A quaint country in the middle of Europe that is well known for its mild weather and colorful castles, Hungary has become a well-known destination for expats.
The cost of living in Hungary is among the cheapest in Europe. However, the infrastructure is quite satisfying, and the rent is affordable. This is why several startups have moved here, and as usual, expats have followed in the wake. The locals are polite and accommodating, but it is a noticeably greying population. That is why the Hungarian government encourages expats to settle there.
Despite Hungary's public healthcare system offering treatment to all, it is best for you to secure expatriate medical insurance before moving there.
Hungarian Public Healthcare System – Universal Healthcare for All
Like all other EU nations, Hungary has a tax-funded universal health care system. Taxes and government contributions fund the system through the National Health Insurance Fund, or Országos Egészségbiztosítási Pénztár (OEP) in Hungarian.
Every citizen and resident of Hungary pays a percentage of their income towards public healthcare funding. Employers make a matching contribution. The system can be accessed by those who are unemployed or retired, despite not making any contributions.
The Hungarian public healthcare system works quite well. The hospitals are immaculate, and doctors are available round the clock. In some sectors, such as cosmetic surgery, it has even emerged as a popular medical tourism destination.
Every resident must register themselves with a local general practitioner. Based on his recommendation, a patient can approach a specialized hospital in Budapest.
There are more than 160 hospitals in Hungary, which cover the needs of a population of ten million across 36,000 square miles (about 93,000 square kilometers). About 40% of the nation's healthcare service is available in the capital, Budapest, and some of the more remote areas are entirely lacking in any medical infrastructure beyond a primary health center.
Hungary's Public Healthcare System – Overburdened and Understaffed
On paper, the nation has about 40,000 physicians, but in actuality, only about 34,000 practice medicine in Hungary. The rest have migrated to adjoining, more affluent countries.
This is the natural consequence of long waiting times, despite the best efforts of health authorities. It is not expertise that is lacking, nor the number of beds, but rather enough hands to get the job done.
The most significant impact has been felt in the fields of imaging and diagnostics. The lack of professionals in this field has meant that there is a crippling bottleneck that leads to a month-long wait for many patients for something as simple as an MRI.
Hungarian Private Healthcare – A Growing Trend
This lapse on the part of state healthcare has led to an increasing number of patients seeking private medical care in Hungary.
There are a growing number of hospitals and care centers that are entirely run by the private sector. Of course, they charge higher rates, but the treatment is available instantly and provides welcome relief.
Hungarian Expat Health Insurance – Private Care at Affordable Costs
As an expat, your health is of paramount importance. You are far away from your home, in a foreign land, and falling sick can be an extremely stressful experience. That is why you need to take advantage of the best private medical insurance in order to enjoy peace of mind.
When buying an expat health insurance policy, you have to watch for some important factors. We discuss these in greater detail.
- Co-Payment – Watch out for this clause very carefully. To defray expenses, insurance companies prefer the buyer to bear part of the cost. This acts as a disincentive for patients to visit hospitals on a whim for minor ailments. The share can be up to 30% but is usually half of that. The less your co-pay amount, the more you get to save for buying essential add-ons to the policy.
- Non-covered Charges – Insurers will meet the bed charges, doctors' fees, and other treatment costs. But they are reluctant to meet the cost of disposable items, ranging from toothbrushes to syringes. Their argument is that these are a minor part of the bill and can be paid easily by the client. But what happens if you need extended hospitalization due to breaking your leg in a fall? Over four months, the bill for disposables will be quite a tidy sum. Talk it over with the insurance company to arrive at a compromise.
- Translation – When you are in a foreign country, how do you understand the test reports and pathological results? If you are told that your vörösvérsejteket is five, would you understand? Don't be worried. It means your red blood cell count is normal. This is why translation services are essential. They allow you to understand precisely what is wrong with you and how serious it is. Based on that, you would decide if you want to return home to seek long-term treatment or continue to live in Hungary.
- Critical Care – Some diseases are complicated and expensive to treat. These include cancer, strokes, and heart ailments. Critical care riders cost more because the insurer is afraid of large claims. The only way out is to omit these if you are young and in good health. Of course, if you are a non-smoker, watch your diet, and exercise regularly, you can be reasonably sure that you will not need critical care coverage. Before leaving for Hungary, get a health checkup and, based on the results, make a carefully considered decision.
Be Secure with Expat Health Insurance
The process of buying Hungary expatriate health insurance is quite easy. You have to examine which riders you need and add them to a standard basic policy. Of course, it must secure you in all the countries you are going to visit, as well.
With an affordable medical insurance policy from a private insurer, you are safe and secure in the knowledge that should you fall ill, you would receive the best medical care Hungary has to offer.