Guidance

Healthcare for UK nationals living in Slovakia

How to get state healthcare if you live, work or study in Slovakia.

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This information is about living in Slovakia. There’s different guidance if you’re visiting Slovakia.

If you’re living in Slovakia before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in Slovakia will stay the same for as long as you remain legally resident.

This guidance explains what you need to do in Slovakia depending on your circumstances.

To access state healthcare you must have health insurance cover with one of Slovakia’s 3 health insurance funds. You still have to pay to use some parts of the healthcare system such as prescriptions and some emergency care.

At the moment, UK nationals usually access the Slovak healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • making insurance contributions
  • private health insurance
  • using a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for temporary stays
  • registering a UK-issued S1 with one of the insurance funds

The S1 form entitles UK nationals access to state healthcare on the same basis as a Slovak citizen. You’re entitled to an S1 if you receive a UK State Pension or certain other benefits. Find out more about the S1.

Healthcare if you live and work in Slovakia

You must register as a resident if you plan to stay in Slovakia for more than 3 months.

Everyone must have health insurance in Slovakia. You need to make contributions to one of Slovakia’s 3 health insurance funds if you’re:

  • employed by a Slovak employer
  • self-employed
  • a permanent resident in Slovakia

If you’re employed by a Slovak employer, your employer will arrange for your health insurance contribution to come directly out of your salary before you’re paid. They’ll also pay part of the contribution for you.

If you’re self-employed, you need to arrange to pay your insurance contributions directly to your chosen insurer.

You can add your dependants on your insurance plan if they are not eligible to make their own insurance contributions.

If you’re living in Slovakia before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in Slovakia will stay the same for as long as you remain legally resident.

This means you’ll continue to get state healthcare in Slovakia from 1 January 2021 on the same basis as a Slovak resident.

You’ll also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension.

How to register

First, register as a resident.

Then choose which insurance fund you want to join. There are 3 health insurance funds in Slovakia:

If you’re working for a Slovak employer, tell them which fund you’ve chosen and they’ll register you.

If you’re self-employed or not working, you can register directly with your chosen fund.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll get an insurance card as a proof of your coverage.

You can also apply for a combined insurance card. This has your Slovak insurance fund details on one side and your Slovak EHIC on the other for use when travelling around the EU.

Show your insurance card when you register with your GP and each time you see a doctor.

You’ll need to get a referral from a GP to see a specialist.

How much you’ll pay

Most treatment and services are free if you have insurance.

Basic dental treatment is free. Your dentist can tell you what’s covered and what you’ll pay extra for.

You may have to pay for prescription medicines and home visits by a doctor.

There’s a one-off charge of 10 euros for emergency care. Sometimes you can get the money back for this, for example if you’re admitted to hospital.

If your UK employer has sent you to Slovakia temporarily (‘posted workers’)

A posted worker is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to another European Economic Area (EEA) country.

Currently, posted workers can use an EHIC or an S1 form to access Slovak healthcare.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

There will be no changes to healthcare access for posted workers in Slovakia before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC or S1 during this time.

UK-funded healthcare: using an S1 form in Slovakia

There’s different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker.

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

  • a UK State Pension
  • some other ‘exportable benefits’

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

You may also be entitled to an S1 form if you’re a posted worker or frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.

Once you have an S1 form, you must register it on the Slovak system.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare in Slovakia on the same basis as a Slovak citizen.

How to get an S1 form

If you have a UK State Pension, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: +44 (0)191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 3pm

How to use an S1 form in Slovakia

You must register your S1 form with one of the 3 health insurance funds in Slovakia:

You can choose which fund to join.

Once registered, you’ll get an insurance card as a proof of your coverage. This will show you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a Slovak citizen.

UK-funded healthcare using an S1 from 1 January 2021

If you’re living in Slovakia before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare will stay the same from 1 January 2021 if you’re either:

  • receiving a UK State Pension
  • receiving another ‘exportable benefit’
  • a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another)

This means that you’ll get:

  • continued access to healthcare in Slovakia using your UK-issued S1 form
  • a UK-issued EHIC for travel
  • planned treatments in other EU countries via the S2 route
  • access to the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales when you’re visiting the UK

Studying in Slovakia

You can apply for a student EHIC. This is different from a normal EHIC, and entitles you to cover for longer.

Your EHIC gives you access to emergency or necessary state healthcare in Slovakia on the same basis as a Slovak resident.

An EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. You should have both to cover the duration of your course. If you started studying in Slovakia before the end of 2020, your EHIC will be valid for the rest of your course.

Moving back to the UK

If you return to the UK permanently you will be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident.

Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.

Published 23 September 2019