Healthcare and health insurance in Croatia: Guide for 2021

UPDATED: 19/08/2021

Croatia has a universal healthcare system providing a form of mandatory public insurance to all people. The population is covered by a basic health insurance plan (called “obvezno”) as required by law and optional insurance administered by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (known as “HZZO”).

Croatia’s social health insurance system is based on the principles of solidarity and reciprocity, by which citizens are expected to contribute according to their ability to pay and receive basic health care services according to their needs.

In this post, we cover:

The facts are these…

Who must participate in health care expenditures

In Croatia, you must have health insurance which is not free of charge. [Read: Why you must have health insurance] All Croatian citizens and residents are required to participate in health care expenditures.

However, certain groups of insured people are exempt from health care costs including:

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Children of dependents that are incapable of living and working independently
  • Croatian residents incapable of independent life
  • Family members of dead or missing Croatian armed forces members
  • Disabled members of Croatian armed forces

Mandatory health insurance doesn’t cover the costs of elective health care services including:

Available types of health insurance in Croatia

In Croatia, there are three types of health insurance:

  1. Obvezno zdravstveno osiguranje
  2. Dopunsko zdravstveno osiguranje
  3. Dodatno zdravstveno osiguranje

Obvezno health insurance

Obvezno health insurance is the public basic mandatory health insurance in Croatia. It is prescribed by the state agency HZZO and is required for all residents in Croatia – unless you are an EU citizen or permanent EU resident who holds state health insurance in another EU/EEA member state.

You can view lists of all available inclusions of primary health care in Croatia here.

[Read: Croatia’s state health care “obvezno” insurance, what it costs and what is included]

[Read: How to sign up for state health insurance in Croatia]

Dopunsko health insurance

Dopunsko health insurance is an affordable, optional public or private health insurance supplement. You can get it from either HZZO or a private bank or insurer. It eliminates most co-payments for prescriptions, doctor visits, diagnostic tests, and hospital visits/stays.

[Read: What is “dopunsko” and why you should have this health insurance]

Dodatno health insurance

Dodatno health insurance is the highest level of health insurance in Croatia. It is private supplemental health insurance only offered by banks and private insurers. This policy covers specialists, additional treatments, preventative care, laboratory tests, and extended hospital visits.

[Read: What is “dodatno” health insurance]

Administration of the healthcare system

The steward of the health system is the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for health policy, planning and evaluation, public health programs, and the regulation of capital investments. The Ministry of Finance also plays a key role and is responsible for the planning and management of the government budget.

Healthcare institutions in Croatia include:

  • Clinical Hospital Centers (klinički bolnički centar)
  • Clinical hospitals (klinička bolnica) – View a list here
  • Clinics (klinika) – View a list here
  • Polyclinics (poliklinika) – View a list here
  • General hospitals (opća bolnica) – View a list here
  • Special hospitals (specijalna bolnica) – View a list here
  • Spas (lječilište) – View a list here
  • Health center (dom zdravlja) – View a list here
  • Departments (zavod) – View a list here
  • County Institutes for Emergency Medicine (županijski zavod za hitnu medicine) – View a list here

There are hundreds of healthcare institutions in Croatia, including ~79 hospitals and clinics with ~25.285 beds, caring for more than 760.000 patients per year. Ownership of hospitals is shared between the state and the counties of Croatia.

There are ~5.792 private practice offices, and a total of ~46.020 health workers in the country, including ~10.363 medical doctors. There are ~79 emergency medical service units.

Responsibilities of the Croatian Ministry of Health

The Croatian Ministry of Health is responsible for:

  • Protection from infectious and non-infectious diseases, and ionizing and non-ionizing radiation
  • Health and safety of food and items of general use
  • Construction and investment in health care
  • Establishment of health institutions and private practices
  • Organization of state and other professional exams for health professionals, their specialist training, recognition of the title of “primarius”
  • Naming health institutions: reference centers, clinics, clinical hospitals, and clinical hospital centers
  • Administrative supervision of the work of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund, Croatian Red Cross, and Chambers
  • Health inspection supervision of the work of health care institutions, health care workers, and private practices
  • Registration of medicines
  • Pharmaceutical inspection and supervision of the production and trade of medicines and medical products
  • Sanitary supervision of the production, trade, use, and disposal of poisons
  • Production, trafficking, and consumption of narcotics
  • Sanitary supervision of people and activities, buildings premises, plants, and devices that may affect human health in any way adversely
  • Sanitary supervision of international traffic at the state border

What is HZZO – Croatian Health Insurance Fund

Croatian Health Insurance Fund is called “Hrvatski zavod za zdravstveno osiguranje” or HZZO in short. It is a public institution under the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Croatia in charge of all types of health insurance in Croatia. It was founded in 1922.

HZZO has many regional and branch administration offices in Croatia with ~2.400 employees. If you have to solve a private administration issue from the field of healthcare, you will probably have to go to HZZO. For example, they are in charge of enrollment and termination of health insurance.

If you have to visit HZZO, usually, you have to go to the HZZO administration office according to the address of your Croatian residence. Every Croatian county has several HZZO administration offices that are usually located in larger cities.

[Read: HZZO List of Local Health Insurance Offices]

How to get a family doctor

A family doctor is the first person you have to visit when you are sick or have a medical issue. Croats called them “doktor obiteljske medicine” or “obiteljski liječnik” or “doktor opće medicine”. If you live in Croatia, you must have a family doctor.

