Healthcare in Hungary

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you'd 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.

Visitors to Hungary

Finding help in an emergency

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, an internet and call centre-based service providing healthcare information for citizens (the service is provided in Hungarian only)

Healthcare up to 29 March 2019

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

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 Hungary 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 system.

EHIC does not cover certain costs, including:

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

Be careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but they are referring to private insurance and not the treatment given under the EHIC.

People with pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Hungary. 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 29 March 2019 but may not work after that date.

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

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

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 state hospital, as only these provide treatment free of charge. Even in a state 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

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

Pharmacies (known as Gyógyszertár or Patika), often marked with an illuminated green cross (or with the symbol of a snake coiled up around a cup), are easy to spot. Certain medicines (painkillers for example) 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 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 also visit the GOV.UK website for more information on travelling with controlled medicines.

After 29 March 2019

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare when visiting Hungary is likely to change. If you are planning to visit Hungary on or after 29 March 2019, 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 29 March 2019.

The UK government is seeking agreements with countries, including Hungary, on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after 29 March.

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

Working in Hungary

Healthcare up to 29 March 2019

If you reside in Hungary you must register with the OEP (Országos Egészség Pénztár) to obtain your national health insurance card (TAJ kártya) and a health insurance number (TAJ szám) and you will receive the same access to healthcare as Hungarian nationals. If you do not have a TAJ kártya you should obtain private healthcare.

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Hungary, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK. 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 0191 203 7010

Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (closed weekends and bank holidays).

For more information, read the Moving abroad section of this website.

After 29 March 2019

The Hungarian government has committed to protecting the current rights of UK nationals legally resident in Hungary on 29 March 2019, on a broadly reciprocal basis with the UK. That means Hungary will offer mostly the same arrangements to UK nationals as it does to its own citizens. The Hungarian government will publish further details as soon as these become available.

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

Pensioners in Hungary

Healthcare up to 29 March 2019

If you live in Hungary 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 Hungary. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until 29 March 2019.

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 29 March.

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 on 00 44 (0)191 218 1999

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your certificate via the International Pension Centre at 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 29 March 2019

People who have lived in Hungary for more than 5 years continuously may be able to apply for permanent residency. If you reside in Hungary you must register with the OEP (Országos Egészség Pénztár) to obtain your national health insurance card (TAJ kártya) and a health insurance number (TAJ szám) and you will receive the same access to healthcare as Hungarian nationals. If you do not have a TAJ kártya you should obtain private healthcare.

If you have lived in Hungary for less than 5 years, you are likely to need to apply for another long-term visa, if eligible.

The Hungarian government has committed to protecting the current rights of UK nationals legally resident in Hungary on 29 March 2019, on a broadly reciprocal basis with the UK. That means Hungary will offer mostly the same arrangements to UK nationals as it does to its own citizens. The Hungarian government will publish further details as soon as these become available.

This guide will also be updated with further information on living in Hungary as the circumstances change.

Students in Hungary

If you are a UK resident and studying in Hungary, and you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), this will be valid until 29 March 2019. It is recommended that you continue to buy healthcare insurance in addition to your EHIC.

After 29 March 2019, you should continue to buy travel insurance and ensure that any insurance product you buy has the necessary healthcare coverage to ensure you can get any treatment you might require. You may also need a student visa.

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