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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Hungary

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access public healthcare provided in Hungary at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers you for the treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

If you don't have your EHIC with you or you've lost it, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team (+44 191 218 1999) to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.

Get the EHIC smartphone app

The European Commission has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement and emergency numbers.

If you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment, please see our section about seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Find help in emergencies

In case you find yourself in an emergency during your stay in Hungary, dial 112. Emergency services are free of charge. Other important numbers to note down are:

  • 104 – ambulance
  • 105 – fire service
  • 107 – police
  • (20) 900 0107 – Police – SMS service for the deaf (Budapest)
  • (40) 374 636 – 24/7 health advice provided by Dr Info. This is an internet and call centre-based service providing health care information for citizens. The service is provided in Hungarian only.

Health services and costs

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment. Ensure you are treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Hungarian National Health Insurance Fund (Országos Egészségpénztár Penztar, or OEP).

You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

Health providers who are working under the state healthcare scheme generally display a sign with the following inscription: "a társadalombiztosítás egészségügyi szolgáltatásaira szerződött szolgáltató".

Contact OEP for more advice before you travel. Call 0036 1 350 2001 from the UK. The OEP website offers some information, but only in Hungarian. Alternatively, download the guide: Health care services available during temporary stay in Hungary (PDF, 110kb)

If you move to Hungary long term (more than three months) or plan to work in the country, you'll have to register with the OEP to obtain your national health insurance card  (TAJ kártya) and a health insurance number (TAJ szám). You will have to present your TAJ kártya whenever you visit a doctor, dentist or specialist.

Doctors (háziorvos)

Doctors surgeries are open from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm. After 6pm on workdays, weekends and holidays, 24-hour medical services are provided by various health centres. If you speak Hungarian, then the Ministry of Health’s information portal Dr.Info will provide 24/7 healthcare advice.

Dentists

Ensure 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).

Hospital treatment

Just like in the UK, you'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Make sure you are referred to a public hospital, as only these provide treatment free of charge. Even in a public hospital, ensure you have a valid EHIC and double-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

A prescription should be issued by a doctor who practices within the OEP. Take your prescription and your EHIC to the pharmacist. You’ll have to make a patient co-payment for prescriptions that are not refundable. Co-payments vary, depending on the type of medicines prescribed.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you travel. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure that you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases, you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK; however, most suppliers can advise you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquide: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information, visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about travelling abroad with a lung condition.

Allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You will need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK Dialysis Unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Hungary nearest to where you will be staying. You can look up UK renal units on The Renal Association website.

Ensure you make arrangements according to your UK schedule. There may be different guidance, depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. The National Kidney Federation website offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients and guidelines for transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living in Hungary

Everyone who is eligible for health insurance in Hungary is registered with the Hungarian Health Insurance Fund (OEP). Once you are registered with the relevant authorities, you are entitled to necessary medical treatment and you'll have to pay the same patient contributions as a permanent resident of Hungary.

The OEP website offers some information, but only in Hungarian. Alternatively, you can find information about immigration on the Office of Immigration and Nationality website.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) also provides useful information about Living in Hungary.

 

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Hungary, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in Hungary. Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3506
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, visit the Moving abroad section.

Pensioners

If you live in Hungary and you receive an exportable UK Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form.

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your form via the International Pension Centre at the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 7777.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Once issued, register the S1 form with the relevant authority in Hungary. Often you need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.

Once you have registered your S1 in Hungary, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries.

Once you have registered your S1 in Hungary, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries outside Hungary, including when you return to the UK.

Early retirees

Since July 1 2014, you are no longer able to apply for a residual S1 form. If you already have a residual S1, this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Read more about the new rules.

Page last reviewed: 12/12/2014

Next review due: 12/12/2016

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