Croatia’s state health care obavezno insurance, what it costs and what is included (in 2021)

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In Croatia, there is both public and private health insurance that can be used with both public and private healthcare providers. HZZO, the state health fund, offers two options for health insurance:

  • Obavezno – Mandatory coverage for all residents
  • Dopunsko – Optional supplemental coverage

Since basic obavezno health insurance is required of all residents, it is important to understand what the costs and covers before moving here. Be forewarned, it might give you sticker shock.

In this post, we’ll cover how everything you need to know about Croatia’s required state health insurance called “obavezno” including:

This guide can help you plan your personal healthcare costs in Croatia and it can also help future business owners plan for the cost of employees. Employers are required by law to cover the cost of their employee’s basic obavezno health insurance.

What does obavezno state health insurance include?

Obavezno health insurance is offered through the state agency HZZO. This health care coverage is made up of 2 parts:

  1. Zdravstvena zaštita (health care)
  2. Novčana naknada (financial compensation)

Zdravstvena zaštita (health care)

The health care side of obavezno refers to your ability to get subsidized healthcare treatment from doctors or facilities that are in the HZZO system.

Since it is subsidized, you will pay a small co-pay in most cases for doctor or hospital visits as well as for most medications. To eliminate this co-payment, you must sign up for dopunsko supplemental coverage.

With obavezno, you have a right to:

  • Primarna zdravstvena zaštita (primary health care)
    • Family doctor
    • Gynecologist
    • Pediatrician
    • Dentist
    • E-uputnica (electronic referrals for laboratory tests)
  • Specijalističko-konzilijarna zdravstvena zaštita (specialist-consultative health care)
    • Medical examinations by specialist doctors
    • Uputnica (referral)
    • Putni nalog (travel warrant)
  • Bolnička zdravstvena zaštita (hospital health care)
    • Hospital treatment
    • Uputnica (referral)
    • Putni nalog (travel warrant)
  • Medicines from osnovna lista lijekova (basic list, also called “List A”) and dopunska lista lijekova (additional list also called “List B”) as determined by the HZZO
    • E-recept (electronic prescriptions for medicines that can be picked up at a pharmacy)
  • Dental aids from osnovna lista (basic list) and dopunska lista (additional list) determined by the HZZO
  • Orthopedic and other aids from osnovna lista (basic list) and dopunska lista (additional list) determined by the HZZO
  • Urgent or necessary health care in other EU member states
  • Urgent health care in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro and Turkey per an international agreement on social insurance – A form is required prior to travel.

Novčana naknada (financial compensation)

In addition to standard health care, you also have a right to financial compensation related to medical issues.

The situations in which you may receive financial compensation from HZZO through your obavezno insurance include:

  • Salary compensation during temporary inability to work
  • Salary compensation due to inability to perform working activities that prevent earning other types of income
  • Compensation for transport costs due to the use of health care from obavezno zdravstveno
  • Compensation for accommodation costs to a parent or a person who’s caring for a child during child’s hospital treatment

Cost of Croatia’s basic “obavezno” state health insurance and who must pay for it

Basic health coverage through HZZO is charged depending on your situation. These are the situations that affect the cost of your health insurance:

Now, we’ll go over each individual situation and cover the health insurance premiums.

You are not employed in Croatia, but don’t collect unemployment in Croatia either

This situation covers a good chunk of the foreigners living in Croatia. Perhaps you live here, but you earn an income that comes from abroad or maybe you’re just financially independent.

In this case, the exact rate you will pay in 2021 is 575,65 kuna per month.

Depending on the basis for you residence permit, the police may only require some kind of travel insurance for your permit application. This is because it’s unclear if you’ll be approved for residency. Once you are approved, you will be required to register for state health insurance.

You are employed by a Croatian company

If you are an employee in Croatia, your company is required by law to pay for your obavezno health insurance as part of your salary. If you own a Croatian company, then you are required by law to pay yourself a salary, which will include pension and health insurance.

In this case, the cost of your health insurance is calculated based on your total salary. In terms of salary, there is neto and bruto. Neto salary is the net amount you get paid on your bank account each month. Bruto salary is the amount you receive on account, plus taxes and pension.

The health insurance premium is 16,5% of your bruto salary amount, then is added on top of bruto. For example, if your bruto salary is 6.000 kuna, then your health insurance cost is 990 kuna. This brings the total monthly employment amount that your employer must spend to employ you to 6.990 kuna.

You can use this calculator to play with the bruto salary to calculate health insurance costs as well as pension and taxes. Please note that if you’re using this calculator to also estimate taxes, keep in mind that the percentage charged for “porez i prirez” varies from city to city.

You are an EU citizen

EU citizens can continue to use their existing state health care from their native country as long as they are paying into the system in their native country. However, they can only use their foreign state insurance in Croatia for urgent care. For regular, non-urgent health care, you must return to your home country. To get access to urgent care, you will need your EU health insurance card (EHIC).

