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Discover how the system works in Brazil

The Brazilian healthcare system known as “Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) is a public health system which provides free and universal access to healthcare. All Brazilian nationals can use the SUS although, according to the National Health Agency, 25% of them have private medical insurance.
The SUS is a decentralized system managed by Brazilian states and municipalities.
At the same time, the private healthcare system has been strongly developing as a consequence of the public system’s shortcomings (medical staff and equipment, etc.). It is highly recommended to take out complementary healthcare insurance for your medical care in the private sector as you will be provided with a much better quality of service.

Visiting a doctor in Brazil

Brazilian GPs or family doctors provide routine medical care (cold, flu, etc.).
Doctors in large cities such as São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro speak several languages (English, French and Spanish).
The private sector is strongly developing and services are of very high quality; however, medical care can be very expensive. Rates vary from one city to another. For example, in Brasilia, consultation fees cost R$120 (USD 51) on average and can go up to R$500 (USD 214).
In São Paulo, consultation fees cost R$300 on average (USD 128) and between R$200 and R$250 in Rio de Janeiro (USD 85 to USD 107).
As there are not enough doctors, it can be difficult to get an appointment quickly.

Brazilian specialist doctors: It is not necessary to see the GP beforehand in order to go to a specialist doctor.
You can directly ask for an appointment with a specialist. As there are only a few specialist doctors, waiting times can sometimes be long before being able to get an appointment.

Being admitted to hospital in Brazil

Brazilian hospitals
Medical care is provided free of charge in public hospitals. However, Brazilian public hospitals are overcrowded and waiting rooms are full of people.
Certain Brazilian hospitals have their own ambulance service.

An increasing number of Brazilians prefer to turn to private hospitals which use advanced technology and provide high-quality medical equipment. Medical staff are also very efficient.

Medical tourism is famous in Brazil for the quality of its surgeons and high-end medical equipment.

Emergency services are open 24/7 in most hospitals; however waiting times can be very long, especially in large cities.

In case of emergency: dial 192

Buying medication in Brazil

Drugs listed in the national list of essential medicines are covered by the SUS. As for drugs which are not covered by the national health system, the “farmacias populares” offer affordable prices.

Get your health insurance for Brazil

MSH can help you design the best international health insurance plan to suit your needs.

Going for less than a year?  
We have the right health insurance plan to cover you for 1 to 12 months, whether it's for a personal project, an apprenticeship, a working holiday or any other reason.

Going for a year or more?
Explore our comprehensive and highly flexible health insurance solutions to protect you and your family while you're abroad.

WHV Brazil

Essential Information

Duration: 12 months, non-renewable

Cost of the visa: It is free of charge but if you apply in person, you will probably have to pay the cost of traveling to the consulate.

Turnaround time: 1 to 4 weeks

Eligibility requirements

French, New Zealand and German nationals can apply for a WHV in Brazil.


To apply for a visa for Brazil, you must:

  • Be between 18 and 30 years old inclusive
  • Hold a valid passport
  • Be able to prove you have sufficient resources (at least €2,500)
  • Never have been granted a working holiday visa in Brazil (first application)
  • Have international health insurance for the duration of your stay
  • Apply for a WHP at any time throughout the year as long as the quotas have not been reached
  • Not have the Brazilian nationality

How to get your visa

To apply for a visa, you must go through the e-consular platform.



Federative Republic of Brazil


São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Porto Alegre, Salvador de Bahia, Fortaleza, Curitiba, Recife, Belem, Goiania




Federal presidential constitutional republic





Brazil on Wikipedia


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Laure and Robert moved to Singapore in 2014 for work - but they ended up starting a family there too! She told MSH that she was pregnant and was amazed by all the support she got. First she received a practical guide on pregnancy (what to do at each stage, medical exams etc.) and then a member of the team called her to explain all her guarantees personally and advise her on the best place to give birth. The day her daughter was born, a gift pack arrived with a growth chart and a baby toy, with all good wishes from MSH. And now there's another one on the way...
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Matthieu was hiking in a canyon in Peru when he accidently fell down several meters and fractured his kneecap and elbow: "After 12 days in a local hospital, I was sent back to  France where I spent 2 more weeks in hospital and months in physiotherapy" he remembers. Matthieu's hospitalization, repatriation and rehabilitation expenses were all covered by MSH: "Without my private health insurance, it would have been a nightmare: €16,000 for the hospital and €50,000 for my repatriation with two air ambulances - can you imagine?"
Client story: my second opinion

Petra was very worried about the surgery she'd been prescribed following an accident at home. Before making her decision, she wanted a second opinion. Thanks to her private health insurance, which included the Second Medical Opinion guarantee, she quickly saw another doctor and got all the answers to her questions. The second doctor agreed that surgery was necessary and Petra went to hospital feeling reassured and confident.

For more information

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