Slovenia has a two-tier system of health insurance, based on both private and public cover. As an expat (depending on your circumstances), you should be able to take advantage of the national health insurance scheme, with which you must register if you are employed.
How does the Slovenian state health insurance system work?
State primary healthcare in Slovenia is provided by a combination of state and private providers. State providers include primary healthcare centres and health stations, which are institutions established and owned by local communities. In smaller communities, for example, healthcare service is organised into such stations, connected to the nearest community healthcare centre.
You can choose your own primary care provider. You will need to register with your local GP, who you can find online, via the phone book, or through word of mouth from the local expat community. You can select a doctor who practices medicine in various kinds of frameworks: community healthcare centres, healthcare stations, or a private physician with a concession. Appointments must be made in advance.
Similarly, you will need to find a dentist. Again, you can do this through online resources, your local community, or the phone book. State health insurance covers dental care for everyone up to the age of 19. Otherwise, the national scheme does not cover a wide range of dental care, and you will need to take out a private policy or pay out of pocket for any dental treatment you receive.
Make sure that any provider you choose is contracted to the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (HIIS), if you are paying national health contributions into the system and are therefore entitled to access it. You have the right to change providers after a year. You will be issued with a health insurance card and will need to take this to all of your appointments.
You will need a referral from your GP to proceed to specialist and hospital care. However, this is not required in the cases of chronic diseases or long-term treatment.
You will find a variety of provision, such as:
- Outpatient clinics for preschool and school children
- Gynaecologist outpatient clinics
- Emergency services
- Dental clinics
Community healthcare centres have community nursing services, which perform home visits when necessary. Some of them also include clinics for occupational and sports medicine, clinical laboratories, roentgen services, and some specialist clinics.
All adults aged 30+ who have compulsory health insurance are entitled to a preventive examination every five years, while patients with certain chronic diseases or increased risk of developing such diseases are entitled to examinations every year.
You will be able to access hospital treatment, but if you are not insured, you will need to pay out of pocket.
The country has a number of pharmacies, and you should not have too much difficulty in accessing your prescription medication or over-the-counter remedies.
You may be able to contact your country’s embassy for a list of English-speaking medical personnel. Many Slovenian medics do speak English, but it would be unwise to count on this.
If you are an EU citizen, you will be entitled to access public healthcare in Slovenia. If you receive a UK state retirement pension or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to Slovenian state-funded healthcare, paid for by the UK. You will need to apply for form S1 from the International Pension Centre. If you are living in Slovenia before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in Slovenia will stay the same for the length of your legal residency, so you will continue to get state healthcare in Slovenia from 1 January 2021 on the same basis as a Slovenian resident.
Private health insurance in Slovenia
Although you cannot opt out of the health insurance scheme once you are registered with it, many expats choose to take out private health insurance in addition to their public healthcare cover.
Private providers in Slovenia are often healthcare professionals working individually or in group practices, who offer combinations of services and specialties. You can select a private physician of your choice, but you must cover all costs out-of-pocket or through your private cover.
Remember to check with your insurance provider whether you require any pre-approval for surgery or major treatments. Check with the clinic regarding outcomes, and do not be afraid to ask for testimonials and references.