Public health care

How the system works in Hungary

The Hungarian health care system has recently undergone extensive privatisation and its funding is now predominantly through the Health Insurance Fund (HIF) (Országos Egészségbiztosítási Pénztár – OEP) and taxes.

Hungary’s healthcare system is financed through the Health Insurance Fund (HIF), which is primarily responsible for recurrent health care costs. State budgetary assistance is provided for capital costs, and in picking up the slack of under funding. The result is a mix of tax and social insurance-based funds responsible for financing Hungary’s system.

Health insurance contributions are collected from employees, who pay 3% of their total income, and employers who pay 15% of the employee’s gross salary plus a lump sum tax or ‘healthcare contribution’. The population also pays local and national income tax, which helps to finance the investment costs of health care. Patients make co-payments on certain services, including pharmaceuticals, dental care and rehabilitation. These out-of-pocket payments have increased substantially since 1990, and currently contribute 18% to health care financing.

Fees

There are no fees to pay for services. It is fully covered by the health insurance company.

Who is covered?

Coverage is universal and provides access to all ambulatory and secondary hospital health care. All citizens are covered, regardless of their employment status, with the government paying contributions for certain groups such as the unemployed and pensioners.

Non-Hungarians who are not insured are only entitled to essential health services free of charge, in the case of an emergency or acute condition. This includes basic services, out-patient services and in-patient treatment.

Expatriates employed by Hungarian companies are entitled to free healthcare in the same way as Hungarian nationals, while those employed by foreign companies or joint ventures in Hungary will need to find out whether they are eligible.

What can you expect as an expat?

Although non-Hungarians who make a payment to the HIF (e.g. through deductions from their wages) can receive public hospital treatment at a very low charge (see above), expats usually prefer private hospitals. Contribution to the HIF can be proven by presenting your social security card (‘TB’-kártya) which is issued by the state..

Patients from member states of the European Union are entitled to ambulant treatment in Hungary. Costs are being reimbursed by their health insurance up to the quantity the same treatment would amount to in their home country. First aid and emergency treatment is free for everyone, including tourists.

Hungary and the UK have a reciprocal health agreement, under which British nationals can receive free healthcare in Hungary. However, Hungary doesn’t have similar contracts with all foreign national health institutions about covering the costs of further medical services for non-Hungarian citizens so you must check your entitlements well beforehand. This also means that it is highly recommended to arrange some kind of travel/health insurance before visiting Hungary.

Medical Services in English language:

SOS Emergency Medical Service:
Kerepesi utca 15. Budapest VIII.
Tel: 0036-1-118-8288 or 0036-1-118-8012

International Medical Services:
Vaci utca 202. Budapest XIII.
Tel: 0036-1-129-8423 or 0036-1-149-9349

Hotline 24 hours in English: +36 1 224-9090

Further reading

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