If you are an EU citizen that is no longer paying into the state health program in your home country after moving to Croatia, then you must start a new policy with HZZO.

In this case, the exact rate you will pay in 2021 is 575,65 kuna per month. HZZO will request that you provide proof from the state health insurer in your home country that you no longer have a policy.

If you are a UK citizen, we’ve outlined how health insurance will work specifically for you post-Brexit here.

You are unemployed AND collect unemployment from Croatia

Unemployed people can request that their HZZO health insurance premium be covered by the state only if they notify HZZO within 30 days of losing their job (if they quit job or got fired). It should be noted this only applies to those that lose their job at a Croatian company. As part of this process, you’ll also have an interview with HZZ (a different agency) upon losing your job.

You are unemployed AND married to an employed person

In certain scenarios, the spouse of an employed person can get health insurance at no additional cost based on their spouse’s employment. There are two scenarios within this case.

Scenario #1 – If you are a Croatian citizen, then you can be covered by your employed spouse’s health insurance.

Scenario #2 – If you are an EU/EEA citizen, then you must have temporary OR permanent residence to be covered by your spouse’s health insurance. The application procedure is standard. Go to HZZO and apply for health insurance.

Scenario #3 – If you are a third-country national, you can’t be covered by your employed spouse’s health insurance regardless of your spouse’s nationality or your residence status.

You are working as a freelancer for a Croatian company

This is a rare case, yet still has its own unique rate for health insurance. It is a rare case because hiring a freelancer is, quite frankly, a pain in the butt for any Croatian company.

When hiring a freelancer, there must be a contract that defines the amount they will be paid and the term in which it will be paid. On top of this amount, the employer must pay for health insurance, taxes and pension. There are two pension funds, so the company must pay into the pension funds for which the freelancer is registered. Some are only in one, some are in both. For all of these reasons, freelancers are usually just paid in cash to avoid this whole mess (which is not legal, for the record).

In the case where a freelancer is hired properly and legally, the health insurance cost is calculated as 7,5% of their bruto payment and is paid for by the employer.

You can learn more about hiring freelancers (or working as a freelancer in Croatia) here.

You are a digital nomad

To qualify for residence in Croatia as a digital nomad, you must have private health insurance coverage for the entire term of your permit (up to 1 year). However, digital nomads are exempt from mandatory obavezno state health insurance in Croatia.

This means that you have the option to sign up for state health insurance after you are approved for residence, but it is not required as it is with other types of residence.

We wrote a detailed guide on how to apply for the digital nomad residence permit in Croatia. You can find it here.

You are retired AND earn a foreign pension

From the start, it is important to mention that HZZO will only know if you are collecting a foreign pension if you tell them. You are obligated to tell them. However, if you don’t know you are obligated to tell them, then it is possible nothing will ever come of it especially if you are not receiving your foreign pension on a Croatian bank account. Please also note that you may be obligated to pay income tax on your pension depending on the treaty Croatia has with your pension country.

If you notify HZZO of your foreign pension, you will be charged 16,5% of your pension payment for health insurance. If you are receiving a pension from a western nation with a higher cost of living, 16,5% can be quite a hefty chunk of money.

Tax administration calculates the exact amount for each individual. So, the percentage of health insurance is 16,5% of your pension. Tax administration will calculate the exact amount on the basis of your pension, but the basis for calculation can’t be lower than the lowest monthly base and higher than the average salary.

16.5% of the lowest amount/monthly base (3.488,78 kuna) is 575,65 kuna. This is the lowest amount that you can pay.
16.5% of the highest amount/average salary (9.181,00 kuna) is 1.514,87 kuna. This is the highest amount that you can pay.

Side note: Depending on the treaties Croatia has with your country, you may also be required to pay income tax on your foreign pension. If you wish to consult with an attorney or accountant to find out if you are liable for income tax, contact me.

You are retired AND earn a Croatian pension

The amount you owe for health insurance is calculated based on the amount of your pension in comparison to the average Croatian salary for that year. If your pension is lower than the average salary, you pay 1% of your pension for health insurance. If your pension is higher than the average salary, you pay 3% of your pension.

You are under 18 years of age AND the child of a Croatian or EU citizen

Children under 18 years have a right to health insurance (given that their parents or foster parents are EU citizens). The cost of their obavezno policy is covered by the state.

You are under 18 years of age AND the child of a third-country citizen

Children under 18 years whose parents are third-country citizens and temporary residents are treated just like their parents. They must have their own health insurance policies with the monthly premium of 575,65 kuna per month in 2021. The 1-year of back pay of 6.900 kuna must also be paid for each child.

Only children of third-country citizens who are also permanent residents may be covered by their parent’s health insurance policy.

You are under 26 years of age AND a student

If a child goes on to college after high school and is under 26, they retain their right to health insurance through their parents or foster parents if those parents are EU or Croatian citizens, or third-country  nationals with permanent residence. The cost of their obavezno policy is covered by the state.

