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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 patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Visitors to Slovakia

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a serious, life-threatening emergency, you should call 112. This number is free of charge and is also for the police and fire brigade.

Be aware that if you ask a hotel or travel representative to call a doctor, you may be treated privately. If you wish to be treated under the state system you must call 112 and ask for an ambulance to take you to the nearest state hospital.

You will be treated in an emergency regardless of insurance cover. Unless covered by statutory health insurance (either through personal or state contributions), you must pay for emergency care yourself, or take out private healthcare insurance.

Even if you are covered by statutory health insurance you must pay if you attend an emergency health centre and are not admitted into hospital.

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 (Európsky preukaz zdravotného poistenia) enables you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in Slovakia 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

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.

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 Slovakia. 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

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

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 you will need a valid EHIC. Double-check you are not treated as a private patient.

In the state healthcare system, 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.

Prescriptions

When using your EHIC, people of working age are charged 50% and pensioners are charged about 10%. Pensioners will have to declare they receive a UK State Pension in order 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 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 Slovakia is likely to change.

If you are planning to visit Slovakia 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.

The UK government is seeking agreements with countries, including Slovakia, on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

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

Working in Slovakia

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

The Slovak healthcare system is based on mandatory health insurance contributions. If you are a permanent resident, work or are self-employed in Slovakia you must make mandatory health insurance contributions to one of three health insurance funds: Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa, Dôvera zdravotná poisťovňa and Union zdravotná poisťovňa.

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 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

As above if you are a permanent resident, work or are self-employed in Slovakia you must contribute to mandatory health insurance unless you are exempt and the state pays on your behalf.

You must obtain private healthcare insurance if you do not contribute to the mandatory health insurance.

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, who will then, if needed, recommend you to a specialist at an outpatient department. If you need to see a gynaecological and psychiatric specialist, you don't need a referral from a general practitioner.

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

State health insurance policy fully covers:

  • preventive 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

If you are a UK posted worker, you may need to buy additional healthcare insurance in Slovakia so you can receive the healthcare treatment you need.

Pensioners in Slovakia

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

If you live in Slovakia 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 dependents access healthcare in Slovakia. 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.

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

After the UK leaves the EU

If you're staying in Slovakia for more than 3 months, you have to register with your local foreign police department.

If you wish to live in Slovakia for longer than 30 days you need to apply for one of:

  • 5-year permanent residence permit (trvalý pobyt na päť rokov)
  • a temporary residence permit (prechodný pobyt); or
  • long-term visa (dlhodobé vízum)

There are different routes to permanent residence for third country nationals in Slovakia. Third country nationals married to Slovak citizens can apply immediately for permanent residence for an initial period of 5 years, which can be extended for an unlimited time period after 4 years (trvalý pobyt na neobmedzený čas).

Long term residence (dlhodobý pobyt) is available to a person who:

  • has lived in Slovakia continuously for 5 years (maximum 6 consecutive months outside Slovakia); or
  • is a Blue Card holder for at least 5 years and has resided in Slovakia as a Blue Card holder for at least 2 years directly prior to the submission of an application

The cost of application for permanent residence is €165. The cost for temporary residence permits depends on the reason for application and ranges from €165 to €250. A decision on permanent residence can take up to 90 days.

If you have applied for a temporary residence permit or a five-year permanent residence permit you must obtain health insurance within 3 working days of receiving the residency permit.

You must submit the health insurance policy within 30 days of collecting the residence permit. This does not apply to you if your temporary residence is for the purpose employment, studying, performing professional duties by civilian units of the armed forces or if you have the status of a Slovak living abroad.

You can apply for various temporary residence permits if you meet certain conditions.

More detailed information on required documentation, the application process and costs of applications is available in English on the website of the Migration Information Center of the International Organization for Migration.

Students in Slovakia

If you are a UK resident and studying in Slovakia, and you have a EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You should continue to buy insurance to cover your healthcare, as you would if you were visiting a non-EU country after the UK leaves the EU.

Page last reviewed: 28 January 2019
Next review due: 28 January 2022