You are here:

Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Slovakia

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 contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in Slovakia 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 treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

Get the EHIC Smartphone App

The European Commission has developed a useful multi-language free phone app that 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 read our section about seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Find help in emergencies

In the event of an emergency in Slovakia, you can call 112. This call is free of charge from any landline or mobile phone.

Other useful numbers:

  • 112 – emergency services
  • 155 – ambulance
  • 158 – police
  • 159 – city police
  • 150 – fire  

Health services and costs

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment, so make sure you are treated by a state-funded healthcare provider. You may be charged a fee, which is non-refundable.

Some healthcare providers offer both public and private care in Slovakia. 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.

Tip

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.

Minor ailments can be dealt with by a pharmacist (lekáreň). For more serious problems, go to the nearest hospital (nemocnica). There are hospitals in all larger towns. Outpatient clinics and pharmacies are available in small towns and tourist areas. Pharmacies are usually open between 8am and 6pm on weekdays, and there is always one pharmacy open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Some services carry a small fee in Slovakia. The following charges apply:

  • visits to emergency health centres = €1.99 (this fee is not payable if you are hospitalised)
  • patient's companion during hospitalisation = €3.32 a day (this is not charged for the companion of children under the age of three, someone accompanying a patient under the age of 18 hospitalised for cancer treatment, or a nursing mother)
  • proof of release of healthcare items issued by specialised centres = €0.17
  • prescription charge = €0.17
  • emergency pharmacy prescription (after 10pm) = €0.33 

For more details, visit Slovakia's eHealth website

    TipIt's always advisable to have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Repatriation for medical treatment is not covered by the EHIC.

    TipMountain rescue services are also not covered by public health insurance or the EHIC. It is recommended you take out a commercial travel insurance policy if you will be taking part in mountain sports or excursions during your stay.

    Hospitals

    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.

    Again, even in a public hospital ensure you have a valid EHIC and double check you are not treated as a private patient. Services and medicines are normally free of charge, but there may be substantial non-refundable charges for complex procedures.

    Emergency hospital treatment is available at any casualty ward and a referral is not necessary.

    TipIn public healthcare facilities, you have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted. You do not have to provide travel insurance details unless you choose to do so. You can find a healthcare provider in Slovakia using the Physicians and Health Centres website (Zzz.sk) (information is only in Slovakian). 

    Dentists

    Your EHIC will cover any dental treatment you need in Slovakia, but make sure you see a dentist who works under the public health insurance system (stomatológ). 

    Emergency treatment is usually free, but you may be charged for some treatment depending on what materials the dentist uses.

    There is a charge for any dental treatment that is not covered under the public health insurance system, including cosmetic dentistry. This is non-refundable.

    Prescriptions

    The Slovakian Ministry of Health regulates which medicines and healthcare items are covered by public health insurance and which ones should be paid for by the patient. You may have to pay for part of the cost if the medicine is not covered by the public health insurance system.

    There is a standard fee for each prescription. Pharmacies have a list of nationally subsidised medicines. This is non-refundable.

    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 you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as this is 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 the EHIC will not cover.

    Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK, but 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 0808 143 9991 for London
    • call 0808 143 9992 for the north west
    • call 0808 143 9993 for the East Midlands
    • call 0808 143 9999 for the 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 Slovakia 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 Slovakia

    If you are moving to Slovakia to live and work, you must take out an insurance policy within three days of receiving your residency documents.

    All new residents must also have a medical assessment when they move to the country, which must be handed over to the local authorities within 30 days of being granted residency. More information about this can be found on the Slovakian Migration Information Centre website (information available in English).

    Health insurance is a legal requirement in Slovakia. There is a choice of three public health insurance providers:

    You can also apply for individual private health insurance through Union Poist'ovňa – but be aware of the difference between Union Poist'ovňa and Union Zdravotná Poist'ovňa, which is public health insurance.

    Working in Slovakia

    If you have moved to Slovakia for work, your employer will pay contributions towards your health insurance on your behalf. You should receive an insurance card, which you use when visiting the doctor.

    Insurance providers provide a list of local registered medical professionals. See the AZET web catalogue for a full list of healthcare providers (information in Slovakian only).

    If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Slovakia, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to. 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 see the Moving abroad section.

    Pensioners

    If you are living in Slovakia 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 in 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 Slovakia. Often you need to do this before you can register for healthcare or obtain a medical card.

    Once you have registered your S1 in Slovakia, 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.
     

    Tip

    The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides additional guidance about living in Slovakia.

     

    Early retirees

    Since July 1 2014 you are no longer able to apply for 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. For more information visit the Moving abroad section.

    Page last reviewed: 20/02/2015

    Next review due: 20/02/2017

    Camping safety

    Follow these simple safety tips to make sure your holiday under canvas goes smoothly, especially if it's your first time camping

    Travel health

    A simple guide to health precautions when travelling abroad, including vaccinations, taking condoms and a first aid kit, and being careful about drinking water.

    Media last reviewed: 09/07/2015

    Next review due: 09/07/2017