You earn less than the “low income” threshold

Citizens with low income are exempt from paying health care premiums for obavezno. The low income threshold is calculated based on the person’s total income in the previous calendar year, per family member, as it compares to the average national salary.

If it is a family, income must be lower than 1.516,32 kuna per family member per month or 45,59% of the average national salary. If it is a single person, income must be lower than 1.939,39 kuna per month or 58,31% of the average national salary.

You are in a protected group

There are certain groups that can get free basic insurance through HZZO including:

  • Children of dependents that are incapable of living and working independently
  • People with residency in Croatia that are incapable of independent life
  • Family members of dead or missing Croatian armed forces members
  • Disabled members of the Croatian armed forces

How to check the status of your state health insurance

If you are unsure of the status of your obavezno or dopunsko state health insurance, you can always check your policy on the HZZO web site here. All you need is your OIB number. This page will tell you if your policy is valid or not.

Who must pay the first year of “back pay” when first signing up

HZZO requires that certain people pay a year of premiums for the previous year when first signing up for state health insurance. This can be frustrating for some, but it is based on a pragmatic reason.

Once someone signs up for HZZO, they are completely insured. There is no waiting period until your health insurance kicks in. That means you can immediately get care or surgery or diagnostics, or whatever you need.

If you’ve just arrived to Croatia and immediately get surgery, you would not have paid enough into the system to cover that cost. The Croatian health care system cannot support that. To avoid a scenario where people cannot take advantage of the system, new insurance applicants must pay a year of health insurance premiums for the previous year when they were not in Croatia (in some scenarios).

We’ll go over those scenarios now.

  1. Any third-country national must pay 1 year of back pay.
  2. People who come from the EU as well as Croatian citizens must bring a written confirmation to HZZO proving the exact time period during the previous 12 months that they were insured outside Croatia. They will pay insurance only for those months when they weren’t insured.

For example, let’s say a German citizen was insured abroad for 10 of the previous 12 months before signing up for HZZO. This person will have to back pay premiums for 2 previous months and not the whole year.

Cost of supplemental “dopunsko” public health insurance

Dopunsko is an optional health insurance supplement that covers many co-payments that may be charged when visiting the doctor or filling prescriptions at the pharmacy. To learn more about what dopunsko is and why you should have it, read this post.

There are less variables when it comes to the cost of dopunsko. The cost varies depending on your age and from where you get the policy. You can get it directly from HZZO or you can get it from a bank or private insurance company.

The cost of dopunsko usually varies from 40 kuna to 80 kuna per month.

There are some groups of people who are entitled to free dopunsko. These groups include:

  • Children under 18 years
  • People with disabilities resulting in 100% body damage
  • People with mental or physical diseases who can’t perform certain activities on their own
  • War veterans with at least 30% body damage
  • Parents with 3 or more children under 18 years
  • Victims who experienced sexual violence during Domovinski Rat (Homeland War)
  • Organ donors
  • Blood donors – Women must give more than 25 times and men must give more than 35 times.
  • Low income people – As defined by the thresholds defined earlier in this post.

EU citizens whom are using health insurance from their home country cannot get dopunsko because it is considered a supplement to the obavezno policy through HZZO. If you don’t have obavezno, you cannot get dopunsko.

Other health insurance options

There is a higher level supplemental insurance above dopunsko called “dodatno”, but the is a private-only policy so we won’t dive into the costs of this here since it isn’t public, but you can read about it on this post.

What was your experience with HZZO health care? Tell us in the comments.

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70 thoughts on “Croatia’s state health care obavezno insurance, what it costs and what is included (in 2021)

  1. Jerry Vlasic
    May 31, 2020 @ 6:15 pm

    If you are retired AND earn a foreign pension, I see the cost can be much higher. Is the cost the same (16-plus%) if you are a Croatian citizen and earn a foreign pension, or does this higher cost only apply to non-Croatian citizens who earn foreign pensions? I enjoy your website.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 1, 2020 @ 10:29 am

      Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for following!

      The amount a Croatian citizen receiving a Croatian pension owes for health insurance is calculated based on the amount of your pension in comparison to the average Croatian salary for that year. If your pension is lower than the average salary, you pay 1% of your pension for health insurance. If your pension is higher than the average salary, you pay 3% of your pension.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • John Nesbitt
        June 2, 2020 @ 5:57 pm

        Hi Sara,

        I wanted to ask a question regarding health insurance costs. I am considering moving abroad and am interested in Croatia. If I have just my social security from the states, how would that factor in in terms of health care costs if I disclosed it as such?

        Any insight is appreciated.

        Best,

        John

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          June 3, 2020 @ 1:39 pm

          Hi John,

          Thanks for the question!

