Romania has a universal healthcare system, which operates on a two-tier model, with both public medical insurance and optional private healthcare. Everyone who makes contributions into the social security system, including expats, are eligible for state care. You must be registered with a doctor in order to qualify.However, the Romanian public health system is experiencing a number of challenges and is ranked as the weakest in Europe, according to the European Health Consumer Index. Thus, most expats who are resident in the country opt for private cover.
How does the Romanian state health insurance system work?
If you are planning to move to Romania, you will need proof of cover before you are granted residency, so you will need to take out some form of private health insurance before you arrive in the country.
Once you are resident, if you are paying contributions into the system (which will be deducted from your salary), you will be entitled to state health insurance under the national health – Casa Naţională de Asigurări de Sănătate (CNAS) or National Health Insurance House (NHIS). You may also be entitled to free healthcare if you are a widow or a war veteran, or if you are disabled and on a low income.
Your employer will register you with the NHIS once you have been given your tax ID number, but double check to make sure that your deductions are actually being made – some expats have reported difficulties in this regard. Your workplace may also have a contract with a local health clinic. Contact the NHIS if you are self-employed, as it may be possible for you to make voluntary contributions.
The following contributions will be taken out of your salary: 5.2% by the employer and 5.5% by you. The overall social security rate is likely to be higher.
Otherwise, you will need to register with your local GP. To find one, you can search online, look in the phone book, or seek word of mouth recommendations from the local expat community. Note that the number of English-speaking medical personnel may be limited, particularly in the public sector.
Similarly, you will need to find a dentist – basic dental services are covered by the NHIS, but more sophisticated dental treatment generally is not covered, so for this you will need to register with a private dental practice.
You should also be able to use your European health insurance card (EHIC) in Romania, if you are a member of an EU state. However, this is for emergency care only and should not be used as a replacement for comprehensive health insurance.
How much does private health insurance in Romania cost?
The cost of your actual policy will depend on your own state of health and your insurance provider.
Medical treatment in the private sector is relatively cheap. It may cost you as little as 50 RON (about €10) for a consultation with a specialist, but it is usually more expensive. A private health plan will usually cover your expenses, plus visits to your GP and hospital treatment, but check what your insurance actually covers – you may still find that you have to pay.
Private hospitals have come under fire in Romania for focusing on cheap services that are charged at a premium for private patients, and they are seen primarily as money-making enterprises. Despite this, the country has a growing medical tourism industry.