How EU/EEA citizens (and Croats) can sign up for Croatian state health insurance
Croatian state health insurance called obvezno is mandatory for all residents of Croatia (with one exception). It covers basic health care, including primary doctors, hospital care, medicines, and justified financial compensation related to medical issues.
Citizens of EU/EEA member states and their family members (regardless of their nationality) can keep their state health insurance from their home country or register for Croatian health insurance upon issuance of a residence card.
The number of bases on which EU/EEA and Croatian citizens can get insured is vast. Some of the most usual bases are working for a Croatian employer and being a close family member of an insured person.
In addition to obvezno, Croatia has two more types of health insurance: dopunsko (supplementary) and dodatno (additional). They are not mandatory, but they cover many more services than obvezno. Having them is a wise decision.
In this post, we cover:
The facts are these…
How to sign up for health insurance in Croatia if you are an EU/EEA or Croatian citizen
In Croatia, there are 59 different categories into which you may be classified when signing up for basic health insurance. If you do not belong to any of the categories that are defined by the law, you must pay for it at your own cost.
EU/EEA citizens, as well as Croats, must sign up for health insurance if they belong to some of the following cases:
- They have temporary residence in Croatia based on working for a Croatian employer
- They have temporary residence in Croatia based on performing an economic or professional activity
- They have temporary residence in Croatia and do not have basic health insurance in another EU/EEA member state
- They have prebivalište (permanent address) in Croatia
- They have a permanent residence in Croatia
If you are an EU/EEA citizen with basic health insurance in another EU/EEA country, you do not necessarily have to sign up for the Croatian one. In this case, you can keep your foreign policy and use the rights from foreign health insurance in Croatia. This can usually be done by using EHIC (European Health Insurance Card).
If you are considering applying for temporary residence, view our guide on how EU/EEA citizens can get temporary residence in Croatia here. We also have a guide on how EU/EEA citizens can get permanent residence available here.
Obvezno health insurance is regulated by Zakon o obveznom zdravstvenom osiguranju (Compulsory Health Insurance Act). You can view this law here.
Family members of EU/EEA citizens
Family members of EU/EEA citizens can get basic Croatian health insurance without paying a premium if they have prebivalište (permanent address) or stalni boravak (permanent residence) in Croatia. Children are covered with health insurance until they turn 18.
Family members of EU/EEA citizens are:
- Marital spouses
- Common-law spouses
- Born in a marriage
- Born out of marriage
- Adopted children
- Children without parents if the insured person supports them
- Parents – father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, and adoptive parents if:
- They are incapable of independent living and work
- They have no means of subsistence
- The insured person supports them
- Grandchildren, siblings, and grandparents if:
- They are incapable of independent living and work
- They have no means of subsistence
- The insured person supports them.
Croatian citizens who are working for a foreign employer in a third country must pay for health insurance for their family members if they are not insured abroad, and there is no international agreement between Croatia and that country.
The monthly cost of Croatian obvezno health insurance depends on your situation. For most EU/EEA and Croatian citizens, it is equal to 16,5% of the average monthly bruto paid salary for the previous year. However, the Tax Administration called Porezna uprava calculates the amount for every individual according to their case.
Citizens of EU/EEA member states who move to Croatia must pay a “back pay” for the previous year when signing up for the first time – if they cannot prove they were covered by another EU/EEA state insurance policy. This amount can be prorated, if only covered for a portion of those months.
To learn the basics of Croatia’s state health care obvezno insurance, what it costs, and what is included, hop over to our guide, which is available here.
To sign up for obvezno in Croatia, visit the closest HZZO office to your registered address. You may also register for your family members. However, if you are employed by a Croatian employer, then your employer will solve this instead of you.
If the application process is a bit muddy for you or you need help signing up, we can jump in. Our local assistant Lucija Perić can support you and manage the application process instead of you if you are in the Split area. To get help from Lucija, fill out the form, which is available here.
Let’s now go through all the steps of signing up for Croatian state health insurance.
#1 Talk to HZZO
Visit HZZO and tell them your specific story. They will provide you with the latest information about your situation.
If you want to visit them in person, you can go to one of their regional offices from this list.
#2 Gather the documentation
The documentation that you must provide will depend on the category based on which you sign up. A full list of categories is available at the end of this Rulebook.