          In this post, we have a section for foreigners receiving foreign retirement. This would apply to you since you are receiving social security. Look for the section called “You are retired AND earn a foreign pension”.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

      • Mark
        April 15, 2021 @ 7:56 am

        Hi Sara,
        Awesome website!
        I just wanted to double check here.
        If I am a Croatian Citizen (by parents), living in HR for around 4 months a year and self-retired (meaning earning a self funded pension as opposed to via a government pension) then the HZZO payment would be 575,65 kuna per month for each adult an fall in your first category as opposed to the 16,5%?
        Thanks 🙂

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          April 28, 2021 @ 9:34 am

          Hi Mark,

          Yes, that is correct!

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

          • Mark
            April 29, 2021 @ 9:06 am

            Thanks Sara 🙂

  2. Amelia Green
    June 20, 2020 @ 6:22 pm

    Hello Sara,
    I am from the US and will be attending college in ZG in the fall. I am under 26 years old. How do I apply for health insurance and how much should I pay?

    Thanks,
    Amelia

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 22, 2020 @ 11:18 am

      Hi Amelia,

      Thanks for the question!

      You will pay the standard rate of ~550kuna per month for health insurance. You can apply at the closest HZZO office to your residence in Croatia. You’ll need to show that you are residing in Croatia or that you are in process of applying for residence. MUP can provide you with the necessary proof.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  3. Erin
    July 24, 2020 @ 5:51 am

    In regards to childrens’ right to insurance: Assuming two third-country nationals jump through all of the necessary hoops to obtain the 1 year residency permit and pay the lump sum for the previous year as well as the monthly ongoing cost, will their children be insured? Or will this couple incur an additional previous year lump sum due plus ongoing monthly costs for each child?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      July 31, 2020 @ 12:17 pm

      Hi Erin,

      Thank you for the question! After receiving it, we called HZZO to confirm the answer to this. Children of third-country nationals are not covered through their parents. They must have their own policies, which includes the monthly premium PLUS the previous year payment. They are treated just like their parents. We’ve updated this post accordingly.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

    • dee
      January 18, 2021 @ 2:48 am

      I’m currently here on a tourist visa and applying for temporary residency for an additional 3 months. If I understand correctly, I need to have private insurance for the 3 months just to apply for residency. Then, once approved, I will also have to back-pay a whole year into the healthcare system, plus the cost for the 3 months that I’m here???

      {reply}

      • Expat in Croatia
        January 28, 2021 @ 12:12 pm

        Hi Dee,

        Yes, that is correct! The healthcare system cannot handle an influx of people so they want you to pay into the system to make up for what you may get out of it.

        Regards,

        Sara

        {reply}

  4. Michael Zulim
    August 11, 2020 @ 5:24 am

    Hi, question on insurance on a foreign pension. Is that 16.5 % per month of my salary or is it a yearly cost? Do I have to provide them with a pay stub or such as my pension would be pretty high for Croatian standards. Does a US pension need to pay taxes in Croatia? Thank you

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 13, 2020 @ 1:31 pm

      Hi Michael,

      It is 16,5% of your monthly pension income, which is proved by some kind of pension income statement. Yes, it is an EXTREMELY high amount to pay for health insurance, which is why most pensioners just don’t tell HZZO about their foreign pension.

      Croatian residents are “supposed” to report their worldwide income.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Savannah Hamilton
        February 18, 2021 @ 2:41 pm

        Hi,

        I keep on getting the monthly bills via post (often have to go to the post office with my passport to pick it up since I’m not home during delivery).

        I’m concerned as there is a 10 day window to pick it up and I’m planning on being away for a month or two so I wouldn’t be able to get the bill. Is there any way to pay online or have someone pick up my bill if they have my passport on hand? Or what happens if I miss paying for a couple months?

        (I am on a one-year temp visa and have a Croatian bank account – if that helps)

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          February 24, 2021 @ 4:41 pm

          Hi Savannah,

          You can put your mail on hold or forward it to another address temporarily. Here are instructions: https://www.expatincroatia.com/hold-forward-mail/

          Also, you can always pay your bill in advance. The amount for insurance is always the same, so you just need to copy the info onto a new uplatnica.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

  5. Brady
    August 26, 2020 @ 8:20 am

    Hi Sara,

    I am a 20 year-old Canadian/Croatian citizen. I will be visiting Croatia for a period of three months this fall. I am also a full-time student at the University of British Columbia in Canada but, I will be working remotely this fall. I am interested to know if I will have to pay for obavezno insurance when in Croatia, seeing that neither of my parents lived (or even visited) Croatia for any period of time in their lives and have thus, have never paid for health insurance. Any knowledge or guidance would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,

    Brady

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 26, 2020 @ 10:00 am

      Hi Brady,

      If you are only going to be in Croatia for less than 90 days, you will be considered a tourist. Tourists are not required to pay for state health insurance.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Brady
        August 27, 2020 @ 7:02 pm

        Thank you, Sara. 🙂

        I was interested in getting insurance due to the COVID-19 situation, but knowing how quickly things work in Croatia, I would probably get access to coverage only right before I leave.

