receiving the best quality treatment is with a comprehensive private health insurance plan. Pacific Prime's insurance experts will give you impartial advice and build a medical insurance plan that meets your requirements and budget.