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Croatia Healthcare


Croatia has a good standard of health service. The healthcare system in Croatia is controlled centrally. The state owns hospitals and the county governments own the medical centres. The Minister of Health is responsible for legislation, the annual national health plan, monitoring health status and healthcare needs, modifying standards in healthcare facilities, supervising training, hygiene inspections, setting the quality of food and drugs and educating the nation in healthcare.

State Healthcare System

Finance for the Croatian state health system comes from a variety of sources. Health insurance contributions are compulsory for all citizens in employment and for employers. Dependant family members are covered through the contributions made by working family members. Self-employed citizens must pay their own contributions in full. Vulnerable groups such as old age pensioners and low-income earners are exempt from payment. The Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (CIHI) holds the budget made up of the working populace’s contributions. Some citizens supplement their state healthcare service with additional private health insurance.

A minority of citizens must also pay a form of co-payments to access some health services and all patients have to pay for non-prescription drugs. Dental healthcare, consultations with specialists must also be paid for.

Registered expatriates who do not work may be covered by a reciprocal agreement with their home country. This can be checked by visiting the Croatian embassies website for you home country. Otherwise, you must obtain regular private insurance cover.

Patients are free to register with the doctor of their choice. GP’s operate like private doctors within the Croatian healthcare system and they often ask for cash up front before giving treatment. GP’s in Croatia are more experienced in trauma and emergency care than their western counterparts and only a third are experienced in general practice.

There is a growing trend towards private practice including private nursing and diagnostic facilities and privately owned pharmacies. Doctors are allowed to rent space in Health Centres for the practice. They are paid by the Croatian Health Insurance Institute, which agrees advance contracts with them on an annual basis. The contract determines the cost for basic treatment and associated care.

There is a strict process for doctors wishing to obtain a licence for private practice from the Ministry of Health. They must prove they have a minimum number of registered patients and must provide a minimum range of healthcare services.

Doctors can contract directly with employers.

Patients need a referral from a doctor in order to see a specialist.

Health Centres, Hospitals, Polyclinics & Sanatoria

Every municipality has a health centre plus a network of primary healthcare units. Health centres give general care to the whole of the municipalities’ population, gynaecology and dental care. In addition, they are bound to provide people with emergency treatment, diagnostic services and health education. Remote rural health centres also offer specialist outpatient care, which is supervised by a hospital. Some also provide maternity and short-term inpatient facilities.

Hospitals are located in all major cities and towns. They are mainly financed through contracts with the Croatian Health Insurance Institute. Hospitals are categorised into general and specialist hospitals. Both types of hospital have outpatient facilities. General hospitals provide care and treatment for obstetrics and gynaecology, internal medicine, surgery and inpatient care for children. Specialist hospitals provide treatment and inpatient care for specific disease and chronic illness.

Polyclinics provide specialist consultations, diagnostic and rehabilitation services. They are linked to general hospitals. Private polyclinics are growing. Patients need a doctor’s referral to the polyclinic.

Sanatoria also feature in Croatia’s National Health Service. They provide massage and physiotherapy using natural elements like the many mineral springs, mud, sand and sea. Sanatoria aim to provide preventative treatment and rehabilitation.


Most pharmacies are privately owned. The growth of the private sector has lead to improvements in making drugs more accessible. They supply both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.





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