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Healthcare for Visitors to Hungary

Hungary is not one of Europe’s top tourist hotspots, but an increasing number of intrepid travellers and UK business people are travelling to Hungary, especially Budapest, for city breaks or to do business deals. Hungary has been part of the EU since 2004, and as such UK visitors to Hungary have the right to access state health care, as long as they have applied online for their EHIC documents before leaving home. EHIC doesn’t cover you for everything though, so it’s important to know what the Hungarian state health provider will cover, and how much private medicine might cost.

EHIC for Hungary

Hungary’s healthcare system is a mix of public and private, and EHIC will only cover treatment by a healthcare provider which has a contracted with the state health service, or OEP. Their website has lots of information about accessing healthcare, but in Hungarian only. In order to be treated under the state system, you will need both your EHIC and passport to prove your identity. Few healthcare professionals speak English, but in larger hospitals in cities some doctors may speak reasonable English. If you require hospital treatment, you will be expected to pay a nominal sum towards your treatment, and this is likely to be less than £5 sterling. The standard of public health care in Hungary can vary; some of the larger hospitals in Budapest are excellent, whereas provision in rural areas is patchy. Some dental treatment is covered by EHIC in Hungary, mostly emergency procedures such as extractions. You will also be expected to make a contribution towards any medicine which you are prescribed. Always keep copies of all payments and ask for itemised receipts for any bills you are given.

Private Healthcare in Hungary

Many Hungarian doctors who work in the state sector also have private clinics. These are used by wealthier Hungarians as it can speed up their treatment and allow them to be treated with more privacy and comfort. Often, patients being treated privately are seen in the same main hospitals, but can access better standards of accommodation. If you have chosen to take out travel insurance for your trip, you can ask your insurer whether you can be treated as a private patient. Clarify with your insurer what will be covered before agreeing to go ahead. Always get detailed invoices and receipts, and remember that you might have to pay an excess on any claim. There are however substantial benefits to having travel insurance over an EHIC. European cover won’t get you home if you fall ill or miss your original flight, and could leave you stranded for months In a Hungarian hospital in the event of serious illness. Travel insurance policies can vary, so always read terms and conditions, especially if you suffer from pre-existing medical conditions.

Cosmetic surgery or dental treatment is an increasingly popular reason for travelling to Hungary, and although this is unlikely to be covered under your travel insurance policy, it does mean that there is a growing number of medics who speak English and are accustomed to dealing with visitors from the UK.