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Healthcare in Hungary is free, as it’s financed by social security contributions of employees, sole entrepreneurs, and companies operating in Hungary.

Students from EEA countries (European Economic Area) studying in Hungary are eligible for free healthcare in Hungary as long as they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card is issued by the national health insurance provider of the student’s country.

This card enables students to receive healthcare just as the residents of their host country. EHIC covers treatments for chronic or pre-existing conditions, as well as healthcare related to pregnancy and childbirth. Students are also entitled to full coverage at hospitals.

Students outside of EEA countries (third countries) are not eligible for free healthcare in Hungary. They either pay for a private healthcare provider or enroll voluntarily in the Hungarian State Health System. We recommend choosing a private healthcare provider as Hungarian healthcare is in dire conditions and thus students won’t receive quality healthcare services in the public system.

Healthcare in Hungary works similarly to in other countries. It’s financed by the monthly social security contributions that cover basic medical services to the residents. The Hungarian healthcare system has 4 tiers that include general practitioners, outpatient care, inpatient care, and other special care & treatments.

Is healthcare free in Hungary?

Yes, healthcare is free in Hungary as it’s financed by the state via social security contributions. Citizens employed by a local company or the state, self-contributors, and students are all insured.

Is healthcare free in Hungary for students?

Yes, healthcare is free for students in Hungary as well as foreign students from EEA countries (European Economic Area) in Hungary.

EEA countries include the EU nations plus Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

Students from EEA countries are eligible for free healthcare as long as they have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by their home country.

What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a personal, non-transferable card that provides access to medically essential, state-provided healthcare during temporary stays for citizens in the EEA countries plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the UK. You receive healthcare on the same terms and at the same cost (which may be free) as residents insured in that country.

It’s important to know that an EHIC card is not an alternative to travel insurance and can’t guarantee free services. There are differences between countries’ healthcare systems, a free service in one country can be a paid service in another.

An EHIC card is issued by your national health insurance provider.

What services does the European Health Insurance Card cover?

The European Health Insurance Card covers treatments for chronic or pre-existing conditions, as well as healthcare related to pregnancy and childbirth. However, the EHIC doesn’t cover planned healthcare.

You’re entitled to full coverage at hospitals and by public health service-affiliated therapists. You must pay the same healthcare fees as the country’s citizens in case you need a service that isn’t covered by the country’s health insurance.

How to apply for a European Health Insurance Card?

You can apply for a European Health Insurance Card at your national health service provider in your home country. To be eligible for an EHIC card, you must be covered by a state’s social security system in an EEA country. You don’t have to be a citizen of the EEA, but you must be covered by an EEA country’s social security system for a European Health Insurance Card.

Are students from non-EEA countries eligible for free healthcare in Hungary?

Students from non-EEA countries are not eligible for free healthcare in Hungary. These students have two options.

  1. Pay for a private health insurance company during their studies in Hungary. If a student from a non-EEA country has to apply for a visa, the student must have private health insurance to get the visa, anyway.
  2. Students may enroll voluntarily in the Hungarian State Health System (TAJ) upon arrival after signing a voluntary contract with the health provider. The insurance is valid from the first day of the month after signing the document. The monthly contribution fee for foreign students in Hungary is 80,040 HUF (205 EUR / 222.5 USD) as of 1st January 2024. It’s paid monthly from the date of registration until the 12th of the following month.

Students from non-EEA countries can apply for a TAJ card via the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund (NEAK).

How does health insurance work in Hungary?

Health insurance is paid for by monthly contributions. Contributions are deducted from an individual’s income, be it a salary or earnings from self-employment. For employees, these contributions are paid by their employers.

The insurance offers basic coverage for essential medical services. Hungarian healthcare has 4 tiers.

  1. General practitioners (in Hungary these are the so-called ‘háziorvosok’ or ‘home doctors’) and specialists
  2. Ambulatory care or outpatient care
  3. Inpatient care
  4. Other special healthcare services

Is healthcare in Hungary good?

According to the Global Health Security Index, Hungary’s healthcare system ranks 34th out of 195. Objectively, it belongs to the more advanced healthcare system in the World.

Subjectively, however, the Hungarian health system is terrible. The system is underpaid and understaffed, hospital equipment is outdated or straight-out bad, and the staff is overworked. What is more, infections in Hungarian hospitals are quite common, despite the efforts.

We don’t recommend enrolling in the Hungarian healthcare system. Apply for private health insurance instead. The service is of way better quality, albeit being more expensive.

Is dentistry free in Hungary?

No, dental services are generally not free in Hungary even with valid public health insurance. However, residents up to the age of 18, senior citizens (older than 60), and pregnant women have to only pay the technical costs.

Are medicine and prescription drugs free in Hungary?

Medicine and prescription drugs are free, if they are given in a hospital. At pharmacies, however, medicines are partly subsidized by the state, so residents must pay a part of the full cost as a copayment.

The costs depend on the ratio of the state subsidy on a medicine-by-medicine basis.

Do doctors and healthcare workers speak English well in Hungary?

Yes, doctors and healthcare workers tend to speak English well in Hungary. Especially the younger staff.

Doctors and medical staff speak English exceptionally well at private healthcare companies.

Private healthcare providers in Budapest

Numerous smaller and bigger private healthcare providers in Budapest include private hospitals, clinics, special treatments, and specialized doctors. Here are some of the biggest healthcare providers in Budapest.

  • Medicover
  • Swiss Clinic
  • Wáberer Medical Center
  • Duna Medical Center

The area of expertise and types of medical treatments vary by provider and also by the providers’ locations.

How much does a private healthcare provider cost? The costs depend highly on the healthcare providers, the types of treatments, and the length of treatments.

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