The Hungarian social security system

The Hungarian healthcare system is largely free of charge for anyone who can provide a Hungarian social insurance number and card (TAJ szám, TAJ kártya) or who holds a valid EU International Health Card (EHIC). Medical services in Hungary are substantially financed by the state budget, which takes a monthly contribution from every locally contracted employee’s salary, and no payment is claimed for the actual treatment. With a valid Hungarian social security account, you are entitled to full medical care, excluding prescription charges.

Healthcare for EU citizens

EU citizens who are not paid a salary locally but who possess an EHIC are also treated free of charge to an extent. Only those treatments are free of charge, which are considered urgent and necessary by a given doctor. Any additional hospital care or the cost of non-urgent care would need to be settled personally by the patient. When using the EHIC, reimbursement of the cost of treatment varies from country to country, depending on the agreement between Hungary and the given country. Usually the two health insurance authorities settle the re-invoicing of the cost. Before arrival, please investigate this with your own state health authority.

Should your employment be terminated for any reason, then after 46 days of the termination, you need to take out a private contract with the Hungarian state healthcare authority. The fee payable could be less than 7,000 HUF per month but could be somewhat higher, depending on the level of social security contributions you have paid during the current financial year to date.

For a family member of an EU citizen who has been living in Hungary for a year (this is counted from the issuing date of the address card) it is mandatory to make a private contract with the state health authority. The fee payable depends on the given year’s fees when you have to make this contract.

For children under the age of 18 the health care system is free of charge, though parents will need to apply for a Hungarian social security card for any child, once they have obtained a Hungarian Registration and an address card.

Healthcare for Non-EU citizens

A Non-EU citizen is entitled to take any medical care free of charge in case he or she is on Hungarian payroll and an employee of a Hungarian company, just like their Hungarian and EU colleagues.

An employee’s family members in any case need to present proof of comprehensive health insurance for their residence permit application. This is important as family members of non-EU employees on local payroll are not covered by the employee’s Hungarian state social security payments.

It is possible for non-EU family members to access the state healthcare system via a private contract with the health authority. The fee payable is calculated as follows: for children under the age of 18, 30% of that given year’s gross minimum monthly wage needs to be paid (by yellow postal check) per month. For applicants over the age of 18, the percentage is higher, at 50% of the gross minimum wage. Once the first payment is made, the individual has the right to urgent and necessary treatment only. Full access to the system is only given after 7 months’ payments have been made. An applicant may gain full access to the system immediately but then they must pay in 7 months’ contributions immediately. As a non-EU resident it’s not compulsory to contract with the Hungarian state healthcare system, but it certainly is compulsory to hold private health insurance that would cover any possible eventualities.

Private healthcare

There are plenty of private clinics and healthcare options for anyone looking to be treated in English or another foreign language and in more comfortable surroundings than one might find in a typical state hospital or clinic in Hungary. Payment options include already holding an international insurance policy that one of the private clinics accepts or it is also possible to take out a local private policy with one of the clinics. This would give coverage up to a certain point but it’s important to note that most of the private clinics don’t include in-patient care or more complex diagnosis such as CT and MRI and if the patient doesn’t hold state health insurance or a comprehensive international health insurance policy. In general it’s best to talk to at least one private clinic and get a feel for what they do and do not cover.