        {reply}

  6. Keith Harding
    September 13, 2020 @ 9:35 am

    Sara,
    If I apply for HZZO insurance does this also cover my partner who I live with?
    I am British and she is Slovenian and we have been living in Croatia for about a year.
    We both do not receive a pension and just use my private funds.
    Also would I receive a European heath insurance card to use in other EU countries?
    Regards
    Keith

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 14, 2020 @ 11:21 am

      Hi Keith,

      You each will need your own HZZO policies.

      Yes, you can get an European health card from HZZO to use when traveling in other EU countries.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  7. Xhorxhina
    September 20, 2020 @ 5:12 pm

    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for the useful information. I wanted to ask if I need to do a basic insurance since I’m Albanian but I have an Italian permanent permit of stay, thus I have the EU health insurance card but I’m not and EU citizens. Do you know how it works or whom I could ask?

    Thank in advance.

    {reply}

    • Xhorxhina
      September 20, 2020 @ 5:20 pm

      *sorry I wanted to say that I have an Italian health insurance card

      {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      September 23, 2020 @ 9:40 am

      Hi Xhorxhina,

      Your Italian state health insurance should suffice for the purposes of applying for residence in Croatia.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  8. Brady
    September 30, 2020 @ 1:10 am

    Hi Sara,

    I wrote to you at the end of last month with questions about whether I need to purchase health insurance. I have started renting an apartment in Zadar and I believe I will be staying here more than 3 months. I am confused as to whether I have to pay for medical insurance for last year because I am a Croatian citizen. I also have no clue on how I am supposed to calculate and pay my monthly premium or if different rules/pricing apply to me because I am a full-time university student (at a university in Canada). Would you be able to refer me to a webpage or give me the contact information of someone who may be able to help me?

    Hvala vam,

    Brady

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      October 6, 2020 @ 8:26 am

      Hi Brady,

      Thanks for your patience! We had to gt a hold of HZZO to get answers to your questions.

      Since you are a Croatian citizen, you need to bring written confirmation to HZZO when enrolling that shows when you were last insured outside of Croatia. If you were fully insured outside Croatia until you got here, then you don’t pay any back pay. If you were insured 7 out of the last 12 months before coming to Croatia, you’ll pay 5 months of back pay.

      I’ve added this scenario to the above post for everyone’s reference.

      Regarding your premium, it will be ~550 kuna. There is not a student rate for health insurance, unless you are a minor covered by a parent.

      If you have further questions, feel free to reach out.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  9. Laurina Stapleton
    October 13, 2020 @ 12:53 am

    Hi Sarah,

    I have 3 questions….

    (1) What if you are only staying for 6 months? Will you be required to pay 6 months up front or do you still have to pay for the entire year? Also, my US insurance covers for emergencies internationally (emergencies only)….would that not suffice for the 6 month duration?

    (2) Since I will still be working for my company in the US, do you know if there will be any tax implications that the Croatian government would require against the US company that I work for?

    (3) I know they are finalizing a digital nomad permit, do you know how this would be different? Maybe its for longer than 1 year stays?

    Thank you! 🙂

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 10, 2020 @ 11:06 am

      Hi Laurina,

      Here are answers:

      1) You always have to pay the entire year in back pay if you are a non-EU national. It’s not about how long you plan to stay, it’s about feeding into the healthcare system before you start using it.

      2) Croatia and the US do not have a double taxation treaty. So you’ll have to pay taxes in both Croatia and the US. Croatia is residency based taxation, so you’ll have to pay taxes on your US income if you are in Croatia more than 183 days.

      3) They are not finalizing the digital nomad permit. There is discussion about it but no definitive details have been released and there is no time frame.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  10. Noris
    November 5, 2020 @ 2:28 am

    Hi Sara,

    I am interested to live in Croatia, before the U.K. exits in December 2020.

    However, I see that applying for health insurance requires a temporary residence, while the form of temporary residence application requires that I need to have health insurance in order to apply for the residence.

    What should I do? Should I apply for the temporary residence first or the health insurance first?
    Hence, what is OID? can I still apply for health insurance without OID?

    Thank you very much.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 10, 2020 @ 10:50 am

      HI Noris,

      If you apply as a UK resident before end of 2020, then you can use your EHIC card (which you get from NHS). Then once approved, you can sign up for HZZO.

      By OID, I assume you are referring to the OIB. Your OIB is your identification number. You’ll need this to sign up for HZZO.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  11. helen
    November 5, 2020 @ 11:51 am

    Hi there, thank you for such a great site ! We are financially independent 60 year olds and live in Croatia as temporary residents, we are now in position where we need to get HZZO registered and have European passports (dual citizenships) although have been covered on UK European health card up to end of this year when UK leaves EU. Our question is we read somewhere there are initial payments to be made to HZZO like 1,000 euros when we register. Is this still true – just a bit worried we will get shock when we go , Thanks for any comments or help.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 10, 2020 @ 10:48 am

      Hi Helen,

      If you are an EU citizen, then you only have to pay the back payment if you were uninsured during the previous 12 months. If you had NHS and had your EHIC card, then you can prove were covered during this time and therefore do not need to pay the back payment.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  12. andrew
    November 5, 2020 @ 2:45 pm

    hi not sure if you received my message as cant see on site

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 10, 2020 @ 11:02 am

      Hi Andrew,

      I don’t show another comment from you. Please submit your comment again and I will answer.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  13. Paul
    November 24, 2020 @ 10:39 am

    Hi Sara,

    Great article! Very useful. Thank you!