Croatian residents are usually assigned to a family doctor according to the address of their residence. However, people insured by the HZZO have the right to pick certain doctors on their own including:

  • Family doctor
  • Dentist
  • Gynecologist (women)
  • Pediatrician (parents for their children)

If you are not satisfied with your family doctor or you’d like to change them for another reason, you can do it once a year.

Below are the steps for changing your family doctor. Steps are the same when changing a dentist, gynecologist, and pediatrician.

Step #1 Find the doctor

Find a new potential family doctor. Croats usually like to hear the experiences of their friends or relatives before picking the right doctor.

If you don’t know how to find a family doctor, view a list of all family doctors in Croatia available here.

A list of dentists in Croatia is available here.
A list of gynecologists in Croatia is available here.
A list of pediatricians in Croatia is available here.

[Read: How to find an English-speaking doctor]

Step #2 Contact the doctor

Contact your desired family doctor to check whether they have a free place for a new patient = YOU. It is best to call them. You can also explain your situation if you think that it may help to get the desired doctor.

A family doctor cannot deny your request if they have free places. However, if the doctor has a very good reputation, the chances they have free client spots open are low.

Step #3 Fill out the form

Fill out the form called “Izjava o izboru/promjeni izabranog doktora” (Statement on the selection/change of the chosen doctor).

This form is available here or at the doctor’s office. You must fill out only the part of the form that includes information about you.

Step #4 Visit the doctor

Visit the doctor and bring them the form. They will fill out the rest, verify the form, and send it to the HZZO.

Step #5 Wait

Now you have to wait for the HZZO to make the change. You don’t need to inform your current family doctor about the change. HZZO will notify them for you.

After your current family doctor receives a notification from HZZO, they must deliver your medical documentation to your new family doctor within 3 days.

How the Croatian healthcare system works

Everyone must have a general practitioner (family doctor) if they intend to use the state health insurance policy, as explained in the previous section.

Your general doctor should always be your first stop when seeking treatment. At the initial visit, the general doctor will do an analysis and recommend further treatment, testing, and referrals, as needed.

To gain access to hospital, diagnostic, or poliklinika services, a referral from a public general practitioner with a contract with HZZO is required. This referral is called an “uputnica”, phonetically pronounced “oo-poot-neat-suh”. It is also often called “crvena uputnica” (red referral) because it is red.

An uputnica is an order of sorts, used for diagnostics such as blood and urine tests, prescriptions, further medical examinations, and even surgery. Your family doctor provides the uputnica, which is why that is your first stop. For example, if you have to visit a dermatologist, first, you must get an uputnica from your family doctor and then visit the dermatologist. [Read: List of doctors and doctor offices in English and Croatian]

Uputnica is critical when using the Croatian healthcare system. They are used at every level of healthcare, from simple blood tests to the anesthesia required for surgery. Until October 2020, uputnica from family doctors was issued in paper form. Since then, uputnica is issued in a digital form and it is now called “e-uputnica”.

So, after your doctor issues an e-uputnica, it will automatically be sent to the next doctor you have to visit (a specialist), a laboratory (if you have to do a blood test), or where ever you have to go next. While issuing e-uputnica, your family doctor can also pick the term of your further medical examination or you can do it via the e-Građani online app.

Once you do the medical examination and get results, they will be automatically sent to your family doctor. You can also view results via the e-Građani online app.

Croatian healthcare costs

Health care contributions in Croatia are mandatory for all employed citizens and are paid for by their employers. Dependents of employees obtain their health care coverage through contributions paid for by working members of their families if they meet certain requirements. Self-employed workers in Croatia are also obliged to pay health care contributions on their own.

Croatian residents have the option to obtain health services with private health care providers who are not HZZO contracted partners, either through direct payment or through supplemental insurance which covers the payment.

All residents of Croatia are required to have obvezno insurance through HZZO even if they choose not to use it or if they choose to use private insurance – unless you are an EU/EEA citizen or permanent residence with state health insurance from another EU/EEA member state.

Health insurance premiums do not vary based on residency status but may change at the prerogative of HZZO. Check out this post to find the premium for your specific situation.

What has your experience been like with Croatian healthcare? Tell us in the comments.

See other healthcare posts


Please note: All information provided by Expat in Croatia is only for the purposes of guidance. It does not constitute legal advice in any form. For legal advice, you must consult with a licensed Croatian lawyer. We can recommend one if you contact us.

Sharing is Caring:

74 thoughts on “Healthcare and health insurance in Croatia: Guide for 2021

  1. Eddie White
    June 22, 2017 @ 12:14 pm

    Very comprehensive and well explained. This will help many people new to the system.

    I note the comment: ‘You can sign up for your orange supplementary health insurance card by going to the HZZO offices, or you can do it online. The cost for this supplement is 70 kuna per month unless you are a student, low income person, blood or organ donor or 100% disabled.’
    Can you tell me whether as a body donor, I could also receive exemption from payment?


    • Petar Salinovic
      July 26, 2017 @ 10:48 am

      Hi Eddie,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      We recently revised the post. We found that you only qualify for free supplementary health insurance only if you are a blood donor and only when you reach the minimum threshold of 25 donations for females or 35 donations for males. We will publish a new post soon with more information about blood donation and how to claim the free supplementary insurance.

      Stay tuned!



  2. Anna
    October 17, 2017 @ 4:21 pm

    Hi Petar, This question may sound like a joke, but I assure you it is not :-)…….

