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Healthcare in Slovakia

On this page you'll find information on the healthcare access you're entitled to and how to get it, whether you're:

  • moving to, or already living in, Slovakia (including students)
  • visiting Slovakia (for example, on holiday)

Your options for accessing healthcare in Slovakia may change if there's a no-deal Brexit.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances if you're moving to, visiting or living in Slovakia.

Living in Slovakia after Brexit

If you are a UK national living in Slovakia, you should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Slovakia in place.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

  • registering to live in Slovakia – you can find more information on the Slovak Ministry of Interior's website
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of Slovakia – if you're a permanent resident, work or are self-employed in Slovakia, you must contribute to mandatory health insurance unless you're exempt and the state pays on your behalf
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you're applying for residency or if you're not eligible for local schemes – you must obtain private healthcare insurance if you do not contribute to the mandatory health insurance

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it's up to date.

Get help paying for medical treatment after Brexit

During the first 6 months after Brexit, if you need medical treatment and you're being asked to pay for it, the UK can help.

This may be through arrangements with the country you live in, or by paying your healthcare provider directly.

To organise a payment, you'll need to give your healthcare provider's details to the NHS Business Services Authority's Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Using NHS services

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you're living in Slovakia and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You can use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge, when visiting the UK after exit day if you're living in Slovakia on exit day and you:

  • have a UK-issued S1 form
  • have a UK-issued EHIC
  • would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access if exit day had not occurred

This will remain the case after exit day.

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you'll be able to access NHS care without charge.

Visiting Slovakia after Brexit

You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there's a no-deal Brexit and you're a UK national travelling to Slovakia.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

To organise a payment, you'll need to give your healthcare provider's details to the NHS Business Services Authority's Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Your EHIC may not be valid if there's a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Slovakia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk with your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

Arrangement with Slovakia if there's a no-deal Brexit

The Slovakian government has published legislation about the rights of UK nationals in Slovakia if there's a no-deal Brexit.

If agreed, Slovakia would treat UK nationals and their family members as EU citizens until the 31 December 2020, as long as reciprocal arrangements are put in place for Slovakian nationals in the UK.

This guide will be updated when there's more information about travelling to or living in Slovakia after Brexit.

Healthcare in Slovakia until the UK leaves the EU

Finding help in an emergency

Call 112 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance. This number is free of charge.

Visiting Slovakia

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Slovakia. The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

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.

Your EHIC (called "Európsky preukaz zdravotného poistenia" in Slovakian) enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Slovakia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free if you're staying there temporarily.

Make sure you're treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Slovakia if you have a pre-existing health condition. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

The Money and Pensions Advice Service has information about buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

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

Your EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there's a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Slovakia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you're travelling to have planned medical treatment, read our guide about going abroad for medical treatment.

Dentists

Dental treatment is not covered by the state healthcare system unless it's an emergency. Most emergency departments or health centres have a dentist attached that can deal with dental emergencies.

Hospitals

You'll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Only state hospitals provide treatment free of charge.

Even in a state hospital, you'll need a valid EHIC. Check that you're not treated as a private patient.

Prescriptions

With an EHIC, people of working age are charged 50% and pensioners are charged about 10%.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you will need to declare this to pay the lower rate.

Bringing your own medicines to Slovakia

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad.

Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

Visit GOV.UK for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Living in Slovakia

The Slovak healthcare system is based on mandatory health insurance contributions.

If you're a permanent resident, work or are self-employed in Slovakia, you must make mandatory health insurance contributions to 1 of 3 health insurance funds:

  • Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa
  • Dôvera zdravotná poisťovňa
  • Union zdravotná poisťovňa

There are some services you must contribute towards.

Co-payments for additional healthcare services are set in law for the following additional services:

  • pharmaceuticals, medical devices, dietary food: co-payments for 60% of items
  • prescription costs: €0.17 per prescription
  • spas and other rehabilitation services: from €1.66
  • 24/7 first aid medical service: €1.99
  • transport health service: €0.07 per km

If you reside in Slovakia, planned treatment is covered through statutory health insurance or through your private healthcare insurance.

You must first visit a general practitioner. If needed, they'll recommend you to a specialist at an outpatient department.

If you need to see a gyneacological and psychiatric specialist, you do not need a referral from a general practitioner.

You must present your health insurance card provided by your insurer when visiting a doctor.

State health insurance policy fully covers:

  • preventative medical check-ups
  • urgent health care (in case of a sudden change of health conditions which directly endangers life or any of the vital functions)
  • medical performance leading to the detection of a disease and determining the diagnosis, curing of the disease, mitigation of its effects, saving of life etc.
  • compulsory vaccination
  • urgent transport of the person to a medical facility and between medical facilities

S1 certificate

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

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You'll need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Slovakia. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

The S1 certificate may not be valid if there's a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Slovakia and may mean you have to pay in full for treatment.

It's possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. It's important to have all the right documentation and that it's up to date.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you're a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the NHS Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit. You can find more information under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) provides information about what UK and Slovak benefits are available to Britons living in Slovakia.

UK posted worker

If you're 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.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

Students in Slovakia

If you're a UK resident studying in Slovakia, your student EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there's a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Slovakia and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you're already studying in Slovakia before the UK leaves the EU, your EHIC will continue to be valid for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad and planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Page last reviewed: 23 September 2019
Next review due: 23 September 2022