Hungary Medical Insurance Overview
The healthcare system in Hungary is mainly provided to residents of the country by the government. However the healthcare industry has decentralized substantially since the fall of the Soviet Union (of which Hungary was a part), and private healthcare in the country is increasingly being chosen as the way that many Hungarians receive their medical services.
In the modern world the Hungarian healthcare system is heavily influenced by ideas from both Germany and France with social insurance playing a large role in the way that patients pay for their treatments. The Health Insurance Fund (or HIF) is in place to guarantee Hungarian nationals free access to all medically necessary treatments, and as a consequence there is a high usage of these facilities throughout the country. The HIF collects its revenue directly through the national tax system and spends approximately US$ 600 per capita annually, and is one of the key reasons that the Hungarian public sector deficit is running at approximately 4% in 2008 (down from 6% in 2007).
While the Hungarian healthcare system is able to provide a relatively high standard of care to its patients there have been some major criticisms of the services. One of the major concerns is the fact that Hungarians have the lowest average life expectancy in Europe. One of the major factors contributing to this is that there are large gaps in healthcare coverage throughout the country. Despite the so-called 'free provision' patients are required to pay out-of-pocket for dental treatments, pharmaceuticals, and provide 'gratitude' payments to any physician that they visit. In addition to this, specific ethnic groups throughout the country (namely individuals of Romanian origin) are provided services inferior to ethnic Magyars, leading to their having an average life expectancy 10 years lower than the rest of the nation.
Essentially Hungary is still recovering from its time as a member of the Soviet Union and during that period the healthcare system became a slow, bureaucratic beast. This is a legacy that continues to this day, and patients will often have to wait for long periods and fill out copious amounts of paperwork before they are provided the treatment that they need. This is a contributing factor to many Hungarians becoming disillusioned with the service and simply choosing not to seek medical treatment at all.
It is not all doom and gloom in Hungary however; the country is able to provide some extremely high quality services, mainly at the nation's top private hospitals. These medical facilities however, are much more expensive than the average Hungarian citizen can afford, and as such their use is mainly the province of wealthier citizens and foreign nationals. Comparatively the top private hospitals in the country will charge treatment costs similar to those in the USA and other top tier European nations, making out-of-pocket payment seem a risky proposition indeed without a Hungary expat health insurance plan. The other option is to use the public health system, and despite the governments attempt to reform this service, the long waiting times and crowded facilities coupled with poorly trained staff lead to grim out look of this system.
The only way to truly protect yourself and your loved ones, anywhere in the world, is with a quality international health insurance plan. International health insurance plans are typically globally portable and guaranteed renewable for life, giving you the assurance that no matter what happens you will always have access to the treatment that you deserve. Plans will typically afford you a number of additional coverage options including benefits for dental, maternity, out-patient treatment, specialist consultations, alternative therapies, complimentary medicines, and emergency evacuations.