    I am looking for a qualified nurse who uses a suction machine to remove large plugs of earwax for my boyfriend. I dont mean the candles done by health shops, this is a proceedure usually done by audiologists or nurses…….We have been traveling for a year and usually we get it done in New Zealand every 4 months or so, but we haven’t found anywhere lately. Now he is quite deaf and in a bit of pain. I have searched the internet and can’t seem to find any reference to them. We are due to fly long distance in 10 days and it would be great to get it done before he needs to deal with cabin airpressure.

    I would appreciate any suggestions or possible leads on people I could talk to.

    Thanks so much – this is a great website!


    • Expat in Croatia
      January 26, 2018 @ 11:29 am

      Hi Anna,

      I’ve done a lot of asking around about this and unfortunately don’t have much for you. There are doctors hearing still doing very out of date procedures like shooting hot water in ears. This is what my doctor did and it gave me an ear infection.

      I would recommend finding an ENT at a private clinic. That would be your best bet.




    November 4, 2017 @ 5:38 pm

    Hi Petar.
    I am from the UK with a UK passport.
    for my intended stay of over 90 days i will need Health Insurance,
    how much will it cost ?
    can i get it trough HZZO ?

    Thank You


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 20, 2017 @ 10:49 am

      Hi Terence,

      If you have healthcare through the state fund in the UK, then you can trade in your policy with HZZO. If you do not have existing state health care in the UK, then you would need to set up a new policy with HZZO. The cost is a one-time fee of 5.000kn plus approximately 450kn per month.




  4. Bruno Aragaki
    December 14, 2017 @ 2:52 am

    Hello! Thank you very much for the comprehensive post! Just one thing I did not understand very well. The text says that “Health care contributions in Croatia are mandatory for all employed citizens and are paid for by their employers”, and also that it costs a 5.000kn enrollment fee + 450kn monthly. Those are the fees paid by the employer, or it means that on the top of what the employer pays I should pay those amounts?


    • Expat in Croatia
      December 18, 2017 @ 2:48 pm

      Hi Bruno,

      Thanks for the question!

      If you are employed by a Croatian employer, they will pay for your health insurance. If you are not employed by a Croatian employer, because you are either self-employed or are employed by a non-Croatian company, then you will be responsible for paying the 5.000kuna enrollment fee plus 450kuna monthly fee.

      If you are unemployed (and have previously worked for a Croatian employer), then you may qualify for free insurance as part of unemployment benefits.




      • Jamey
        July 5, 2018 @ 8:39 am

        Can you also do the same if you are retiring? That is pay the enrollment fee 5000 and then 450 per month?

        My parents are thinking about coming here to retire.



        • Expat in Croatia
          July 7, 2018 @ 11:36 am

          Hi Jamey,

          Thank you for the question!

          If you are retired, you would be required to pay the 5.000 kuna fee for enrollment plus the 450 kuna per month thereafter. That being said, Croatia does not yet have a policy of accepting third-party national retirees, so they should not be expected to be welcomed with open arms. They may be able to stay for one or two years, but no longer than that without jumping through many many hoops.




          • Michelle Simmonds
            February 23, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

            My husband and I are considering retiring to Croatia in a few years from America. So how would we be able to consider getting health care after 2 years? Would we be able to get a policy through the United States, or would it be easier if we were trying to apply for permanent citizenship?

          • Expat in Croatia
            March 19, 2019 @ 11:12 am

            Hi Michelle,

            Are either you or your husband Croatian? If you aren’t, you should read these posts: and

            You won’t be able to apply for permanent residency until after having 5 continue years of temporary residency.



  5. Tony
    May 19, 2018 @ 5:25 pm

    Hi Sara and thanks for all the information in your blog. Maybe you can help with my enquiry.

    I am a British citizen and have been married to my Croatian wife over thirty-five years now. We live in London but I’ve always promised my wife that once work is finally done we will retire to her family and homeland. We have a house near Zadar and are now just a couple of years away from following up on our dream. In the information above you mention retired people but are you able to be a little more specific about retired please – I mean, I’ll be sixty and my wife will be sixty-one when we live in Croatia on a permanent basis. We will not be in receipt of our UK state pensions until 2026 but in the meantime we have my work based occupational pension to live on till that date. So, does that occupational pension count towards us being pensioners and retired?

    Also, do you know if there is a scheme for free prescriptions based on age – ie upon reaching aged sixty maybe.

    Thank you for your time Sara. Personally I can’t wait to live in Croatia. I love the country, our friends and family. We are there so often and it already feels like home to me.


    • Expat in Croatia
      May 29, 2018 @ 1:07 pm

      Hi Tony,

      Thank you for reaching out!

      Regarding prescriptions, most medications are free are very low cost with HZZO, the state insurance fund. You can trade in your UK policy for the Croatian policy. There is also a supplement you can purchase that will give you free prescriptions. You may read more about this here:

      You asked if occupational pension counts towards being pensioners and retired? Not sure I understand the question. Are you hoping to get retirement benefits from Croatia, or are you asking from a residential permit perspective? Since you are married to a Croatian, you are entitled to live here as her spouse. Croatia does not currently have a permit specifically for retirees from other nations.




  6. Paul
    July 28, 2018 @ 8:38 pm

    Hi Sara

    Thanks a lot for this blog. I’m finding it very useful. I have a range of questions, so I hope you don’t mind me concentrating them in one place, with some being irrelevant to this article of yours.

