In Slovakia, healthcare is provided on the basis of public (obligatory) health insurance. In principle, everyone has the right for health care provision free of charge. In some certain cases (dentistry, drugs) the participation or full payment of patient on expenses on health care has been assigned by law.
There are three health insurance companies in the Slovak Republic. All of them are joint stock companies governing public resources and function in the whole territory of the Slovak Republic. Everyone has the right to choose his or her health insurance company.
The Slovak healthcare system includes both public and private healthcare services. Each healthcare segment is operated by public and private healthcare providers. Public and private health care providers generally have contracts with the health insurance companies.
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in Slovakia. 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. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, agree with the treatment provider beforehand on the arrangement of treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
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. 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.
In need of care, you should choose a healthcare provider from public and private treatment providers that have an agreement with one of the following health insurance companies (most of them do):
You can freely choose any place of treatment, which has an agreement with one of these companies. The companies will only reimburse treatment provided by facilities that have an agreement with them. Contact information for contracting healthcare service providers is available from the health insurance companies. You will usually receive treatment straight away by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (no advance registration with the health insurance company is required).
If the healthcare provider has been contracted by one of the health insurance companies, the logo and name of that health insurance company is usually displayed in the waiting room or on the entrance door to the doctor’s room. In case you are not sure about the contracting status of the healthcare provider in question, it is recommended to ask for this kind of information before your treatment.
Slovakia also has completely private healthcare providers who do not have a contract with a health insurance company. If you seek treatment from such a provider, you will be liable for all costs yourself.
Notice to travellers in the mountain regions of Slovakia
Rescue, first aid and medical transport expenses in the mountain regions of Slovakia are not covered by public healthcare; you need to pay for them yourself. The costs may amount to thousands of euros, which is why acquiring separate insurance is recommended.
Make an appointment with a general practitioner who has an agreement with a Slovakian health insurance company. At the reception, show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. You need to indicate which health insurance company you choose and how long you will be staying in Slovakia. In this case, you will receive treatment free of charge. Seeing a specialist requires a referral from a general practitioner, and the treatment is free in this case.
You can see a dentist without a referral. Immediate dental care is available free of charge from the contract dentists (information concerning these dentists is available through the health insurance companies). The payment procedure is similar to that of a general practitioner. Free treatment includes standard materials. The dentist is responsible for notifying the patient in advance if more expensive materials are used. The patient is liable for the difference between the more expensive materials and standard materials. The prices vary between dentists.
You can collect prescribed medicines from any pharmacy. Show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. The level of reimbursement depends on the medicine.
A doctor’s referral is always required for hospital treatment. At the hospital, show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. If you do not have the card, you can order to the hospital a temporary certificate that replaces it via the Slovakian health insurance companies listed above, for example. If the patient’s state of health prevents him/her from choosing a company, the hospital will make the choice on his/her behalf. Once the required documents have been presented at the hospital, the treatment and medicines will be free of charge.
In an emergency, you can go straight to the first aid unit of a contract hospital. Show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. A small first aid fee will be charged, but not in case the patient is admitted into the hospital. Please note, that some demanding treatments may be very expensive and are not necessarily reimbursed in Slovakia. You can apply for reimbursement for these costs from Kela retrospectively.
Ambulance transport is free in case of emergency.
If your illness requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. You are recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Slovakia for the purpose of using healthcare services you can find general information on seeking treatment abroad on our site. Some useful websites concerning seeking treatment in Slovakia are listed below. You should direct your questions about healthcare in Slovakia to the Slovakian National Contact Point.
A list of the country’s hospitals (in Slovak) as well as a search engine that you can use to look for a doctor, ambulance, optician or other healthcare service provider can be found on the zzz.sk-portal.
Quality and safety of treatment
The Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, the Health Care Surveillance Authority and medical associations supervise the quality of operations within the healthcare sector. More information concerning quality control and complaint procedures is available on the website of the Contact Point of Slovakia.
You can use the search engine on the Contact Point of Slovakia’s website to determine whether your service provider of choice is authorised to operate in the healthcare sector.
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.