The Ministry of Human Capacities (Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma) is responsible for health insurance and the health sector. The healthcare system includes the following: medical treatment, medicine, dental treatment, early detection and preventive testing, treatment at home, hospital care, medical appliances.
In what situation can I claim?
There is free choice of (employed or contracted) doctors. Patients have to register with one general practitioner. There are no geographical restraints. Patients are allowed to change doctor once a year (or more if justified).
For basic healthcare, you can go to any doctor with whom the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management (NEAK) has a contract. For secondary level care, with or without hospitalisation, you must go to the designated specialist or institution serving your declared place of residence.
What conditions do I need to meet?
Everyone is automatically affiliated to a health insurance scheme as soon as he or she begins to work. Self-employed people register themselves, and employers register their employees, with the competent local bureau of the taxation and finance office and/or the competent social insurance organisations, as necessary. Employers and employees pay contributions.
Beneficiaries of the health insurance system fall into two categories:
- The holders of the right, i.e. those persons who have a statutory obligation to pay contributions, e.g. general employees, civil servants, public service employees, service providers and people with other legal working arrangements, the self-employed working alone or in collective organisations, ecclesiastical personnel and members of associations. These people are entitled to the full range of health insurance benefits (cash benefits, benefits in kind and accident allowances). This category also includes people receiving assistance while looking for work, who pay pension contributions on their benefits although they are not entitled to cash benefits.
- Entitled beneficiaries, e.g. minors, schoolchildren, students studying during the day, pensioners, people on low incomes who have reached retirement age, those receiving cash maternity and social protection benefits, persons placed in residential institutions providing personal care and those required to pay flat rate contributions. These persons are entitled to non-cash health insurance benefits only.
Everyone who is covered for healthcare is entitled to receive all the care their state of health requires. Medical care in Hungary is, as a general rule, free of charge. If the treatment is not prescribed by a physician, or is not provided through the normal hospital system, or if he/she chooses a doctor other than the one allocated by the healthcare system, fees imposed by the care provider will be paid by the patient. The individual might also pay part of the cost of medicines and medical appliances.
Medicines administered in hospital are free of charge. Otherwise, the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management (NEAK) covers part or all of the cost when the medicine prescribed is included in the reimbursement list.
Dental treatment is free up to the age of 18; students, seniors (60+) and pregnant women (from the determination of the pregnancy until 90 days after childbirth) are entitled to the full service but they still have to pay the technical costs. Each individual also pays the technical costs associated with dental treatment. According to the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management, only the emergency care of the dental treatments is covered by the social security system for the entitled person.
Early detection and preventive testing
Everyone with compulsory health insurance covering early detection and preventive testing is entitled to these tests on certain conditions (determined by age group) and at certain intervals. An individual or a doctor may request screening tests; where there is a public health issue, personal notices to attend are sent to all concerned. Early detection testing is - with certain exceptions - voluntary, since it is in the person’s own interests. Most preventive care is provided by the family doctor.
Nurses also play a role, particularly in informing people about screening tests, as do school doctors and nurses, while some examinations are the responsibility of the specialists concerned. To ensure preventive care is effective, early detection or screening tests may in some cases be a prerequisite for free treatment, otherwise people may be charged for treatment if they failed to take advantage of early detection/screening tests. No consultation fee is charged for these tests.
As a matter of prevention, smoking is banned in every indoor public place, including workplaces, restaurants, bars and cafes; except in specially designated smoking rooms, which already exist.
Treatment at home
Home-based treatments are intended to reduce the number of patients who have to be hospitalised and to provide more compassionate care. An insured person can be treated at home by professionals who have signed a contract with the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management (NEAK) to provide these services. These benefits are not eligible for aid unless prescribed by a specialist. Home care is covered for the same length of time as treatment for the same condition in hospital.
Inpatient specialised care is provided in various types of facilities, i.e. institutions (for chronic, rehabilitation or nursing care), hospitals, national institutions (highly specialised care), university clinics and day-care hospitals.
Patients being treated in hospitals receive the following services for the flat-rate daily charge:
- diagnostic examinations related to the illness;
- the treatment prescribed by a doctor, including surgical operations, therapeutic equipment used during these and prosthetic appliances;
- medicines, blood tests, dressings and curative accessories;
- therapeutic care;
- dietary advice and healthy living advice;
- food, as part of a diet prescribed by the doctor;
- care in a convalescent home, for as long as required by their condition, depending on availability and the ethical and professional considerations involved.
A patient’s health insurance will also cover part of the cost of any appliance prescribed as essential, and part of the cost of repairing and hiring these. Hospital and clinical care can cover several types, including diagnostics, treatment, rehabilitation and sanitary care. It may be continuous or periodic, i.e. a single episode or gradual treatment where follow-up care may be covered for a certain length of time. For some diseases there is a waiting list for treatment; in these cases, patients have to wait their turn. The waiting lists are published on the healthcare providers' websites. An individual whose health deteriorates must be re-examined and the waiting list may be modified as a result.
The rules of reimbursement for medical appliances are laid down by law. The information on the reimbursed medical appliances is published in the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management Bulletin. Medical appliances have to be prescribed by a doctor for a patient to qualify for reimbursement. The amount of reimbursement is determined based on the percentage of the price (98/90/80/70/60/50 or 45%). For medical appliances in the highest reimbursement category, any co-payment exceeding HUF 5,000 is borne by the National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management.
What am I entitled to and how can I claim?
Medical treatment medicine, dental treatment, treatment at home, early detection and preventive testing, hospital care, and medical appliances prescribed by a doctor.
Basically, all treatments are free of charge.
Everyone is automatically affiliated to a health insurance scheme as soon as he/she begins to work. Self-employed people register themselves, and employers register their employees, with the competent local bureau of the taxation and finance office and/or the competent social insurance organisations, as necessary. Employers and employees pay contributions. Economically inactive residents pay a lump-sum HUF 8,000 flat-rate contribution to be covered against healthcare risks.
Forms you may need to fill in
- Residents of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, who are entitled to the healthcare of the national health services or mandatory health insurance scheme of their respective countries of residence, can receive in Hungary the healthcare which becomes necessary on medical grounds during a temporary stay in Hungary, taking into account the nature of the benefits required and the expected length of stay. This also applies to persons falling within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
- You need both the European Health Insurance Card and your passport or ID during a temporary stay in Hungary. If you are insured in Hungary, you will need a TAJ number (social insurance number) to be entitled to the healthcare of the national health services.
Know your rights
The links below set out your rights in law. They are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the Commission:
European Commission publication and website:
Who do you need to contact?
Ministry of Human Capacities
Emberi Erőforrások Minisztériuma
Akadémia utca 3.
National Institute of Health Insurance Fund Management
Nemzeti Egészségbiztosítási Alapkezelő, NEAK
Váci út 73/a