Healthcare in Croatia

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.

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency, or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Calls are free of charge from any phone, including mobile phones. Ambulance services are free in Croatia.

When you call emergency services in Croatia, you will have to provide the following information:

  • your name
  • the nature of the incident
  • what time the incident occurred
  • where the incident occurred
  • if there are any injured or ill people, and how severe the injuries are
  • what kind of help you're looking for (fire, ambulance, etc)

Other important phone numbers to note down:

  • 192 – police
  • 193 – fire brigade
  • 194 – ambulance services
  • 195 – sea rescue
  • 1987 – roadside help (00 385 1 987 from foreign mobile phones)

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

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 (European Health Insurance Card). You should always buy enough travel insurance and make sure you have access to funding to cover any medical treatment abroad. 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.

Currently, your EHIC enables you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in Croatia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you are staying there temporarily. If you are asked to pay for health services upfront, it is likely that you are not being treated under the state health system.

EHIC does not cover certain costs, including:

  • private treatment
  • being brought back to the UK
  • mountain rescue services
  • cruises

You will need to make sure you are treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF).

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.

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

Provisional replacement certificate (PRC)

A PRC is a certificate demonstrating a person's entitlement to EHIC. If you need healthcare but do not have your EHIC with you, you can call Overseas Healthcare Services and ask them to send a PRC to show to the hospital. This will avoid you being directly charged.

Contact Overseas Healthcare Services:

UK: 0191 218 1999
Outside UK: +44 191 218 1999
(Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, UK time)

People with pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Croatia. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, to make sure you can get the cover you need. If you have an EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU but may not work after that.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Make sure you take with you any documents about your health condition or medication.

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

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 (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed to apply for reimbursements with your private insurance company.

Hospitals

Just like in the UK, doctor's referrals are required for non-emergency hospital treatment. Make sure you are treated by a hospital contracted to the CHIF. 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 extra 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

You can visit the GOV.UK website for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

After the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare when visiting Croatia is likely to change. If you are planning to visit Croatia after the UK leaves the EU, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country. If you are using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

This guide will be updated with further information on travelling to Croatia as the circumstances change.

Working in Croatia

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

Everyone who is eligible for health insurance in Croatia is registered with the CHIF. If you have lived in Croatia for 3 months or longer, you will need to contribute to the Croatian healthcare system and, therefore, you will be entitled to the same healthcare as Croatian nationals.

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. 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 3500
Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, see Planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

After the UK leaves the EU

If you have lived in Croatia for 3 months or longer, you will need to register with the NHIF and pay health insurance, giving you the same access to healthcare as Croatian residents.

The NHIF 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, with the amount not exceeding HRK 2,000 per claim. Some groups are exempt from this co-payment but, if not, individuals can also take out supplementary health insurance to cover these costs.

If you are a UK posted worker, you may need to buy additional healthcare insurance in Croatia (the NHIF or additional private insurance) so you can continue to receive the healthcare you need.

Pensioners in Croatia

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

If you live in Croatia and 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 certificate.

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.

S1 certificate (formerly known as E106)

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.

After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.

You should continue to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU.

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

  • have worked and paid contributions in the UK
  • receive some UK benefits such as pensions

Apply through the Business Services Authority for an S1 certificate.

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

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.

After the UK leaves the EU

People who have continuously lived in Croatia for more than 5 years may be able to apply for a permanent residency.

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, giving the same access to healthcare as Croatian nationals living there.

Students in Croatia

If you are a UK resident and studying in Croatia, and you have an EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU. It is recommended that you continue to buy healthcare insurance in addition to your EHIC.

After the UK leaves the EU, students who will be studying for longer than 90 days, must apply for temporary (1 year) residence permits, which cost 500HRK. 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.

Page last reviewed: 28/01/2019
Next review due: 28/01/2022