Guidance

Healthcare in Hungary

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

Stay up to date

The UK is leaving the EU. This page tells you how to prepare for Brexit and will be updated if anything changes.

Sign up for email alerts to get the latest information.

This content was originally published on the NHS website.

Healthcare in Hungary 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 visiting or living in Hungary.

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 Hungary in place.

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

If you live in Hungary

If there is a no-deal Brexit, the Hungarian government has committed to protecting the current rights of UK nationals legally resident in Hungary from the day the UK leaves the EU.

You can find more information on the Hungarian government’s dedicated Brexit website.

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

  • registering to live in Hungary
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of Hungary. You can apply for a TAJ kártya (medical insurance card) at the Kormányablak
  • 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 Hungary and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Studying in Hungary 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 Hungary and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you’re already studying in Hungary 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.

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 Hungary 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.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you are living in Hungary before exit day and you:

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 after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Hungary and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

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

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 to your insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

Your EHIC will 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 and working in Hungary

This section is about healthcare before Brexit. Read the section Healthcare in Hungary after Brexit.

If you are employed in Hungary, state health insurance is normally arranged through your employer who should apply for your National Insurance (NI) number. Insurance contributions will be deducted from your wages.

If you are self-employed, you can arrange to make voluntary contributions through the National Tax and Customs Administration Office.

When you have your NI number you should apply for a TAJ kártya (medical insurance card) at the Kormányablak. With a TAJ kártya you can register with your GP. You must show your medical insurance card when you go to the doctor.

You will receive the same access to healthcare as Hungarian nationals. If you do not have a TAJ kártya you should obtain private healthcare.

UK posted workers

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

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

S1 certificate

This section is about S1 certificates before Brexit. Read the section Healthcare in Hungary after Brexit.

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

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

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Hungary. 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 Business Service Authority’s 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.

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 Hungary

This section is about healthcare before Brexit. Read the section Healthcare in Hungary 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 Hungary, your EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

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 Hungary

This section is about healthcare before Brexit. Read the section Healthcare in Hungary after Brexit.

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

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 Hungary for free, if you are staying there temporarily.

Make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Hungary 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 Hungary

Finding help in an emergency

If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency during your stay in Hungary, dial 112. Emergency services are free of charge.

Dentists

The Országos Egészségpénztár Penztar (OEP) is the Hungarian National Health Insurance Fund.

Make sure you see a dentist registered with the OEP. A list of dental services provided by OEP dentists is available in the guide: Health care services available during temporary stay in Hungary (PDF, 110kb).

Hospitals

You need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Make sure you are referred to a state hospital, as only these provide treatment free of charge. Even in a state hospital, make sure you have a valid EHIC and check you are not treated as a private patient.

During your stay in hospital, operations, diagnostic tests and medicines are provided free of charge.

Prescriptions

Medications and pharmacies are widely available throughout Hungary. Prescriptions brought from abroad are not accepted at local pharmacies.

Pharmacies (known as Gyógyszertár or Patika), are often marked with an illuminated green cross or with the symbol of a snake coiled up around a cup. Certain medicines, such as painkillers, are also available without prescription at petrol stations, drugstores or in supermarkets.

Bringing your own medicines to Hungary

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 license to take controlled medicines abroad. Specific requirements also apply to:

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

Read more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Published 23 September 2019