    I think my wife and I have a slightly different profile to those covered by the various scenarios in the article.

    My wife (non-EU) and I (British) are retired residents in Croatia. We have not lived in our respective home countries for many (20+) years. We have been in Croatia for the last 18 months on international private insurance (the HZZO advised us that this was acceptable when we went to their office this time last year). For completeness of info, we have no state pensions and are not taking any unemployment benefits.

    We are now planning to leave our current private health policies and sign up for the Croatian state insurance and hope you may have some insight into a couple of Qs that we have:

    (1) Your article states that “HZZO may also request that you provide proof from the state health insurer in your home country that you no longer have a policy”. Given the length of absence, I suspect that we are probably no longer even “in the system” of our home states. In this type of situation do you know if the proof would still be required?

    If they do require proof from our home states I must admit I have no idea where to even begin!

    (2) As an EU citizen who has had international private health insurance (but no home state insurance) for the past 10 years, would I be required to pay the one-year backpay?

    Many thanks for any info you may have on these 2 Qs.

    Paul

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 24, 2020 @ 12:17 pm

      Hi Paul,

      This is definitely a very unique case you and your wife have.

      (1) They are always going to ask for this. If you can prove you’ve been privately insured for many years, then maybe they will accept that. I would just press on them hard to give up on this requirement including but not limited to bringing them cookies and a brick of coffee and saying pretty please. 🙂

      (2) For EU citizens, they want to see that you are insured for the previous 12 months. They accept the private insurance you’ve had so bring proof of that.

      Thanks for reading!

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  14. Militza Kovacevic
    November 28, 2020 @ 3:07 pm

    Hi Sara!
    Thank you very much for the information and for every answer you give.
    As I see that each case may be different, I’ll tell you mine so you can clarify if you can.

    I have Croatian citizenship by descent.
    At the moment I am in Croatia and I have the “prijavi boravišta”, because a relative helped me with his address while I find something permanent. And i have mi OIB number.
    – I don’t have a job (I’m starting to register at the employment office)
    – I have two children, ages 7 and 10, who still do not have their Croatian citizenship because it is being processed at the Croatian embassy in Brazil, they have a Colombian passport
    – My Colombian husband who does not have citizenship either because he is also in process at the same embassy since February 2020

    At the moment I am alone here, my family has not yet arrived, but we believe they will arrive at the end of December.
    I am insured by my health insurance in Colombia, and I have the 90 days that they grant me when you are outside the country, which is January 31

    How should I face the health issue, with my particular case?
    Sorry for the length, but I feel that as each case is different, every detail counts.
    Thank you!!!

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      November 30, 2020 @ 11:54 am

      Hi Militza,

      You are right, every case is different. Based on what you’ve shared with me, you need to register with HZZO for health insurance. As long as you can prove that you’ve been insured for the last 12 months, then you do not have to pay the year of back pay. You will need to pay the monthly cost going forward for yourself, and then for the rest of your family when they arrive.

      I think the one question that I can’t answer because we haven’t dove down this particular rabbit hole yet is will you qualify for health insurance to be paid based on unemployment since you’ve never paid into the system. My assumption is no, but that could be wrong. I would ask that of HZZ when you register your unemployment. Usually to apply for unemployment payments, you must first prove that you have been employed first.

      I’ll move this topic up in our queue and will address it early 2021.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  15. Zara
    December 2, 2020 @ 4:46 pm

    Hi Sara, you’re so kind to provide this service for everyone. My question is about my mom who has a small Croatian pension and in addition has an Australian pension. She’s not had insurance and rarely utilizes doctors however she’s 92. How much is the back payment?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 9, 2020 @ 10:53 am

      Hi Zara,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      The back payment is 12 months of premiums. The current rate is 562 kuna per month.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  16. Martina
    December 30, 2020 @ 12:50 am

    Hi Sara,

    My husband and I really appreciate the info you’ve provided in your article. As we are trying to make our permanent move to Croatia in mid March, I was hoping you could help provide some insight to our situation…

    I am a Croatian citizen (currently a non resident) and my husband is neither. As I said, we plan to start our permanent move to Zagreb in March. At this time, I will get/receive my ID card and new passport (I am already have Domovnica and OIB) and he will apply for temp residency (for family reunification purposes). We are both digital nomads – we work online as English teachers and run a multimedia company (paid outside of Croatia).

