The health system in Croatia is largely financed by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO), which is the body responsible for collecting health insurance contributions and managing the funds.
The health system in Croatia is based on a compulsory health insurance model. It guarantees universal cover for all Croatian residents, including expats:
Compulsory health insurance: All Croatian residents and expatriates legally residing in Croatia are required to register with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) and pay health insurance contributions. This is generally deducted from employees' wages and income, but special schemes also exist for the unemployed, students and pensioners.
Basic medical cover: Once registered with the HZZO, residents have access to basic medical cover, which includes primary health care, medical consultations, prescribed medicines, emergency care and hospital care. This basic cover is provided in accredited public and private healthcare establishments.
Health insurance card: Residents will also receive a health insurance card (HZZO card), which must be presented at every medical visit. This card entitles you to medical cover and reduces the medical costs you have to pay.
Co-payments and excesses: Although basic medical cover is covered by compulsory health insurance, certain costs may be charged to patients, such as co-payments (personal contribution) and excesses. The amounts of these charges vary according to the type of medical service and the category of insured.
> Please note: Although the health system in Croatia offers basic cover, there may be waiting times for certain treatments and limits on the availability of certain specialist services. Expats may therefore choose to take out private health insurance to benefit from more extensive cover and faster access to specialist care and provide cover for additional costs such as dental treatment, optical care and non-reimbursed drugs.
Croatia has an extensive network of healthcare establishments, including public hospitals, clinics, medical centres and doctors' surgeries. Larger cities generally have better-equipped healthcare facilities and specialists in various medical disciplines. Residents are free to choose the healthcare establishment of their choice, as long as it is approved by the HZZO.
Private general practitioner (GP) surgeries are widespread throughout the country and offer a variety of primary and specialist care services. They are often a convenient option for general medical consultations, routine check-ups, vaccinations, etc. You can find doctors' surgeries in urban centres as well as in rural areas of Croatia.
When choosing health insurance in Croatia, expats have two options: local health insurance or international health insurance. Local insurance companies offer policies tailored to the needs of Croatian residents and can offer greater knowledge of local medical establishments.
Another option for expats is international health insurance, where you can benefit from extensive cover as well as fast access to diagnostics and eligible treatment. This can leave you safe in the knowledge that you can receive medical treatment should you need it.
Public hospitals are spread throughout the country and offer a full range of medical services. Some of the main public hospitals in Croatia are the Clinical Hospital Centre Zagreb, the Clinical Hospital Centre Split and the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka. These hospitals have specialised departments and doctors qualified in various medical disciplines.
Private clinics in Croatia also offer excellent quality of care and can provide more personalised services and shorter waiting times than public hospitals. They often specialise in specific areas such as cosmetic surgery, dentistry, and specialist medicine.
The official website of the Croatian Ministry of Health can provide information on healthcare establishments, hospitals, clinics and medical centres in Croatia. You can find links to lists of healthcare establishments, information on the services available and useful contacts. The site is available in Croatian, but you can use online translation tools to make navigation easier.
The Croatian Health Insurance Fund website can also be a useful resource for finding information on accredited healthcare establishments in Croatia. The HZZO provides information on hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other healthcare establishments affiliated to their network. You can search for healthcare providers based on your location or specific need.
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