Slovakia Medical Insurance
Slovakia is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordered by Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria. With a population of over 5 million, and membership in NATO, the EU, the UN, OECD, and WTO, Slovakia is quickly developing a greater presence in the world as characterized by its economic growth. Previously a command economy, it is now market driven and reached the highest GDP growth level (8.9 percent) out of all the members of the OECD in 2006. However, 9.9 percent of the population is unemployed - the second highest unemployment rate in the EU. Slovakia operates under a parliamentary democratic republic, with a head of state selected by a direct popular vote under the multi-party system. However, power is mostly vested in the head of the government. Slovakia is divided into eight krajov, or regions, that are each named after the main city in that area, and then divided again into 79 okres, or districts. Slovakia's largest city, Bratislava, is visited by many tourists along with the High Tatras, the highest section of the beautiful mountain range that stretches between of Slovakia and Poland. Tourists often return to their home countries with cultural souvenirs such as the fujaras, a Slavic folk instrument that is on the UNESCO Heritage of Humanity list.
Petty theft is a serious problem in Slovakia, with possessions frequently being stolen out of parked cars, purses in tourist areas (such as the Zlaty Piesky camping area in Bratislava) and even some tourists reporting unconsciousness as a result of drinks being spiked in order to steal possessions from visitors undetected. Driving is quite dangerous in Slovakia, with many drivers being aggressive and overtaking each other, driving too quickly, or forcing each other into small spaces. As a result, the rate of road deaths in Slovakia is 7.1 deaths per 100,000 people, almost double the UK average 3.8 deaths per 100,000 people (2009). Although in some countries it is legal to have a blood alcohol level of a small percentage while driving, it is illegal to have a blood alcohol level of anything above 0.0 percent in Slovakia. Due to the cold climate of the mountain region in which Slovakia is located, visitors should be prepared for serious driving conditions in winter and have cars equipped with winter tires (if an accident occurs and one vehicle has normal tires, it will be assumed that said vehicle is responsible for the accident) and also carry a snow shovel. Visitors with physical handicaps must also take note that most buildings are not equipped for the disabled. As always, there is a risk of terrorism, especially in cities and areas frequented by tourists. Visitors to Slovakia are advised to be vigilant with checking charges on credit cards (as restaurant managers, or “maestros” may charge for items not purchased) and taxi drivers will also overcharge if their passengers are not careful to pay attention to the meter.
In Slovakia, the adult mortality rate is 130 per 1000 adults, while the infant mortality rate per 1000 live births is 7, and the maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births is 6. The average life expectancy is 71 years of age for males and 79 for females. 1 in 1000 adults have HIV, while 10 people out of 100,000 have tuberculosis. Tick-borne encephalitis is prevalent in forested areas in Slovakia, especially during the summer months, and it is highly recommended that visitors are vaccinated against it and also make sure their tetanus, diphtheria, Hepatitis-A, Hepatitis-B, and typhoid vaccines are updated.
Slovakia operates under a Public healthcare system in which each citizen contributes to the nationalized system through a salary tax. However, dental treatments, plastic surgery, sterilization, and medical treatments for administrative purposes are all paid for in full by the patient. For Slavics, prescription medication is not always covered by insurance in full, and of course, tourists will be required to pay the full bill – often up front and in cash prior to receiving treatment. While European Union citizens can present their valid EU Health Insurance card for covered emergency treatment, foreigners who are not resident nationals of the ECC will be required to pay directly for theirs. It is important to note that the EU Health Insurance card is not a substitute for medical or travel insurance, as it does not cover you for ongoing medical treatment or non-emergency treatment. Emergency treatment is charged on a daily basis, and patients will be dismissed after 21 days. Outpatient treatment within the country is also costly.
Although Slovakia's healthcare is of average standard, it is often advised that patients go elsewhere for serious medical treatment that is of a higher quality, such as the neighboring countries of Austria or Germany. In this instance, international medical insurance would be especially useful, as it would cover the costly price of medical evacuation in the event of an emergency. Medical evacuation may also be necessary due to the few nurses and receptionists who speak English in the often under-maintained hospitals. Public hospitals in Slovakia tend to be under-funded and understaffed, and private healthcare facilities are typically exceedingly expensive; posing a major burden for patients who pay for their treatments out-of-pocklet. Fortunately, almost each one of Slovakia's villages has a health center and pharmacy (with a total of 44 hospitals), while more specialized hospitals are located in the larger cities of Bratislava, Banksa Bystrica, Kosice, and Martin. Major hospitals include the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (Bratislava), the National Oncological Institute (Bratislava), and the Children's Faculty Hospital (Banksa Bystrica).
Pacific Prime can offer free, professional insurance advice as well as international, travel, and health insurance needs with policies that can cover services including, but not limited to, dental, maternity, transportation, inpatient services, and more for your trip to Slovakia. Please contact us today for a free consultation on your health insurance.