The Hungarian healthcare system is mainly financed through the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (NEAK) and taxes. NEAK’s coverage is universal and it allows access to ambulatory as well as secondary healthcare. Healthcare is generally free. Patients make co-payments on certain services, such as pharmaceuticals, dental care and rehabilitation. Non-Hungarians who are not insured are entitled to essential health services free of charge, in the case of an emergency or acute condition.
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in Hungary. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself.
Information regarding healthcare in Hungary is available on the website of the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (NEAK).
The European Health Insurance Card should entitle you to free treatment. It is a good idea to keep paper copies of the EHIC or temporary certificate with you, as this allows you to hand them over to the place of treatment. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
Hungary also has private healthcare services. If you seek treatment from the private sector, you will be liable for all costs.
Contact a doctor who has an agreement with Hungary’s national sickness fund. This type of doctor can usually be recognised by the following description in Hungarian: “a társadalombiztosítás egészségügyi szolgáltatásaira szerződött szolgáltató” (service provider under contract).
In Hungary, the first place of treatment is a general practitioner (háziorvos). You can see a specialist after receiving a referral from a general practitioner. Specialist treatment is usually available at out-patient care unit (szakrendelő). However, no referrals are required for dermatologists, gynaecologists, urologists, otologists, laryngologists, ophthalmologists, oncologists and surgeons.
Specialists operating in Hungary will accept referrals from doctors in Finland or elsewhere in the EU as long as they are written in English. The patient may be required to request a new referral from a doctor in Hungary only in cases where the referral does not contain the necessary information or it contains unclear items.
Doctors who operate in Hungary are only obliged to provide treatment in Hungarian. Generally, however, doctors do speak English.
You can see a dentist without a referral. Go straight to the practice of a doctor who has a contract with the sickness fund. Dental care is free in the case of emergencies, referrals from specialists, treatments that preserve the tooth, gum diseases or surgeries. The patient is usually liable for the costs of materials. Note that most dentists who advertise their services do not have contracts with the national sickness fund. Usually, contract dentists only offer the above services. Dental care is free for patients under the age of 18 or over the age of 60 as well as pregnant women and women who recently gave birth.
Show your European Health Insurance Card and identity card when collecting your prescribed medicines at a pharmacy (gyógyszertár). This will entitle you to a reimbursement, the level of which depends on the illness and the type of medicine. The reimbursement is deducted from the price of the medicine at the pharmacy, which means that you will only pay for the deductible. However, you may be required to pay full price for certain less necessary medicines.
Public hospital treatment (outpatient or inpatient care) usually requires a doctor’s referral. In case of urgent attacks of illness, you can go straight to a public hospital. Present your European Health Insurance Card and identity card at the reception. Hospital treatment is free except for the following cases:
- You do not have a doctor’s referral for hospital care.
- You seek treatment at a different place than the one appointed by your doctor.
- You see a doctor who is not on duty at the moment.
If you require services above the standard level at a hospital (such as a larger room or special meals) you will be liable for all costs.
You will be liable for all costs of treatment at a private hospital.
Hospitals and clinics in Hungary usually require payment before the treatment is started. Most often, the payment is requested in advance by wire transfer or in cash on arrival.
Ambulance transport is free in urgent cases when you present your European Health Insurance Card and identity card.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Hungary for the purpose of using healthcare services, you can find general information on our site concerning seeking treatment abroad. Some useful sources of information are also listed below. You should direct your questions about healthcare in Hungary to the Hungarian National Contact Point. When looking for a doctor or hospital that provides a specific type of treatment, you can request assistance from the Hungarian National Contact Point or the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary.
A list of the healthcare service providers operating in Hungary (in Hungarian) is available on the website of the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary.
You can use the What Clinic online service to look for a dentist, Szerződött szolgáltatók (NEAK). Notice that this website is not comprehensive with all healthcare providers and it also includes private practioners. The Allianz Worldwide service can be used to find a hospital, doctor or other healthcare service provider in Hungary. You can also enquire about the costs of care by email from address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quality and safety of treatment
In the event of treatment injuries, the legislation and patient insurance of the country providing the treatment is always applied. In case you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you should primarily try to sort the matter out with the treatment provider. The national contact point can help you with finding the right authority if you wish to make a complaint.
Healthcare service providers in Hungary are legally obliged to perform internal quality control. More information on the quality and safety standards for treatment is available on the website of the National Contact Point of Hungary.