The documentation that you must provide is defined for each category. To find out what you must enclose, first, find your basis in the column Osnove osiguranja u obveznom zdravstvenom osiguranju. Then view the documentation in the column Dokumentacija potrebna za utvrđivanje statusa osigurane osobe/osiguranika osobe u obveznom zdravstvenom osiguranju.
Depending on your case, you may need:
- Application form – mark Prijava at the top
- OIB (personal identification number)
- Proof of residence or approved permanent stay
- Certificate from MUP OR
- ID card
- Certificate from MUP on a granted temporary stay
- Registration number
- Proof of termination of employment or performance of activities
- Proof you are not insured in another EU/EEA country
EU/EEA nationals can enclose a confirmation of their residence from MUP called potvrda o prebivalištu/boravištu. If you are in the process of obtaining a residence card, you do not have to wait until MUP issues it. You can apply as soon as your residence is approved.
#3 Visit HZZO or e-Zdravstveno
After you gather the necessary documentation, go to the regional HZZO office according to your Croatian address. A list of all offices is available here.
If you did not print and fill out the application form in advance or you are not sure which one you need, you can get it at HZZO. Their employees can also help you with filling out the form. Ask them anything you want.
Keep in mind that you must pay the back pay for the previous year (if not covered by an EU/EEA policy for the previous year). HZZO personnel will give you the payment instructions. After you pay the back pay, you must provide them proof of payment.
e-Zdravstveno online service
Instead of visiting HZZO, Croatian business owners can use HZZO’s online service called e-Zdravstveno to sign up and sign off their employees, spouses, and children for health insurance.
e-Zdravstveno is available here. To use it, you must deliver this application form to HZZO in person, by email email@example.com, or via the postal office. HZZO will then activate your account and send you a notice about it.
#4 Pick up a health insurance card
After you sign up for mandatory health insurance in Croatia, you will get a paper that confirms your application. You can use it as proof of health insurance when visiting the doctor until you get the official health insurance card.
The health insurance card is called zdravstvena iskaznica in Croatian. HZZO will give you this card only if you sign up for health insurance for the first time. It can take a while until HZZO provides it to you, usually by mail. However, as we said, you are still insured within a waiting period.
If your health insurance status has changed, you are obliged to notify the HZZO office in charge about the change. A list of all regional HZZO offices is available here.
Changes may include your new address, surname due to entering a marital union, termination of the consequences on which your health insurance is acquired, or anything similar.
If you leave Croatia permanently or for a certain period of time, and no longer have Croatian residence, you must sign off from health insurance. You cannot possess insurance if you no longer have a Croatian address. It is not possible to freeze or pause it. And if you come back to Croatia sometime in the future, you must sign up for a new policy.
Regardless of the change, you must report it within 8 days after it occurred. Deliver the same application form to HZZO up and this time mark:
- Promjena – if you want to report changes
- Odjava – if you want to sign off
However, there is a benefit. If you sign up for obvezno within 30 days of your return, you do not have to pay a year of premiums for the previous year again.
If you lost your health insurance for any reason, it is good to know that you can still use the rights for 30 days from the termination of your insurance.
After you get your basic Croatian health insurance, you can request an EHIC. It is a European Health Insurance Card that allows you to use the health services of contracted providers in other EU/EEA member states for urgent care.
If you have a health insurance policy in another EU/EEA member state, then you are not obliged to get Croatian health insurance. In this case, you will usually use your foreign policy through EHIC.
EHIC is a useful thing to have, especially if you travel often. You can get it at HZZO local offices free of charge and is a good protection measure. If you, unfortunately, get stuck somewhere in the EU/EEA with an injury, EHIC will give you the right to use emergency healthcare at the cost of HZZO.
If you want to learn more about EHIC and how to get it in Croatia, view this guide – we’ve covered all you need to know.
View our other health insurance posts
- Croatia’s state health care obvezno insurance
- Healthcare and health insurance in Croatia
- How to sign up for state health insurance in Croatia
- HZZO list of local health insurance offices
- What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- What is dodatno health insurance
- What is dopunsko health insurance
- Why you must have health insurance
Please note: Information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal or financial advice in any form. Croatian laws and bureaucratic rules often change, and each personal case is individual, so different rules may apply. For legal advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. For financial advice, contact us to consult with a licensed Croatian tax advisor or accountant.