Many are looking forward to Croatia’s unique islands and stunning Roman architecture when traveling or moving to the country. However, accidents and illnesses can occur at any time and in any place. For this reason, it is important that you consider what your healthcare options are before arriving in the Eastern European country. Here are the key things you need to know about healthcare, safety, and health insurance in Croatia.
Croatia’s healthcare system
For expats moving to Croatia, private hospitals are usually the preferred choice of healthcare. This is because top private hospitals in the city often offer services that are more catered towards expats, such as English speaking staff, better medical equipment, high-quality treatment, and other luxuries like shorter-queues and more single rooms. These facilities, however, are confined to the capital city of Zagreb.
Access to medical facilities in Croatia is very good and you can be assured that you will have a medical facility near you in the case of an emergency if you are on the mainland. However, once you start to venture towards one of many of Croatia’s attractively exotic islands, the coverage basically stops there. If you are on a day trip or staying over a few nights on one of the islands and for whatever reason require medical assistance you will have to be taken, either by boat or air, to the mainland for treatment. For this reason, it is advised that you take precautions and stay aware of your health as treatment may be hours away. Alternatively, you may also want to make medical evacuation arrangements in case of an emergency.
Given that most hospitals are located in Zagreb, it is important that you familiarize yourself with these top-ranking hospitals before visiting. These hospitals are as follows:
- Clinical Hospital Dubrava - Established in 1991, the Clinical Hospital Dubrava is among the highest-ranked medical facilities in Croatia. It currently has over 750 hospital beds and performs up to 18,000 surgical/medical procedures as well as 1.4 million other medical treatments annually.
- Sisters of Charity Hospital (Zagreb) - Founded in 1846, the Sisters of Charity Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in the country. Today, the hospital consists of 13 clinics and 7 specialized institutes, with a total of 853 beds and 2,334 employees on campus. Functioning also as an educational facility the hospital is equipped with some of the most advanced medical equipment in the country.
- Axis Special Hospital - Founded by a group of surgeons in 2010, the Axis Special Hospital is one of the country’s newest hospitals. While their services are not as wide-ranged as the aforementioned hospitals, their specialty in minimally-invasive spinal and orthopedic joint surgery is internationally recognized and one of the best in the country.
Croatia safety tips
Whenever you travel overseas, it is often useful to understand the health issues, and local laws and customs of the country you are traveling to, as they may be largely different from your own. As such, we have provided some Croatia travel advice so that you may stay safe and better enjoy your travels.
As a relatively warm and dry country, the diseases present in Croatia may not be found in many colder countries. For this reason, if you are traveling or moving to Croatia for the first time, it is advised that you get the following vaccinations, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC):
- MMR vaccinations against measles: If you’ve had MMR vaccinations before, it is recommended that you get 1 additional dose before traveling, at least 28 days after the previous dose. If you haven’t had the vaccination before, 2 doses are recommended, with each dose being 28 days apart. If you are travelling with an infant (6 to 11 months old), 1 dose of the vaccine is recommended.
- Hepatitis A: You can get Hepatitis A through contaminated food and water in Croatia.
- Rabies: In Croatia, cases of rabies found in mammals are more common than in other Western countries. This makes getting rabies vaccination recommended for both travelers and those moving to Croatia.
- Routine vaccines: The components of routine vaccines may vary, depending on your age and health condition. They can include getting the latest flu vaccine and tetanus booster shots, as well as others.
Traveling in Croatia
These are the most important things to know when traveling in Croatia.
- The biggest threat in Croatia is the unexploded landmines from the war that remain largely in the heavily forested areas around Croatia. For anyone who plans to head to the mountains and forested areas, it is suggested that you hire a professional recognized guide. Areas most notorious for unexploded mines are the Danube region (Eastern Slavonia) and former Krajina.
- Road conditions in and around Zagreb and the larger towns are of a generally good standard. However, you should take care when overtaking and use caution around other road users who may unexpectedly overtake repeatedly in slower traffic.
- It is obligatory to carry a fluorescent vest in your car whilst driving in Croatia. You must keep the vest in the car and not in the boot. You must wear the vest whilst attending to a breakdown, e.g. changing a tire.
- All passport holders require a valid passport. Since February 2008 you require three months’ remaining validity on your passport to enter Croatia.
- The loss or theft of a passport should be reported immediately to the local police and your countries local Embassy. The Embassy can assist you in obtaining a replacement passport.
Health insurance for expats in Croatia
Croatia has a mandatory health insurance scheme that applies to every individual in Croatia, whether they are students, temporary residents, or citizens. If you plan to live in Croatia, you will be required to sign up for health insurance before applying for making any residence permit applications.
To meet the country’s insurance policy requirements, all residents must obtain insurance through the HZZO (the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance). Different conditions for its application will differ based on the country that you are from.
To navigate your way through the health insurance requirements in Croatia, you can talk to health insurance experts, such as Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers, to find out the most suitable insurance option for you.
For more information about Croatia health insurance, and locally compliant international health insurance plans that we can offer there, or to receive a free quote, please contact one of our expert advisers today.