    I’m a British citizen, and plan to be resident in Croatia by 29th March 2019 (Brexit date). I’ll leave my current job at the end of 2018, and have spent the last 5 years saving up towards this big move. I have no need to work for at least 3 years, and I can evidence my savings to the authorities should it be required. So my Qs.

    From what I understand, I need to pay 5,000 kuna upfront and then 450 kuna per month thereafter for my health insurance – and that would satisfy the authorities for me to apply for residency(?).

    In order to apply for residency (ie beyond 90 days), do I need to have a rental agreement for a property? Or could I just be installed in an AirBNB initially? If I do need a rental agreement, must it be a 12 month contract, or would shorter suffice?

    Do I also require the OIB and a bank account (anything else?) before I apply for the residency? Is there a specific order one should get these in?

    Is it relatively simple to purchase a brand new car to get insurance on it as a foreigner?

    My sincere apologies for all these questions, and the grandest of appreciation in advance for any help you’re able to offer.

    Many thanks


    • Expat in Croatia
      August 7, 2018 @ 2:24 pm

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for following the blog!

      Now, answers to your questions…

      From what I understand, I need to pay 5,000 kuna upfront and then 450 kuna per month thereafter for my health insurance – and that would satisfy the authorities for me to apply for residency(?).
      >>Yes, correct. The monthly amount is now around 456 kuna. It would satisfy authorities with regards to the health insurance requirement. You may be able to trade in your English policy for a Croatian one.

      In order to apply for residency (ie beyond 90 days), do I need to have a rental agreement for a property? Or could I just be installed in an AirBNB initially? If I do need a rental agreement, must it be a 12 month contract, or would shorter suffice?
      >>Yes, you need to be registered on an address before you can apply for residency beyond the 90 days. To be registered on address, a notarized rental contract is required. Shorter may suffice, but better if it is a year.

      Do I also require the OIB and a bank account (anything else?) before I apply for the residency? Is there a specific order one should get these in?
      >>Yes, getting an OIB is your very first step. If the police ask that you prove financial stability by showing funds, then you will need to have a Croatian bank account. A foreign bank statement will not suffice.

      Is it relatively simple to purchase a brand new car to get insurance on it as a foreigner?
      >>It would depend if you are paying cash or intend to get a loan. It is unlikely you’ll be able to get a loan as a brand new foreigner.

      Good luck!



      • Vickie Brennan
        March 24, 2019 @ 12:12 pm

        FYI We were able to show a print out of our US bank account stating our balance and were not required to open a Croatian account. (Here at MUP in Zagreb) however we found it was easy to open one and once we did open a Croatian Bank it was easier to pay local bills. (filed for Temp Residency under “Other purposes” Oct 2018)


  7. Cheri Hasson
    September 22, 2018 @ 11:46 pm

    Cheri Hasson I want to move to Croasta My Dad was Croastion and my daughter took the Coastion test and now she is a citizen Would I qualify to live there What is the age of being able to be health insurane


    • Expat in Croatia
      September 24, 2018 @ 7:11 am

      Hi Cheri,

      If your dad was Croatian, you can apply for Croatian citizenship as long as you can provide all of the documentation. There is no age minimum for health insurance.




  8. Constance Wittneben
    October 24, 2018 @ 2:31 pm

    What documentation is required for citizenship? My grandparents immigrated from Yugoslavia to the United States in the early 1900’s.


    • Expat in Croatia
      October 29, 2018 @ 1:26 pm

      Hi Constance,

      You’ll need to show their heritage. Best is to have their domovnica (citizenship papers). You’ll also need to show how you are related to them, by birth certificate of you and your parents.




  9. Linda
    October 31, 2018 @ 3:34 am

    Hello Sara,

    Hope you can help with some advice. I live in Australia and have Croatian citizenship through my parents, who from Croatia. I’d like to live in Croatia and Italy for a few months next year.

    To get Croatian health insurance, do I need to pay 5,000 kuna upfront + 456 kuna per month?

    Would you recommend I get the European Health Insurance Card to be covered in Italy?

    Also, do you know whether the Croatian health insurance covers pregnancy-related healthcare?

    Thanks! Your site is very helpful.



    • Expat in Croatia
      December 11, 2018 @ 1:04 pm

      Hi Linda,

      Since you are a Croatian citizen, it is possible you will not need to pay the 5000 kuna upfront cost. You’ll need to check with HZZO. You will need to pay the monthly cost, which is about 456 kuna (it changes slightly each year).

      Yes, get a European Health Insurance Card card for Italy. You can get this from a kiosk machine at HZZO. It’s very easy.

      Yes, Croatian health insurance covers pregnancies.




  10. Emma Matilda
    December 13, 2018 @ 12:48 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for a great page with loads of useful information, can’t emphasize that enough!

    This might be a long post, I’m sorry for that but please bare with me 🙂

    I’m a Swedish citizen, working as a seaman abroad (outside EU).
    From 1st of February 2019 I’m planning to move to Rijeka and live there for at least a year.
    I read various comments here and I was wondering if you could give me some inputs on my understanding and/or correct me if I’m wrong .
    I will sign my leasing contract in the beginning of January next year and at the same time I was hoping to sort out as much additional stuff as I can while I’m in Rijeka.