    In regards to HZZO – We are currently in and will remain in Canada until March (from October) with full insurance through Health Canada. Prior to this, we were in Croatia (couple of months) and Bali (about 5 months), but because of the pandemic, we were not covered by our usual Nomad insurance.

    When we arrive to Croatia and register with MUP to live there, I expect I will have to pay approx. 550 kn/month to obtain obavezno insurance, but I am a little confused whether or not I will also have to pay the 6500 kuna fee in order to initiate the HZZO insurance (like other third country nationals have to pay)…. do you have any info on that? Also, wondering if my husband be eligible for any different kind of plan through me or would he have to do the 6500 + 550/month as applies to 3rd country nationals? We plan to email hzzo directly, but thought I’d check to see if you can help.

    Puno hvala!

    Martina

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 3, 2021 @ 12:53 pm

      Hi Martina,

      As a citizen, the 1 year of backpay is waived if you can prove you were insured for the previous 12 months. This is prorated if you were only insured for 5 months out of the previous 12, for example. Your husband must pay the 1 year of backpay plus the full premium going forward. He cannot get insurance through you given that you are digital nomads.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  17. Clare Angela Brown
    January 5, 2021 @ 3:02 pm

    I’m a UK national employed by a UK company and well into my 5 year temp residency. I’ve never had HZZO cover because I pay UK national insurance, and I guess was covered by EHIC. Today at MUP I was asked to get Croatian health cover (fair enough). This means:

    1. As a third country national, I will now have to pay the total for the previous year (12x540kn)
    2. My employer will continue to pay my UK national insurance and this is legal? I don’t want to forfeit my UK state pension!
    3. I’m married to an employed Croatian national but I don’t mind having my own card
    4. Any idea what my Cro monthly premiums will be???

    Is it possible in these corona times to email HZZO to register?
    THANK YOU!!! 🙂

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 12, 2021 @ 11:04 am

      Hi Clare,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      1. My assumption/hope is that you may be exempt from paying the previous year, since in the previous year you were an EU citizen and can show you had NHS. Bring proof. We don’t know yet how HZZO will handle situations like yours.
      2. Croatia won’t have a problem with this. I don’t know what UK will think about it.
      3. You could get coverage through your spouse, since you aren’t employed by a Croatian company.
      4. HZZO hasn’t released the new 2021 premium yet, but it will be 570-580 kuna per month.

      You need to apply in person at the closest HZZO office to you.

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  18. Max Pierrepoint-Kerkhoff
    January 18, 2021 @ 7:13 pm

    Hi Sara,

    I guess I’m in a similar boat to the last poster, Claire; although for different reasons.

    I’m a UK citizen and I’ve been a temporary resident in Croatia since September and now have to re-register. I assume that, as I was an EU citizen until 31/12 and thus insured by my EHIC, I will not be obliged to pay for a year retrospectively? I accept that I will be liable for the monthly fee from here on in.

    Regards,

    Max

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 26, 2021 @ 10:11 am

      Hi Max,

      If you can prove that you were insured for the previous 12 months, then you don’t have to pay for the year of back pay.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  19. Keith
    January 19, 2021 @ 8:30 pm

    Sara,
    Good evening, I hope your keeping well?
    I moved to Croatia from England at the end of July.
    I went to the HZZO office at the end of December and was informed I need to pay two years back pay as I got my residence card in January 2020 ready for my move. They said I need to pay one year back from the date on my residence card.
    Is this correct as I was covered by the NHS
    up to the end of July, then the EHIC after until the UK left the EU.

    I was shocked and as yet have not paid.

    I was expecting to pay a maximum of 12 months.

    Regards

    Keith

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 28, 2021 @ 11:51 am

      Hi Keith,

      If you can prove you were insured by NHS for the previous 12 months, then you do not have to pay any back pay as a UK citizen. I confirmed this with them last week. This is the first I’m hearing of 2 years back pay. That sounds like someone is hazing you. Which office was this?

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Keith
        January 28, 2021 @ 4:33 pm

        Sara,

        Thank you.

        I contacted the overseas NHS department and they sent me a letter saying I’m not covered by the NHS anymore and need to join the health service in Croatia. The HZZO would not accept this letter as it had no date on it apart from the date typed. I then contacted them my Email several times and they finally sent me a email saying the date my cover stopped. This was accepted and I have now paid 6 months back payments which is a lot better than 2 years.
        I hope this is accepted as they still have to contact the police to check the records.
        Regards
        Keith

        I discussed with them further

        {reply}

  20. Michael
    January 24, 2021 @ 10:20 am

    Hi Sara,
    This is a great post, yet there will always be questions.
    In the section, You are retired AND earn a foreign pension, you state that a non-citizen will be required to pay 16.5% of their pension for basic health care insurance. That, on top of 24% income tax, is more than hefty for a retiree (which I plan to be in 6 years) .
    Are these figures correct?
    Many thanks,
    Michael

