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Decree Law No. 113/2011

Publication: Republic Diary No. 229/2011, Series I of 2011-11-29
  • Issuer: Ministry of Health
  • Diploma Type: Decree Law
  • Number: 113/2011
  • Pages: 5108 - 5110

Summary in plain english

What is it?

This decree-law defines new rules for user charges.

A user charge is the amount a person pays for an appointment, exam, treatment or other form of health care they receive from the Portuguese National Health Service (SNS).

What will change?

The decision to review user charges results from the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

Portugal receives a 75 billion euro loan from these entities and in return commits to balance the State’s accounts and increase the country’s competitiveness.

Reviewed user charges

The ministers for Finance and Health will set the new user charges. By law, these charges must not be higher than a third of the price on the SNS price list.

Exemptions from payment

The following people do not have to pay user charges:

  • women who are pregnant or just gave birth
  • children up to and including 12 years old
  • users with a degree of disability of, at least, 60%
  • blood donors (only for primary health care, e.g. at local health centres)
  • live donors of cells, tissues and organs (only for primary health care)
  • firemen (for primary healthcare and, if injured in the line of duty, hospital care)
  • patients who have had transplants
  • Armed Forces military and ex-military who were permanently disabled in the line of duty
  • low-income users and their dependents (users who have an average monthly household income of up to 628.83 euros; this is limit for 2011 and may be updated every year).

When their state of health justifies it, low-income users may also get free transport to the SNS establishment where they are being treated..

Low-income users must provide evidence of their financial situation every year in order to receive these benefits.

Those who try to receive these benefits without being entitled to them will be blocked from receiving them for two years.

Health care with no user charges

User charges do not apply in the following situations:

  • family planning appointments and complementary services (e.g. exams) prescribed at these appointments
  • appointments, out-patient procedures and complementary services in case of:
    • degenerative and demyelinating neurological diseases (nerve related diseases)
    • muscular dystrophy
    • chronic pain treatment
    • chemotherapy for oncological diseases (cancer)
    • radiotherapy
    • mental health
    • deficiency of blood clotting factors
    • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and AIDS
    • diabetes
  • respiratory health care at home
  • dialysis-related health care
  • appointments and complementary services necessary for cell, blood, tissue and organ donation
  • screening exams promoted by the Directorate-General for Health during prevention programmes
  • home appointments initiated by the SNS
  • urgent care to domestic violence victims and complementary services resulting from these appointments
  • treatment programmes for chronic alcoholics and drug addicts
  • Directly Observed Therapy programmes (used for tuberculosis)
  • inoculation that is part of the national inoculation programme or the flu inoculation programme
  • emergency treatments — as long as they have been referred on by the primary health care services or result from an emergency admission.
More effective collection of user charges

SNS service must charge users at the time when health care is provided.

To make payment easier, these services must set up systems that allow users to pay with a bank card.

What are its benefits?

This decree-law is intended to:

  • continue to protect low-income users or those whose health is most at risk
  • reduce the State’s health expenses to ensure the sustainability of the SNS
  • encourage the use of primary health services (e.g. local health centres)
  • make the user charge payment process faster and more effective.
When does it come into effect?

This decree-law comes into effect on 1 January 2012.

Original Version


  • Legal translator is the translation of texts within the field of law


Legislative consolidation integrates the various amendments and rectifications made into an original legal diploma in order to make its consultation more accessible to the citizen.