    Would you say the order to get things sorted out as easy as possible would be similar to:
    – Sign the leasing contract
    – Obtain OIB
    – Register myself at HZZO
    (I understand I have to do this, even though I already have a private international health insurance)
    – Register myself with the Policija
    – Get the proof of residency or certificate of residency at the Policija in order to open a bank account

    Am I on the right track?
    Additionally, should I also register myself at the tax office separately or will they get all necessary information on my income and residency through the police office?

    I know I’m trying to get it all done with very short notice but due to the nature of my job I might be called back to the ship by mid-February. Do you think it’s possible to have all the paperwork completed by then, is the administration time very stretched?
    Finger Crossed it’ll go well!

    Thank You again for a fantastic page!

    Best Regards,
    Emma Matilda


    • Expat in Croatia
      January 10, 2019 @ 3:26 pm

      Hi Emma,

      I have rearranged the order a bit for you below:

      – Obtain OIB
      – Sign the leasing contract
      – Register address with the Policija
      – Start residence permit application with the Policija
      – Register myself at HZZO
      (I understand I have to do this, even though I already have a private international health insurance)
      – Get the proof of residency or certificate of residency at the Policija in order to open a bank account

      You only need to register at tax office separately if you plan on working and paying taxes in Croatia. If your income comes from outside Croatia, then you don’t need to.

      The residence permit is what will take the longest. The rest won’t take that long, but it’s best to be patient and unsurprised at delays.

      Good luck and thanks for following!




      • Carl Lundström
        May 13, 2019 @ 1:15 pm

        Som Sara skriver! Inte så farligt som det låter, men man får sitta ganska länge med nummerlappen i handen och sen få reda på att luckan för utlänningar stängde för en timma sedan, sånt. Men sen känns det ju desto roligare när man har det lilla blåa plastkortet i handen. Och ta MC-kort här istället för hemma. Billigare och lättare! [email protected]

        Sorry couldn´t miss the oppourtunity to use my mother tongue 🙂


      • Tom D
        November 20, 2020 @ 9:38 pm

        I’m so sorry, but what is “OIB”?


  11. Barbara
    March 26, 2019 @ 3:45 pm

    hello Sara,

    I would like some help in the following subject:
    My boy friend is Albanian, but he is living in Croatia to study, he has a scholarship in a boarding school (Adriatic Union College). He has the card for the health system of Croatia.
    Some time ago he needed to see a doctor for a particular problem, and got a prescription. But I remebered he needed to pay for the visit and the medicines…. He followed the prescription and after 2 motnhs he is still not well. I believe it is important for him to do an exam called colonoscopy.
    How can this exam be done? He needs to see the doctor again so he/she will give him that “uputnica” that you mentioned?
    Will he need to pay for this exam, if it is recommmended by the doctor?
    Thank you so much for your attention and help, your blog is sooo useful.
    Best regards,


    • Expat in Croatia
      March 26, 2019 @ 4:08 pm

      Hi Barbara,

      I’m sorry to hear your boyfriend is still not well. To get a colonscopy, he’ll need to go to his general doctor and make the request. This doctor will give him an uputnica to have this procedure done, most likely at the hospital. He will have to pay something, but it won’t be very much, maybe 50 to 200 kuna. I hope he gets the help he needs!




  12. Jane Tončić
    April 16, 2019 @ 11:42 am

    Hi Sara
    Great blog and very informative!

    My father in law who is 86, Croatian, and living in the UK for the last 50 odd years, is thinking of returning to Zagreb to live out his days; we think by renting a flat there. Do you know what his entitlement to healthcare would be and are there any risks or specific requirements to consider?

    Many thanks


    • Expat in Croatia
      April 16, 2019 @ 3:01 pm

      Hi Jane,

      Thank you for the question!

      He will need to give up his UK health insurance and sign up for Croatian healthcare through HZZO. Since he is a citizen and retired, he should be entitled the same benefits. However, since he hasn’t paid into the system in 50 years, I can’t say for sure. I would contact HZZO to ask what it would take to get him signed up for health insurance. If you do, please come back and share your experience as it will help others. 🙂




  13. Amy Mow
    May 16, 2019 @ 9:57 am

    Hi sara
    I am a US citizen and in croatia now with turist visa. I am hired by croatian company to work here. I’ve just turned all papers at police station. Address change approved letter. Work contract.
    How long will it be to get approved for work permit?
    And my son who is 22 years old and also US citizen is here with me. He wont be working here. What kind visa he needs or can get? What kind health insurance he needs?


    • Expat in Croatia
      May 27, 2019 @ 10:14 am

      Hi Amy,

      It can take a few weeks for a work permit to be approved, if you’ve completed all requirements.

      He may be able to apply for a permit based on “Family Reunification”, but that option is not guaranteed since he is a grown adult. It usually applies to minor children and spouses. There is only one kind of health insurance that is provided by HZZO.




  14. Enola
    June 13, 2019 @ 2:26 pm

    I’m 49 and will be returning to permanently to Croatia – not to work (I am retiring early). I have been living/working in Vietnam where private healthcare/BUPA was provided through my employer. I have recently left this job. Prior to this I was a resident in the UK up until 2009. I do not plan to return to the UK. I was born in Croatia so have the passport/putovnica and I have an OIB (there is an “OIB/PIN” # listed in my passport).

    From previous posts I understand that I may not have to pay the “up front” 5,000 kuna fee for health insurance/service, but I will have to pay the monthly fee.

