Slovakia Health Insurance
The complete guide!

How does the state health insurance system work?

The Ministry of Health is in charge of healthcare, which has been steadily improving since the turn of the century, when the State Health Policy Concept established equity in healthcare as a basic right.

Over 98% of the Slovakian population is covered by the national scheme, with 65% signed up to the state health insurance system (Všeobecná Zdravotná Poistovna or VšZP). The rest are with either Dôvera or Union zdravotná poistovna, who are private health insurers working on behalf of the government.

Private health insurance is unusual among the Slovak population, but a health tourism industry is developing around the country’s many spas. Slovakia has a flourishing e-health scheme, with medical records going digital.

Currently, you will be eligible for state healthcare as an expat if you make contributions into the national insurance system.

You do not have to sign up with a GP, but if you do not, you will only be entitled to emergency care, so register with your local surgery once you are settled. If you have an EHIC card you can use this, but it is intended for emergencies rather than being a substitute for full health coverage.

Most doctors do not speak much English. You can find English-speaking doctors through travel companies, but these are often private and will charge fees. Make sure you know which type of practice you are attending.

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Who is eligible for state healthcare?

Everyone who pays into the national health insurance system is entitled to insurance coverage, including expats.

How do you apply to join the state health insurance system?

If you are an expat, you will need to register with the state health insurance system within eight days of your arrival, and if you are not from a EU member state, you will need to bring with you a permit of stay issued by the Foreigners’ Police.

If you are registering yourself, you will need to fill out an application form and a confirmation of employment from your workplace. Otherwise, your employer can do the registration for you.

You will be given a state health insurance card within five days of registration, which you must bring with you to any medical appointments. If you leave your workplace, you are obliged to let the state insurer know within an eight-day period, and your cover will then be cancelled.

What is covered by the state health insurance system?

Most basic healthcare, such as visits to your doctor and hospital treatment, are covered under the state plan. Your surgery should have a list of fees that the doctor is allowed to charge.

You are allowed one free check-up every two years and if you are a blood donor, you will need to have a compulsory one every year.

In general, you will need a referral from your GP for most specialists, but there are some (psychiatrists, gynaecologists, opthamologists) for whom this is unnecessary.

If you are taken to the emergency room, this will cost around €1.99, but if you are subsequently hospitalized, you won’t need to pay.

You will need to pay for prescriptions, at a reduced rate if you are a pensioner, but it is quite cheap — about €0.17 for each prescription.

Are retirees covered by state medical insurance?

If you move to Slovakia without employment, you must provide proof of health coverage.

Are students covered by state medical insurance?

If you are from an EU member state, you must obtain an EHIC card.

In order to be eligible for state health insurance under Dôvera you will need to register within eight days of arrival. You will need:

  • confirmation about receiving a scholarship/course of study
  • a copy of your permission to stay in Slovakia

Will your family be covered by your insurance?

Yes. Employer contributions will not cover your dependents, but the state itself will cover anyone who is not employed.

Is dental treatment covered by state health insurance?

You are allowed a free dental check up every year (two if you are pregnant). If you do not go, you will have to pay the full price the following year.

Dental treatment itself is not covered.

What are the contribution rates for state health insurance?

If you are employed, then this will be split between your employer and yourself, with your employer paying 10% into the system and you paying 4%. If you are self-employed, you will have to pay the full 14% yourself, but it is based on your overall income. If you are unemployed, the government will pay your share. Medical treatments are assigned ‘points’ which are then converted into monetary value.

Why buy private health insurance?

You may wish to take out private coverage for extra peace of mind. Slovakian healthcare, though of an acceptable European standard, is still not quite up to speed with treatment in some of its neighbouring countries and you may prefer to seek treatment in clinics in Austria or Germany. Vienna is only an hour from the Slovak border, for instance.

Slovakian hospitals are overstretched: they are crowded and underfunded, so the private sector may be a preferable option. However, some expats report that private hospitals and clinics run on similar lines to institutions in the state sector and will not cover complex treatment or surgery. Paying out of pocket can be expensive: around €50 for a basic doctor’s appointment.

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What is covered by private health insurance?

A full range of primary healthcare and hospital treatment is covered, plus all treatment not falling under state coverage, including:

  • dental treatments
  • plastic surgery
  • sterilization
  • medical treatments for administrative purposes

As with most private cover, taking out insurance with a provider should reduce waiting times.

How much does private health insurance cost?

This will depend on factors such as your age and any pre-existing conditions, and the kind of package you opt for.

For those seeking international private medical insurance (iPMI) cover for multiple countries including Slovakia, numerous variables can have an impact on the cost.

The most important variables are:

  • age (the higher the more expensive)
  • area of cover (i.e. in addition to Slovakia, which other areas is coverage required in? If those other areas include any of the US, the Caribbean, Singapore, China, Hong Kong or Dubai this can significantly increase the overall price)
  • product choice (higher end insurance products are more expensive)

Other variables include:

  • deductibles
  • co-insurance
  • payment frequency
  • gender
  • nationality
  • country of residence

As so many variables have an effect on the cost of international private medical insurance in Slovakia it becomes very difficult to give accurate estimates without knowing the full details of the coverage required. However, as a very rough guide, using a standard profile of a 40 year old British male with no deductibles, no co-insurance, a middle tier plan/product, all modules included and worldwide coverage excluding the US, a ballpark price of around £4,000/$5,000 might be expected. Were coverage to be expanded to include the US then the premium could increase to almost double that amount.

Which companies offer private health insurance?

The big international companies operate in the region, including:

  • Allianz
  • Bupa Global
  • Cigna Global
  • Foyer Global Health
  • Pacific Prime

Glossary of health insurance terms

Dôvera or Union zdravotná poistovna - Private health insurers working on behalf of the government

Mám kartu EHIC - I have an EHIC card

Mám súkromné zdravotné poistenie - I have private health insurance

Všeobecná Zdravotná Poistovna or VšZP - State health insurance system

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