Healthcare and medical care
Brazil has a publicly-funded healthcare system as well as an extensive private healthcare system. Treatment in private hospitals is expensive. When travelling to Brazil, you should take out comprehensive travel insurance. The standard and availability of treatment varies by region but, in general, treatment in private clinics is of a high standard. Waiting times in the public sector may be long, but treatment is free. Sufficient treatment is not necessarily available outside the towns.
If you call the emergency number 192 for an ambulance, you will be taken to a public hospital. You can subsequently ask to be transferred to a private hospital. The services of private ambulances can also be used. The Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, for example, has a ward for foreign patients and information about foreign insurance policies.
In the private sector, you can obtain services either through travel insurance, Brazilian health insurance or by purchasing directly. In the private sector, you must agree in advance as to whether payment for treatment will be made through insurance, in cash or a guaranteed cheque. Some facilities accept payment only in cash.
If you are staying in a rural area in Brazil and need hospital treatment, take into consideration that the standard of the hospital may not necessarily be as good as that in urban areas. For example, the air conditioning in the hospital may be inefficient, and they may not necessarily have the medical equipment necessary for specialised treatment.
If you are health insured in Finland, and have received treatment in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland on account of a sudden illness, worsening of a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively. You are entitled for the same reimbursement that you would have received if you had been treated in the private healthcare system in Finland. Please note that the reimbursement usually covers only a small part of the costs of the treatment. Thus, taking out a comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.
The pharmacies have a wide range of medicines. A valid prescription is required for certain medicines, such as antibiotics. Medicines can be obtained from some pharmacies without a prescription. Not all medicines on sale in Finland are necessarily available in Brazil.