    I would really like to know:

    1. is the monthly fee payable up front/ annually?
    2. where on the HZZO (?) website is this information? I am looking and cannot find it.
    3. Do I still need to register for residency as I’m already a citizen? I’m confused as a lot of advice tends to be for non-Croatian passport holders. If so, is this with the Police…or?

    Is there anything else I need to do/know/ be prepared for?

    Many thanks in advance for any advice and info you can offer.


    • Expat in Croatia
      June 18, 2019 @ 1:33 pm

      Hi Enola,

      Thanks for the question!

      1. Yes, you can pay the monthly fee. If you are of retirement age in Croatia, you may qualify to have your health insurance covered. You’ll need to speak to HZZO.

      2. Can you be more specific about what you want to find on the HZZO web site?

      3. You will need to register your address with the police. You’ll also need an ID card if you don’t already have one. I assume if you have been living abroad for a while that you don’t have a national ID. You can get this ID at the police as well.




  15. Joann
    July 25, 2019 @ 10:23 pm

    I’m planning to retire in Croatia. I’m Croatian by naturalization. I have international insurance through the Organization I have been working and I will continue to have it for life, same as my husband, he is not Croatian but he is part of my insurance as a dependent. Do I have to pay the contribution of 5.000 and the monthly payment?


    • Expat in Croatia
      August 7, 2019 @ 1:37 pm

      Hi Joann,

      As a Croatian citizen, you won’t be required to have the health insurance. However, your spouse will need to pay the initial contribution and the monthly payment for state health insurance.




  16. Ece
    August 21, 2019 @ 11:37 pm


    First of all thank you for the post! Not sure if it is entirely related to this post, since my question is also regarding the contribution fee of mandatory health insurance but here it goes:

    From what I understand of all the google translations of the regulations, even if you are a dependent of a Croatian citizen who is currently working, unless you have permanent citizenship you have to pay the monthly 500~/yearly 6000~ contribution fees to HZZO? So even if your spouse is working for at least 5 years you won’t be able to benefit from their insurance?

    Thank you in advance,


  17. Joan
    September 17, 2019 @ 7:58 pm

    My Croatian husband & I want to retire to Croatia in a few years. The only problem is that my son, a U.S. citizen, has a mental health issue. We’d like for him to be able to move to Croatia so he can be near us, but he won’t be able to live with us as he requires professional assistance. He currently resides in a board & care home and receives 2 different medication prescriptions per month. Is it possible for him to receive the same benefits in Croatia, including housing, that he has now? What type of cost would this involve?
    Thanks so much!


    • Expat in Croatia
      September 24, 2019 @ 12:34 pm

      Hi Joan,

      Thank you for the question. It is a new one! I really do not know the answer to this and there are a variety of factors at place, including that you have not already been living in Croatia and paying into the system. My recommendation would be for your husband to contact HZZO to see what is possible. If you do, you are welcome to post here to keep us all updated as chances are, someone may be in the same situation.

      If I find out anything in the meantime, I’ll be sure to let you know. 🙂




  18. Richard Kelley
    October 3, 2019 @ 11:14 pm


    I am a 77 years old US citizen married to a 66 year old Croatian lady and we want to permanently move to a home we own in Zagreb. I have several serious health care problems. My wife is retired and collects a pension from Croatia. I have two questions:
    1) Am I eligible for coverage under HZZO?
    2) Will I need private insurance to take advantage of private specialty clinics there?



    • Expat in Croatia
      October 4, 2019 @ 10:23 am

      Hi Richard,

      If you plan to live in Croatia, you will need to have health coverage through HZZO. There are no restrictions in terms of pre-existing conditions. Once you move here, you’ll apply for residency as the spouse of a Croatian national. Here are instructions: As part of that process, you’ll sign up for HZZO.

      You can use private clinics here with our without private health insurance. The cost is significantly lower than the US so it’s not uncommon to just pay out of pocket. That being said, there are Croatian insurers and international insurers where you can get policies to cover private healthcare if you so choose. I can recommend one if you contact me on email.




  19. Srdjan
    November 25, 2019 @ 6:01 am

    Hi Sara,
    Thank you for a lovely site.
    I am Croatian. My girlfriend is from Poland and she is pregnant. We are not yet married and we plan to deliver in Croatia. She doesn’t have residence in Croatia and it is too late for us now to get married and to arrange all the papers cause she is already in late pregnancy. So if she registers at HZZO and pay 5000 kn fee plus 456 kn per month, will this insurance cover delivery?? Is there any other step we need to make in order to deliver in hospital and not pay the cost of hospital, but that is covered by this insurance??
    Thank you in advance 🙂


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 25, 2019 @ 3:07 pm

      Hi Srdjan,

      Thanks for following!

      Yes, she should sign up for the stand alone policy with HZZO with the one-time fee plus the monthly premium. It should cover her pregnancy, but best to ask HZZO this to be certain when signing up for the policy.

      Additionally, I recommend paying for dopunsko as well so that you have no co-payments.

      Congratulations and good luck!




  20. Ross
    December 2, 2019 @ 3:34 pm

    Hi Sara,

    My partner and I have been approved by the Police in Sibenik to remain in Croatia for longer than 90 days. The extension is from 18 Oct 2019 to 31 May 2020. We arrived in Croatia on the 7 July. Our Potvrda O Podnijetom Zaht Jevu Za Izdavanje Dozvole Boravka has been paid for and is awaiting our uplift in Sibenik.

    The Sibenik Police advised us that we would be required to pay for Croatian health insurance for the period of Oct 19 to May 2020, even though we have international health insurance which covers us during the entire time we are in Croatia.

