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Expat Exchange - 9 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats and Global Nomads in Croatia
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Hvar, Croatia


9 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats and Global Nomads in Croatia

By Betsy Burlingame

Allianz Care
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Summary: If you're a global nomad heading to Croatia or an expat living there, understanding the quality and cost of healthcare and medical services in Croatia is important. Additionally, information about COVID-19 testing requirements for entry into Croatia and local testing sites.

If you are contemplating living in Croatia, it is important to learn about healthcare, emergency services, COVID-19 regulations and expat health insurance options.

Cost of Healthcare in Croatia

"Medical care is below average in price, and cheap compared to the USA," explained one expat. "Foreign citizens receiving hospital treatment in Croatia are normally charged a fee higher than Croatian citizens. Doctors in private practices generally charge only one fee irrespective of the patients' citizenship," wrote the US Embassy. "EU medical card gives access to local medical services. An additional insurance policy provides a top up," said one expat.

Payment for Health Services

"Doctors and hospitals may expect immediate cash payment for health services," noted the US Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia. Although cash payment surprise many global nomads and expats, this is common practice in many countries. According to the US State Department, "Credit card payment is not always available. Some hospitals and medical professionals require cash payment. Private hospitals may require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient. Travelers should make efforts to obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care. Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals."

Health Insurance is Required for Short-Term Visas and Residency Visas

Proof of health insurance is required for both the Short-Term Stay Visa and Long-Term Residency.

As part of your visa application process, you will need to complete the Ministry of Foreign Affair's:

Health Insurance Declaration Form

In that form, you are attesting to the fact that you have international medical insurance or travel health insurance (for short stays) that:

  • Medical or travel medical insurance is valid for the Republic of Croatia
  • Medical or travel medical insurance is valid during the entire period that I will be in the Republic of Croatia
  • The cover is at least EUR 30.000
  • Cover includes repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical care and/or emergency treatment in a hospital
  • That you will carry proof of this medical or travel medical insurance with you, which can be presented to border control officers whenever you enter the Republic of Croatia.

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Quality of Healthcare Facilities in Croatia

"Health facilities in Croatia, although generally of Western caliber, are under severe strain. Some medicines are in short supply," described the US Embassy. "The big cities have quality hospitals, the smaller towns have at least a first aid," wrote one expat who retired in Dubrovnik.

The State Department elaborated, "Adequate health facilities are available in Zagreb and other major cities but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards. Public medical clinics may lack advanced resources and specialized medical supplies. Generally, in public hospitals only minimal staff is available overnight in non-emergency wards. Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions. There are shortages of medical staff (nurses, doctors) throughout the country that produce long waiting lists for exams, imaging, surgeries, etc. at public healthcare centers. Occasionally shortages of special medications may occur."

COVID-19 Related Entry Requirements

Croatia's Official COVID-19 Government website provides up-to-date information about the current spread of Coronavirus in Croatia, hospitalization numbers and regional breakdowns.

Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry? No

The validity of the Decision on Temporary Restriction of Crossing the Border Crossings of the Republic of Croatia, which was valid until 30 April 2022, has not been extended and entry into the Republic of Croatia is allowed subject to the conditions of entry valid before the COVID 19 epidemic.

Emergency Telephone Numbers in Croatia

If you are in Croatia and need to contact Croatian Emergency Services, please dial 112.

Ambulance services are:

  • not widely available, and training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards;
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.

English-Speaking Doctors in Croatia

"Medical care is well organised with English speaking doctors all around," noted one expat in Dubrovnik. If you are outside of Croatia's cities, finding English-speaking doctors will be more challenging. Additionally, in the case of an emergency, "medical staff may speak little or no English," cautioned the US State Department.

The US Embassy has prepared a list of hospitals with English-speaking staff and English-speaking doctors throughout Croatia. They do not endorse any of the doctors or medical facilities.

Bringing Prescription Drugs into Croatia

"The importation of medical drugs for the personal needs of passengers is possible in the quantities needed for treatment up to a month (provided that the medical drugs have been approved by the competent authorities (FDA) of the country of origin) with the possession of appropriate medical documentation (transcript of disease history, physician letter). Persons crossing the border of Croatia may possess a medical drug that contains narcotics only on the basis of medical documentation (copy of a prescription for the medicine, transcript of the disease history or a certified medical certificate issued by an authorized physician) and in the amount necessary for the person to use for up to 5 days. If it is a person who is on substitution therapy for addiction or symptomatic therapy in the terminal stage of malignant disease, the amount of medication may be up to 15 days of personal use," stated the US Embassy.

Vaccinations for Croatia

"Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you will be in Croatia for more than three months, especially if you anticipate hiking, camping, or other outdoor activities in forested areas, you may wish to get a tick-borne encephalitis vaccine (TBE). According to CDC, TBE vaccine is not available in the United States. If you are in Croatia it is available from local doctors. Use insect repellent and inspect your body for ticks after spending time outdoors," advised the US State Department.

Routine vaccines include:

  • Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine
  • Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
  • Polio vaccine
  • Yearly Flu Shot

Additional vaccine recommendations:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Rabies

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Allianz Care
Allianz Care

Allianz Care
Allianz Care

Hvar, Croatia

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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