Croatia and Healthcare
Croatia has been a member of the EU since 2013, and this means that British travellers going to the country on holiday or for business can take advantage of the reciprocal EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) arrangements which covers basic healthcare provision. There are however significant differences between Croatian and UK healthcare, whether you have private travel insurance or only EHIC cover.
EHIC Cover in Croatia
As in other European countries, the EHIC arrangements will only cover you for treatment in Croatian state hospitals, not in the private sector. The state healthcare in Croatia is HZZO, and only hospitals or doctors which are contracted under this system will offer treatment for EHIC holders. There is limited information in English on the HZZO website which is updated regularly. Seeing a doctor who operates under the state system is free of charge, although you may be asked for a contribution of 10 Croatian Kuna (around £1.10) per visit. You cannot be treated in hospital for a non-emergency condition without being first referred by a family doctor. In an emergency, you will be admitted straight to hospital, without being charged for any ambulance transfer. A contribution applies to hospital treatment too, and is charged at 100 Kuna (£10) a day, up to a maximum of 2000 Kuna. These charges cannot be claimed back. A 10 Kuna contribution also applies to prescriptions. Always check that you are being referred under the state healthcare system, especially in tourist areas and where you are relying on Croatian speakers to make the arrangements for you. Croatia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for health tourist or for cosmetic surgery, but treatment of this sort cannot be covered under the EHIC system.
Additional Private Healthcare Insurance in Croatia
Your EHIC cover will not reimburse you any costs of staying in Croatia longer than planned because of an illness of accident, and won’t meet the costs of getting you home either. Additional travel insurance covering medical issues is therefore highly recommended. If you are planning on taking part in extreme or dangerous sports while on holiday, you will definitely need to consider taking out specialist insurance. Private medicine is a fairly new concept in Croatia, and most hospitals only operate under the state system. Being insured though will allow you to claim back the contribution fees you are charged for accessing the state system, and may allow you to opt for a private GP or pharmacy. It may also cover you for emergency dental treatment which you might not be able to access under the state system. Always check your policy carefully to make sure what you are covered for, and keep the lines of communication open with your insurer if you are admitted to hospital or need to make a claim. The standard of healthcare in Croatia is good, with modern hospitals in most large towns and cities which are just as good as any found in the UK. Most doctors will speak English, especially in tourist areas or in Zagreb, the capital city.