Healthcare in SloveniaSlovenia is one of the countries which once made up Yugoslavia, and has been part of the EU since 2004. The unspoilt countryside and Slovenia’s position at the heart of central Europe means that an increasing number of UK visitors are travelling there on business or for a hiking or skiing holiday. Although part of the EU, the rules about accessing public healthcare in Slovenia are quite different from many other countries.
EHIC in SloveniaEHIC is the name for the reciprocal agreement between the EU countries which give citizens access to basic state healthcare. You have to apply for your EHIC cards before you leave the UK. In Slovenia, another layer of bureaucracy applies. All visitors to the country have to register their presence with the local police. Hotels will do this for you, but independent travellers or those in self-catering accommodation should seek advice at the Police Station.
If you fall ill in Slovenia, EHIC will let you use their public health provision, ZZZS. Information in English is on the ZZZS website to help you access healthcare in an emergency. Always make sure that a doctor or hospital you attend is displaying the ZZZS logo. In an emergency, all of your treatment will be free under the Slovenian public health service. This includes admission to hospital and any surgery if needed. In non-emergency situations, you will be expected to contribute to the cost of your treatment. You will also be expected to pay for prescription medicines and any dental treatment. Always get receipts, as you may be able to claim back the cost of non-emergency care through your travel insurance. Healthcare in Slovenia is good quality and on a par with the rest of Europe. Most doctors in cities will speak reasonable English, but this cannot be guaranteed, especially in more rural areas.
Medical Cover on your Travel InsuranceHaving medical cover on your travel insurance can give you additional options when it comes to accessing healthcare in Slovenia. There are a number of healthcare facilities operating in the private sector in Slovenia and if your travel insurance agrees to cover the cost for admission to a private hospital, you will be treated more quickly and in more comfort than in the public sector. Many private hospitals in Slovenia cater to the cosmetic surgery market, and are accustomed to dealing with patients from the UK. More medics in the private sector speak English. Most of the private provision is in the capital, Ljubljana, and in more remote areas you may not have the option of private care.
If you are planning to ski or hike while on holiday in Slovenia, it is vital that you get additional cover on your travel insurance policy. The Slovenian state system will typically not cover any mountain rescue services or transfers by helicopter, and won’t cover the cost of flying you home to the UK for treatment. Check that you have appropriate cover for your trip, and always take all of your documents with you when you travel.