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Expat Exchange - Understanding the Health System in Hungary
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Understanding the Health System in Hungary

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: Learn about the health system in Hungary: how it can and cannot be used by expats, nomads, retirees and others moving to and living in Hungary.

Hungary has a public and private healthcare system, both of which are available to foreigners. Expats and digital nomads are allowed to use the public healthcare system in Hungary, although many opt for private healthcare due to the long wait times and lack of English-speaking staff in public hospitals. Public hospitals are generally recommended for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, although private hospitals are often preferred for more minor procedures.

Hungary's Public Healthcare System

Hungary's public healthcare system is called the National Health Insurance Fund (OEP). It is funded by taxes and contributions from employers and employees, and provides access to basic medical care for all citizens and legal residents. The cost of public healthcare is relatively low, and foreigners are allowed to use the public healthcare system in Hungary. Public hospitals in Hungary are generally well-equipped and offer a wide range of services, although the quality of care can vary.

Hungary's Private Healthcare System

Hungary's private healthcare system is used primarily by expats and digital nomads, as well as those who can afford to pay for more comprehensive medical care. Private hospitals in Hungary are generally well-equipped and offer a wide range of services, and are often preferred for more minor procedures. Private healthcare is more expensive than public healthcare, and expats typically use private health insurers or specialized expat health insurance providers.

Hungary's Top Hospitals

Some of the most well-known hospitals in Hungary include:

  • Semmelweis University Hospital in Budapest (public)
  • University of Debrecen Clinical Center in Debrecen (public)
  • St. John's Hospital in Budapest (private)
  • Budapest Eye Clinic in Budapest (private)
  • National Institute of Oncology in Budapest (public, specializes in cancer treatment)

Health Insurance Companies in Hungary

The most popular private health insurers in Hungary are Generali, Allianz, and Balogh Insurance. These companies offer a range of health insurance plans, including basic coverage and more comprehensive plans. Expats and digital nomads typically use private health insurers or specialized expat health insurance providers.

Insider Tips from Expats in Hungary: How to Navigate the Health System

"There may not be the same new offices but the quality of care is as good if not better than in the USA. Had several surgeries (hip replacement, cataract, breast, hernia) with excellent care, all included in the insurance, after care in a rehab center as I live alone with no help - all included. People are people - sometimes they have a bad day - so do I. You live in the real world," commented one expat living in Budapest, Hungary.

"In Hungary, medical services are generally of a high standard. The country has a well-developed healthcare system, with a wide range of medical facilities and services available. The country has a number of public and private hospitals, as well as a network of primary care clinics and specialist medical centers. The quality of care is generally good, with a focus on preventive medicine and patient-centered care. Hungary also has a number of highly-trained medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals," mentioned one expat living in Hungary.

"Ask what the capabilities are. Ask for costs up front. If possible don't ask for a "formal bill" as this will increase your out of pocket substantially," commented one expat living in Fonyod, Hungary.

"Healthcare services in Hungary are provided by both public and private institutions. The public healthcare system is funded by the government and is available to all citizens and foreign residents. The quality of public healthcare is generally good, with a wide range of services available, including primary care, specialist care, hospital care, and preventive care. Expats in Hungary can use the public healthcare system, but they must first register with the local government office and obtain a health insurance card. This card allows them to access the public healthcare system and receive the same level of care as Hungarian citizens. Expats can also opt to use private healthcare services, which are often more expensive but may offer more comprehensive coverage," mentioned one expat living in Hungary.

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.


SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global
SJB Global

Liberty Bridge in Budapest

William Russell
William Russell

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William RussellWilliam Russell

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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