    We were summoned to visit the HZZO in Sibenik to speak to them about our health insurance. On visiting they advised us that we are not required to have Croatian health insurance for this period as we are covered by our own health insurance. The Police have again advised this is required.

    Can you please advise us if what we are required to have prior to us uplifting our temporary stay documents from the Police.

    We are


    • Expat in Croatia
      December 3, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

      Hi Ross,

      If the police are requiring that you be covered by state health insurance through HZZO, then that is what you will need to do to have legal residence. They have the ultimate say over what HZZO tells you.




  21. Adam De Laurentis
    January 12, 2020 @ 3:05 pm

    Hi Sara, Having read the various messages on this site I thought it might be useful to request you clarify the following.
    I am an Australian citizen, retired, in receipt of a government pension + small private income. Aged 72.
    No family connections to Croatia, but have visited numerous occasions.
    I am considering purchasing a property, in Istria, can you inform me what my situation would be if I resided in the property in excess of 183 days, per year. Specifically would I be liable to pay any tax.
    Would I be limited to 90 day, consecutive stays, in compliance with the schengen agreement.
    I would be particularly interested in hearing any comments/ advice you may be able to give regarding what options would be available to me regarding health insurance. Would I be able to contribute to the state scheme or have to arrange my own private health insurance.
    Sorry if this all sounds somewhat confusing.

    Best wishes



    • Expat in Croatia
      January 14, 2020 @ 3:49 pm

      Hi Adam,

      With no connections to Croatia, your legal ability to live in Croatia beyond 90 days will be limited. You can purchase a property, but that would only allow you to stay in Croatia for 6 months out of each year.

      Tax isn’t tied to residency. It’s tied to work, property purchase, etc.

      In your case, you’ll likely have to get private insurance. I can make a recommendation if you email me.




  22. Marie Borbely
    June 10, 2020 @ 7:56 pm

    My company has a Canadian expat on assignment in Croatia. He is not longer tied to the Canadian health care system. The company is paying the 16.5% Health Insurance Premium as part of the social security contributions. The company has enrolled the expat and partner in a private medical insurance program for the duration of their time in Croatia. But we now understand that they must also be enrolled in the HZZO program. Will the employer paid premiums suffice or are we required to also need to pay these additional premiums (5,000 kuna plus 456 per month)?


    • Expat in Croatia
      June 11, 2020 @ 10:36 am

      Hi Marie,

      Is the employee receiving a salary from a Croatian company or the Canadian company?




  23. Megumi
    August 10, 2020 @ 3:32 pm

    Hi Sara,
    I am a Italian Resident (US Citizen) who summers and winters in Croatia. In two years I will be a permanent EU resident and I plan on moving to Croatia. From my experience in Milan, while I have National Health Care insurance, I’ve gone to a private doctor and just paid to be seen in a timely manner for my opthamologist, gynecologist, allergist and dentist. In this case, does it make the most sense to just get the most basic required insurance and pay in cash for all other services?
    Also, my Croatian friend told me bank fees are expensive in Croatia. I won’t be working in Croatia. In this case, would it be best to keep most of the money in the US or Switzerland? I think I have to be an Italian Resident to have an Italian bank account.


    • Expat in Croatia
      August 13, 2020 @ 1:38 pm

      Hi Megumi,

      Yes, you could get the basic state health insurance in Croatia then pay out of pocket for any private doctors or clinics you want to visit.

      We will be publishing a post about banks and their fees in the next week or two. Follow our newsletter or our social media channels so you get an update once it is published.

      If you’re not making Croatian income, then there is no good reason to have a Croatian bank account.




  24. Ray
    August 28, 2020 @ 2:56 pm

    Hi Sara
    Thank you for all the useful information you provide. Question:
    Is 5000 kunas and 450 per month, per person or is there a family rate?
    Thanks Ray


    • Expat in Croatia
      August 31, 2020 @ 4:39 pm

      Hi Ray,

      That cost is per person. There is no family or child rate. It’s the same for everybody. The back pay is required for non-EU citizens only.

      Please also note that those amounts are from 2017. The new amounts are ~6500 kuna for the back pay of one year and ~550 kn per month. You can see the latest costs for health insurance here:




  25. adis diana
    September 15, 2020 @ 9:28 am

    Haii sara my name is adis and I currently move to zagreb it’s almost 3 months now…I need to ask, I have a 5 year old son and he need a health recommendation from pediatrician to enroll in a kindergarten. What I wanna ask is could I get that for free or I should pay for that? Because we don’t have health insurance, my husband is working at Indonesian Embassy and we’re under of Croatian ministry of foreign affairs here and the rules are we can’t apply for health insurance. And also I’m curious about vaccination, can my son get it for free or should I pay for it? Thanks a lot sara


    • Expat in Croatia
      September 16, 2020 @ 8:13 am

      Hi Adis,

      You can only get subsidized healthcare if you have HZZO obavezno insurance through the state. In this case, you will need to pay yourself for these treatments.




  26. Tom
    November 20, 2020 @ 9:48 pm

    Also, should I apply for HZZO prior to arriving in Croatia? I’m an early retiree from the US looking to apply for residency at the police station upon my arrival.
    Thank you so much!


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 24, 2020 @ 12:04 pm

      Hi Tom,

      When applying for residence, you must have your own private health insurance. Once you are approved for residence, you will have 8 days to sign up for HZZO health insurance. Only legal residents can have HZZO and it can only be applied for in person at a HZZO office.




