Health insurance

Health insurance in the Republic of Croatia is compulsory, meaning that every citizen of the Republic of Croatia must have a regulated compulsory health insurance.

The compulsory health insurance is provided by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) and is regulated by the Compulsory Health Insurance Act (Official Gazette, Nos. 80/13, 137/13 and 98/19).

The health insurance and health care of foreigners is regulated by a special act – the Act on Health Insurance and Health Care of Foreigners in the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette, Nos. 80/13 and 15/18).

Within the compulsory health insurance, the rights and obligations of compulsory health insurance are provided to all insured persons of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, based on the principles of reciprocity, solidarity and equality, in the manner and under the conditions laid down by the Regulation (EC) No. 883/04, Directive 2011/24/EU on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, the Compulsory Health Insurance Act, subordinate legislation and special act.

The following persons are obliged to apply for compulsory health insurance:

  • Persons who are residents of the Republic of Croatia
  • Foreigners with approved permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia
  • Nationals of other Member States of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, and nationals of other countries with a temporary residence permit in Croatia, and based on the employment relationship with an employer based in Croatia, or on the basis of economic or professional activity if the conditions under special regulations regulating the issue of residence and work of foreigners in Croatia are fulfilled
  • Nationals of other EU / EEA Member States / Switzerland with approved temporary residence in the Republic of Croatia if they are not compulsorily insured in one of the EU / EEA member State / Switzerland.
  • Nationals of other states than EU / EGP / Switzerland who are temporary residents of the Republic of Croatia.

Persons who, during their stay in Croatia, are compulsorily insured in another EU/EGP Member State or in one of the countries with which Croatia has concluded an agreement on social insurance regulating the use of health care (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Turkey), may use healthcare in the scope defined by European legal regulations, i.e. international agreements, but in the same way as insured persons of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund.

Health care services are performed on the primary, secondary and tertiary level and on the level of health care institutes.

The insured persons of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund realise their health care at the primary level on the basis of free choice of doctors and dental practitioners, as a rule, according to the place of residence. Foreign insured persons, who realise health care during their stay in Croatia at the expense of a foreign health insurance holder, do not choose their doctor but may address any contractual primary health care practitioner for the purpose of using primary health care services.

Health care at the secondary and tertiary level is achieved on the basis of referrals by the chosen contractual primary health care practitioners.

Primary health care is provided through the following activities:

  • General/family medicine
  • Health care for preschool children
  • Health care for women
  • Patronage medical care
  • Healthcare in patients’ home
  • Dental health care
  • Hygienic-epidemiological health care
  • Laboratory diagnostics
  • Pharmacology and
  • Emergency medical care.

Healthcare at the secondary level includes specialist, consular and hospital health care, and at the tertiary level the most complex forms of health care from specialist-consilium and hospital activities.

Information on doctors and health care institutions that have concluded contracts on the health care provision with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund and detailed contact information.

The insured persons are obliged to participate in the costs of the health care used, for services that are not fully insured at the expense of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund. In order to cover the costs of participation, a person with regulated compulsory health insurance at the Croatian Health Insurance Fund may enter into a supplementary health insurance contract with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund.

Operations of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund are organized through the HZZO Directorate, 4 regional offices and 16 local offices.

The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia is responsible for the supervision of the legality of the Fund’s operations.

Working hours of all HZZO regional and local offices are from 8:00 to 16:00, and some locations are, in certain days of the week, available to parties after 16:00 hours.

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