Guidance

Healthcare in Croatia

Healthcare information for UK nationals visiting, living in or moving to Croatia.

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This content was originally published on the NHS website.

Healthcare in Croatia after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Croatia.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Croatia in place.

For example, if you are a current S1 form holder, or a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will not be able to rely on these to access your healthcare as you do now.

If you live in Croatia

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

  • registering to live in Croatia
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of Croatia – all Croatian residents, and foreign nationals who have lived in Croatia for longer than 3 months and have been granted temporary or permanent residence permits, are obliged to register for basic health insurance through the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF)
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you are applying for residency or if you are not eligible for local schemes

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

S1 certificate holders

Your S1 certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Croatia and may mean you have to pay in full for treatment.

Studying in Croatia after Brexit

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Croatia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you’re already studying in Croatia before the UK leaves the EU, the UK will cover your healthcare costs for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

After the UK leaves the EU, students who will be studying for longer than 90 days must apply for a temporary (1 year) residence permit. This costs 500HRK.

Get help paying for medical treatment after Brexit

During the first 6 months after Brexit, if you need medical treatment and you’re being asked to pay for it, the UK can help.

This may be through arrangements with the country you live in, or by paying your healthcare provider directly.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Using NHS services when visiting the UK

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in Croatia and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

If you’re living in Croatia before Brexit, you can use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you:

  • have a UK-issued S1 form
  • have a UK-issued EHIC
  • would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access, if exit day had not occurred

Returning to the UK permanently

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Croatia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Croatia.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, talk with your insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Living or working in Croatia

This information is about healthcare in Croatia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living or working in Croatia after Brexit.

If you have lived in Croatia for 3 months or longer, you will need to contribute to the Croatian healthcare system. This means you will be entitled to the same healthcare as Croatian nationals.

Everyone who is eligible for health insurance in Croatia is registered with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF).

Paying for healthcare

The CHIF covers 80% of healthcare costs for services covered by basic health insurance. The remainder of the service cost (20%) is paid by the insured person.

Some groups are exempt from this co-payment but, if not, individuals can also take out supplementary health insurance to cover these costs.

The CHIF website offers information in English, including advice on treatments and costs and the Croatian healthcare system.

UK posted workers

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Croatia, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs:

S1 certificate

This information is about healthcare in Croatia before Brexit. Find out about S1 certificates for UK nationals living in Croatia after Brexit.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Croatia and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

Apply for a certificate of entitlement, known as an S1 certificate, if you are eligible.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Croatia. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the NHS Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. It is important to have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit.

You can find more information under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Studying in Croatia

This information is about healthcare in Croatia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals studying in Croatia after Brexit.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you are a UK resident studying in Croatia, your UK-issued EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

All Croatian residents, and foreign nationals who have lived in Croatia for longer than 3 months and have been granted temporary or permanent residence permits, are obliged to register for basic health insurance through the NHIF.

Temporary residence permits still can be granted for up to 2 years for students coming through Erasmus and mobility programmes after exit day.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read the NHS guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Visiting Croatia

This information is about healthcare in Croatia before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living in Croatia after Brexit.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Croatia. The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Croatia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you are staying there temporarily.

Make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF) if using your EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

The CHIF website offers information in English, including advice on treatments and costs and the Croatian healthcare system.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Croatia if you have a pre-existing health condition.

You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

The Money and Pensions Advice Service has information about buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel.

Take any documents about your health condition or medicine with you.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read the NHS guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Healthcare services in Croatia

Finding help in an emergency

Call 112 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency, or you need an ambulance. Calls are free of charge from any phone.

Dentists

Even with your EHIC, you may be asked to make a co-payment when visiting a dentist. Co-payments in these cases are generally HRK10.00 and are not refundable.

Make sure you have your UK passport and EHIC card with you.

Keep all receipts and paperwork and make copies if necessary. You might need them to apply for reimbursements with your private insurance company.

Hospitals

You need a doctor to refer you for specialist treatment.

Make sure you are treated by a hospital contracted to the CHIF when using an EHIC. When you’re admitted to hospital, you’ll need to present a valid EHIC and your UK passport to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

For each day you stay in hospital, you’ll need to pay a HRK100 co-payment, but no more than HRK2,000 for one course of treatment.

Prescriptions

Even with your EHIC, you may be asked to make a co-payment when receiving a prescription.

Co-payments are generally HRK10.00 and are not refundable. Make sure you have your UK passport and EHIC card with you.

Bringing your own medicines to Croatia

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal licence to take controlled medicines abroad.

Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

See more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Published 23 September 2019