- 1. It’s free if you need it.
- 2. If you’re an EU citizen there are special arrangements
- 3. Getting medical help is pretty straightforward when you know what to do
- 4. Private healthcare in Budapest offers numerous benefits
- 5. Get insurance to mitigate your healthcare costs
As with every foreign land, being an expat navigating the healthcare system can be daunting, especially if you don’t speak the native language. So, here are five things expats should know about healthcare in Hungary.
1. It’s free if you need it.
Free and adequate healthcare is a reality in Hungary - but largely to Hungarian citizens, foreigners employed by a local company, and students. It's worth noting that this applies primarily to treatments offered at state-owned public healthcare institutions. You may be charged for specific medications, medical equipment, and additional services.
Emergency care and first aid are inherently free for foreigners, but only under special circumstances or if your home country has an established agreement with Hungary. Otherwise, treatment costs are billed to patients who don't have international health or travel insurance.
2. If you’re an EU citizen there are special arrangements
If you're an EU citizen armed with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you are eligible for free treatment at public health institutions. Keep in mind that the EHIC only covers emergency care, acute illnesses, injuries, and chronic conditions that can't wait until you're back home. It's not a standalone solution and should be supplemented with separate travel insurance.
3. Getting medical help is pretty straightforward when you know what to do
There are numerous public hospitals in Budapest, including - all with ER departments. And you can use this site to find the doctors surgery/clinic closest to you.
Here is a list of major public hospitals in Budapest, Hungary:
- Magyar Honvédség Központi Kórháza
- Árpád Kórház
- Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Kórház
- Szent Imre Egyetemi Oktatókórház
- Szent László Kórház
- Szent Margit Kórház
- Szent István és Szent László Kórház
- Szent János Kórház
In case of a medical emergency, go to the nearest public hospital or medical clinic (in Hungarian: ügyeletes kórház or rendelőintézet respectively), or dial 112 for an ambulance. The hospital then provides treatment and bills you subsequently. Therefore, never forget to carry your passport and your insurance card.
Private clinics and hospitals are an alternative to public providers, particularly in Budapest, capable of handling urgent issues and acute illnesses. However, these services need to be paid for out-of-pocket or via private insurance.
Some of the major private ones include:
The FirstMed private clinic in Budapest offers a range of medical services, including family medicine, pediatrics, a modern Endoscopy Center and over 20 specialty practices. It is known for highly qualified, English-speaking staff and excellent patient care, and has established direct billing relationships with over 110 private insurance providers to offer convenient medical cost management.
This is a private, multidisciplinary medical center in Budapest that specializes in cardiology, neurology, orthopedics, and other areas of medicine. It is known for its state-of-the-art facilities and highly trained medical staff
This is a private hospital in Budapest that offers a wide range of medical services, including cardiology, neurology, plastic surgery, and gastroenterology. It is known for its modern facilities and high-quality care.
This is a private clinic in Budapest that offers a range of medical services, including cardiology, dermatology, and gynecology. It is known for its luxurious facilities and personalized care.
This is a private clinic in Budapest that offers a range of medical services, including cardiology, dermatology, and gynecology. It is known for its personalized care and state-of-the-art facilities.
This is a private hospital in Budapest that offers a range of medical services, including cardiology, neurology, and orthopedics. It is known for its state-of-the-art facilities and high-quality care.
This is a private clinic in Budapest that offers a range of medical services, including cardiology, dermatology, and gynecology. It is known for its modern facilities and personalized care.
This is a private clinic in Budapest that offers a range of medical services, including family medicine, pediatrics, and dermatology. It is known for its English-speaking staff and high-quality care.
4. Private healthcare in Budapest offers numerous benefits
A sizeable chunk of locals and expats in Hungary prefer the private sector for healthcare. The private sector comes with its own set of perks including shorter waiting times, a wide array of specialist doctors, and state-of-the-art facilities. And most will have English speaking staff and doctors.
In comparison to the public sector, where a typical wait time is approximately 30 days, the private sector reduces that to roughly 8 days. In terms of treatments, private clinics see patients quicker than public health centers.
Remember, choosing private healthcare usually means additional costs unless you have suitable insurance coverage. It is, therefore, in your best interest to secure private travel insurance prior to landing in Hungary.
5. Get insurance to mitigate your healthcare costs
Private healthcare may seem pricey initially, but there are ways to navigate this problem. For instance, the use of private medical insurance can, at times, completely cover these expenses, especially if your plan is internationally recognized. Private providers, such as FirstMed, can coordinate with insurance providers and may offer direct billing or seamless claim processing.
For longer-term stays, consider investing in comprehensive healthcare plans that offer access to quality treatments at an affordable rate. These plans can also include targeted packages for expecting mothers and newborn baby care.
To summarize, while getting your bearings with the Hungarian healthcare system may initially feel overwhelming, it's highly achievable with a little preparation. Larger private clinics, such as FirstMed provide comprehensive healthcare service with English-speaking staff in Budapest city centre ready to assist you every step of the way, ensuring all your healthcare needs are met.