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What is the difference between Inpatient and Outpatient in Health Insurance?


If you are a foreign resident in Portugal, or an expat living here, you may be wondering what the difference is between inpatient and outpatient health insurance. Both can be important components of your health coverage, but they offer different benefits. Here’s what you need to know about each one.


What is the difference between Inpatient and Outpatient in Health Care?

Outpatient cover is designed to cover the cost of consultations with your GP, specialist appointments and tests carried out at outpatient clinics.  This covers also exams or treatment made in the hospital during the day and you go home after a couple of hours. Small surgeries like the removal of a benign skin mole are also considered an outpatient type of treatment.

Inpatient cover, on the other hand, is designed to cover the cost of staying in hospital as an inpatient, as well as any surgeries or procedures you may have while you’re there.

Outpatient cover generally has a lower premium than inpatient cover, as it doesn’t typically involve as much time or treatment. However, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of cover for your needs, as outpatient cover won’t cover you for stays in hospital or more complex procedures. If you’re unsure about which level of cover is right for you, it’s a good idea to speak to an insurance broker like C1 Broker who can help you understand your options.



Outpatient care in detail

Outpatient care refers to medical care that does not require an overnight stay in a hospital or other healthcare facility. This type of care can include everything from routine doctor visits and small surgeries to outpatient mental health services and substance abuse treatment.

Outpatient includes everything from a simple consultation with a GP to a more complex specialist appointment or exam. Outpatient care is generally less expensive than inpatient care, as it does not require the use of a hospital bed. Outpatient care can be provided at either a private health clinic or a hospital or a private medical practice.

However, it is important to note that not all outpatient procedures are covered by health insurance. Patients should consult their insurer to determine whether their chosen outpatient procedure is covered.


Inpatient Care in detail

Inpatient care is any type of medical treatment, procedure, or exam that requires a person to stay in a hospital or health clinic overnight. This can include everything from oncology treatments and hip surgery to childbirth and mental health evaluations.

Inpatient care typically involves a team of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals working together to provide around-the-clock care and supervision. In some cases, patients may be discharged after a few days, while in others they may need to stay for several weeks or even months. The length of stay will depend on the nature and severity of the condition being treated.

Regardless of the length of stay, inpatient care is an important part of ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need.



Health insurances offer different levels of coverage for inpatient and outpatient care.

Different health insurance plans offer different levels of coverage for inpatient and outpatient care. In general, inpatient care is more expensive than outpatient care, so it is typically subject to a higher yearly limit. This means that if you are expecting to need a lot of medical care in a given year, it is important to choose a plan with a high inpatient limit.

On the other hand, if you are generally healthy and only expect to need occasional outpatient care, you may be able to get by with a less expensive plan. Ultimately, it is important to choose a health insurance plan that meets your needs and budget.

Health insurance companies offer a variety of plans with different limits on outpatient and inpatient care per year. To keep premiums lower, some insurance companies offer the possibility of including a deductible, a cost-sharing arrangement after the deductible is met, or both. If you choose a deductible and/or cost sharing, your premium will be lower than it otherwise would be. However, you will be responsible for paying a share of your medical costs out of pocket if you need to use your insurance. Before choosing a health insurance plan, it is important to consider your needs and budget to find the best option for you.

To understand more about this theme, please read our post “How Deductible and Cost Share work in Health Insurance”.


In conclusion:

Now that we’ve looked at the difference between inpatient and outpatient care, it’s important to understand what health insurance plans offer. Most insurances will have different levels of coverage for inpatient and outpatient services. Have questions about finding the right health insurance plan in Portugal? Our team at C1 Broker  is here to help. Give us a call today or send us an email – we would be happy to assist you!


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