With a falling unemployment rate and dynamic growth, Hungary is one of the new destinations popular with expatriates. Located in Central Europe in the east of Austria, Hungary attracts by the quality of life offered by its capital Budapest and the job opportunities that are there. Many students also choose to do their internships and apprenticeships in this country.
Before definitively taking up residence in Hungary, we advise you to think about your health insurance in this new country. Ask yourself the right questions: how does the Hungarian healthcare system work? Is it mandatory? Will it provide sufficient health coverage? This guide to health in Hungary will help you see more clearly!
Focus on the health sector in Hungary
The health sector in Hungary is a sector in full change and raises a lot of questions. This is due to disparities and the lack of funds allocated to the modernization of medical infrastructure.
Public health in difficulty
In Hungary, as in some neighbouring countries, the health sector has unfortunately suffered greatly from the fall of communism. While other aspects of Hungarian life have improved, public health has not really benefited. Public hospitals are not up to the expectations of the population, the reforms initiated have not brought the expected results. The medical institutions of the capital Budapest provide a decent level of care, slightly higher than the provincial institutions. The country lacks qualified personnel, which is partly due to the departure of Hungarian doctors abroad.
The situation in Hungary is, in short, mixed. The hospital offer is well present with affordable prices, but deserves more attention from the authorities.
The developing private sector
For its part, the private sector is doing quite well. More than 60% of the Hungarian population is affiliated to it, not least because the vast majority of general practitioners belong to the private sector. It is interesting to note that the pharmaceutical sector plays a leading role in Hungary, with the presence of the largest international pharmaceutical groups (Sanofi, Teva, Bayer) and an export-oriented growth strategy. The Covid-19 crisis, which has increased the burden on the public sector, has enabled private sector players to take advantage of it by developing their offers and by proposing considerably reduced waiting times. As a result, the demand for private health insurance is booming, with patients no longer wanting to wait.
Benefit from public health insurance (Társadalomizosítási Azonosító Jeten) in Hungary
All people with an employment contract and students can receive a social security number (TJA number) and a health insurance card (TJA card) giving access to free public medical care.
Health insurance is compulsory for all employees and entrepreneurs in Hungary, and financed by contributions deducted from gross wages. Families and children are eligible for social security if they have proof of a permanent residence card in Hungary. Students have access to the TAJ after one year of studying in a Hungarian institution.
If you do not have direct access to social security, for example by being unemployed, you always have the possibility to apply for affiliation by yourself, for a monthly contribution of HUF 8,000 (about € 22.50). The condition for making this request is to have the permanent address on your lákcímkártya (residence card) for a minimum period of one year. Attention, since July 2020, any person who does not pay a contribution for a period of 3 months is prohibited from accessing free health care.
Rights and benefits
Like most public health systems, you will have the choice of a doctor (who can redirect you to a specialist if necessary), but also a dentist.
The health coverage offered by the TAJ includes:
- Basic medical consultations
- Hospitalization and inpatient treatments
- Basic dental treatments (scaling, preventive control, simple filling)
- Prescription drugs and treatments
Thus, the TAJ provides basic medical coverage and for emergency situations.
The patient usually has to advance the costs in cash, as hospitals and doctors do not charge insurers directly.
It should be noted that the main difficulty of the procedures in Hungary lies in the language: the documentation is exclusively in Hungarian and few administrative employees speak English. You will certainly need the help of a Hungarian speaker to make the requests. You will find more English-speaking doctors in private hospitals than in public ones.
Health insurance for expatriates, an essential in Hungary
When you arrive in Hungary, it can take several months before you have access to Hungarian public health insurance. Being covered from the beginning of your stay by private health insurance is essential to benefit from health coverage as soon as possible. That’s why we recommend that you take out private insurance even before you leave.
More than a temporary solution, it will be essential as a complementary solution to public health insurance, because it will cover you for all the treatments that the latter does not cover. Efficient private insurance will allow you to receive care at the level of the best European standards.
If you are an expatriate in Hungary, international health insurance will be your best health ally. It adapts to your lifestyle, offering you global coverage and in your home country.
At Foyer Global Health, we have designed our plans around your specific expat needs:
- Multilingual 24/7 medical assistance, with access to free medical services
- Different levels of coverage with no overall annual repayment limit
- Access to all hospitals, clinics and doctors in Hungary and worldwide, without partner network limits
- Support without advance costs for the stationary) and reimbursement from the first euro
You can now contact our health insurance experts for more information, or simulate your quote for free here:
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