  27. Marin
    November 28, 2020 @ 12:23 am

    Hi Sara,

    I’m a dual Citizen(US and Croatia). I am preparing, as soon as covid permits, to take a year off work to travel around Europe. As a citizen, am I eligible for Croatian health insurance even if I’m not a tax payer/resident(only plan on spending a few months in Croatia of that year)? This seems to be a cheaper option than getting expat health insurance.


    • Expat in Croatia
      November 30, 2020 @ 11:56 am

      Hi Marin,

      You must have residence in Croatia to qualify to apply for HZZO. For a citizen, that means you have a legal address registered with the police and you have an osobna iskanica.




  28. Thomas
    December 24, 2020 @ 6:32 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for the information provided on your pages!

    Here’s my question: I’m a EU passport holder (German national) living in the US for the last 25 years. (Side note: I used to go to Croatia a lot when it was still Yugoslavia in the 1980’s)
    My wife is a US citizen. We’re thinking about retirement in Croatia in a few years. I understand that this shouldn’t be a problem for me as EU-citizen.
    How about my wife, can she maintain legal residency in Croatia? What’s the legal pathway?


  29. Louise Japundzic
    December 27, 2020 @ 5:17 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Great blog!! Thank you!!
    I am Danish, married to a Croatian. I am working in Croatia through a Croatian company, so I have the health insurance. My question is, do I go to the same GP as my husband or will I go to HZZO and they assign my my own family doctor?



    • Expat in Croatia
      January 3, 2021 @ 12:59 pm

      Hi Louise,

      You can go to any doctor that you wish. HZZO doesn’t assign doctors. If you want it to be covered by HZZO, then you need to make sure the doctor is a partner with HZZO. You can certainly use the same GP as your husband.




  30. SINEAD
    January 11, 2021 @ 4:01 pm

    Hi Lucy,

    I have to say your blog is so so helpful for me to date, thank you so much!!!

    I am a UK citizen currently living in Croatia. I am employed by a UK company. The intention is to be in Croatia part of each year and the UK. I’ve been through the process of registering my address with the police (what a fun experience that was) after jumping through many holes, getting my OIB, proof of earnings etc and all that jazz, they gave me a certificate to prove my temporary residency on Dec 15th. . I intend to now pay and get a card instead. I left the country for xmas on the 16th Dec and returned this week to Croatia.

    I understand now that I must pay for insurance via HZZO though I am unaware as how to go about this. Would there be somewhere that I go in person, or should there be a registration online. I looked on their website, but I couldn’t seem to find it.

    In addition to this is there anything else I need to consider or be aware of?

    Many thanks,



    • Expat in Croatia
      January 12, 2021 @ 10:51 am

      Hi Sinead,

      Thanks for reaching out! I’m so glad to hear the site has been helpful to you!

      You must sign up for health insurance in person at the closest HZZO office to you. Here is a list.

      You should bring proof that you were insured for the previous 12 months to avoid paying the 1 year of backpay.




      • Jenny
        March 14, 2021 @ 5:04 am

        [email protected] stated a Croatian citizen coming from the US would pay 16.5% of their pension but no more than 1514.87 kunas. Isn’t that different than what you stated?


        • Expat in Croatia
          March 26, 2021 @ 12:11 am

          Hi Jenny,

          Thanks for your patience. We spent a great deal of time on the phone with HZZO and the tax administration trying to get this sorted out. They would not give us any concrete numbers.

          We referenced this page:

          A pensioner insured on the basis of a pension or disability allowance
          from abroad who doesn’t have foreign health insurance:
          – Tax administration calculates the exact amount for each individual
          – The percentage for health insurance is 16,5%
          – They calculate it on the basis of pension or disability allowance, but
          the amount can’t be lower than the lowest monthly base and higher than
          the average salary

          We found the lowest and highest monthly bases here:
          (3.488,78 kuna – 9.181,00 kuna)

          Based on these, we calculated:
          – 16.5% of the lowest amount: 575,65 kuna
          – 16.5% of the highest amount: 1.514,87 kuna

          The latter matches what you were told. We clarified this within the post. Thank you for the question!




  31. Sonja
    April 6, 2021 @ 6:44 pm

    Hi Sara,
    I wasn’t sure where to put my question, but I thought it might fit in “healthcare”.
    I have to go to the hospital for a week. In my home country it was customary to leave an envelope for the nurses on departure (for the coffee box). How is it here? A gift of money? Chocolates?
    I don’t want to do anything wrong.
    Thanks in advance for suggestions.

    Kind regards


    • Expat in Croatia
      April 11, 2021 @ 2:33 pm

      Hi Sonja,

      Nurses always appreciate coffee and chocolates. My recommendation would be to give these while you are in the hospital, as it will lead to slightly better care.




  32. Yvette
    August 9, 2021 @ 5:57 pm

    Hi Sara! My husband and two young kids (3 and 1 year old) are planning to stay 6 months in Porec and 6 month down south near Slipt starting January 2021. We worry about medical care for children especially during pandemic. Any insight you can share regarding this? We heard many good doctors and specialists have left for Germany and Switzerland. Also, no hospital visit is allowed during pandemic… which means leaving the kids in hospital alone without their parents. Thanks!!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Expat in Croatia Newsletter and get a FREE GUIDE to the 9 Tips for Battling Croatia's Bureaucracy.