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 26, 2021 @ 10:04 am

      Hi Michael,

      Income tax has been lowered to 20% starting January 1, 2021. The 16,5% fee for health insurance on those collecting a foreign pension remains the same.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  21. george watson
    January 24, 2021 @ 6:59 pm

    Hello Sarah,
    Hope this is the appropriate forum to post my query
    Read your article {very informative and obviously deeply researched] about obtaining temporary residence through purchasing residential property and possibility of combining 90 days as a tourist with up to 3 months added on afterwards through temporary residence. We, my wife and I, are Uk citizens and do not wish to relinquish our rights to access to Uk health services ,retaining British citizenship whilst living ,as before pre Brexit, in the Uk for the remaining 6 months.
    The new 90 day in 180 rule applying to tourist visits is restrictive in when we can now visit Croatia .

    First of all is this possible and what are the requirements regarding access to health care in Croatia under the above circumstances..can we use our existing EHIC plus private travel insurance or are we obligated to sign up to HZZO? If it is the latter ,what are the obligations for this kind of residency..do we have to pay 1 year HZZO back payment and would future payments be pro rata for the actual months we stayed in Croatia under the residence permit or would we have to pay a full years payment regardless of length of stay?

    Obviously what we would like to do seems difficult having read your various articles on these matters but any help/guidance/pointers would be much appreciated as we assess our potential journey.
    If you are aware of anyone who has gone down this route and is willing to share their experiences perhaps you can let me know by a separate private email.
    Keep safe and well in these difficult times

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      January 28, 2021 @ 11:44 am

      Hi George,

      Thanks for reaching out!

      If you are a tourist (90 days within 180 days), then you can use your travel insurance or possibly the new GHIC (you’ll need to check with the UK).

      If you’d like further personalized assistance, please consider our consulting services.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  22. Bob
    February 2, 2021 @ 9:03 pm

    Bok Sara!

    First, I want to thank you for your comprehensive, thorough insights into the maze that is HZZO. It’s the kind of stuff that would be virtually impossible for an individual to learn on his/her own. I commend you for the work that you’ve done!

    My “case” is as follows. I have dual citizenship (US and Croatia). I am retired. I lived and worked my entire life in the USA, not at all in Croatia. I will play dumb and will not say that I receive Social Security benefits in the USA, instead I am financially independent (to some extent). I am covered by US Medicare (for retirees), for which I have paid (for 3 years now), still pay, and must continue to pay a mandatory premium of about $150/month. I have OIB, Domovnica , and Putovnica, but no Croatian bank account. In recent years, I have lived off and on in Croatia for 2-3 months at a time, but plan to stay in Zagreb for at least all of 2021, possibly longer. Right now, I have neither Boravište nor Prebivalište, and because of a unique set of circumstances, I have been unable to register with MUP due to the fact that I don’t own a residence, I don’t have a lease, and I don’t pay rent (per se) — I am the “curator” of the residence of friends who now live overseas and can’t be present with me to certify that I do in fact reside in their home.

    Sooooo… will I or will I not be able to register with HZZO without proof of residence? If/when I do ultimately register with HZZO, am I correct in believing that I won’t be subject to the back payment requirement? Such a mess!

    Many thanks in advance,
    Bob

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 4, 2021 @ 9:43 am

      Hi Bob,

      You must have a registered address and a Croatian ID (osobna iskanica for citizens) to register with HZZO. You won’t need to pay backpay if you can prove you were insured for the previous 12 months.

      If your friends can sign a landlord statement and get it notarized wherever they are, then you have it officially translated here, perhaps that will solve the issue.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  23. Marija
    February 3, 2021 @ 2:43 pm

    Sara, hi!
    Thanks for this amazing article, makes things so clear for me. But still have some questions.
    I’m third country citizen, married employed by Croatian firm third country citizen.
    Last year (October 2020) we had a baby.
    We(me and my baby) are getting our first temporary residence cards, and just paid for tourist insurance. But, as I understand from your article, when our ID’s will be ready, we’ll have to pay for our baby’s insurance.
    So my question is, as She was born in October 2020, we still have to pay for the hole 2020? Or only for 3 months
    Sorry for stupid question (mom’s Brain) 🙂

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 4, 2021 @ 9:36 am

      Hi Marija,

      That is not a stupid question at all! To be honest, I don’t know the answer to this. The assumption is that you would pay for the previous year, but given that your child is brand new in this rule, I don’t know if they will modify that for you. When you register for HZZO, I would make sure to ask about that.

      If it’s not too much trouble, please let us know what they end up doing for you. It will be helpful to others to hear your experience.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

      • Marija
        February 15, 2021 @ 2:50 pm

        Sara, hi!
        Recently found out, that we have to pay for the previous year for mine insurance, despite the fact that my husband is working in Croatian firm. He need to have permanent residence, not temporary.. but the good news I that we don’t have to pay for the previous year for baby..

        {reply}

        • Expat in Croatia
          February 16, 2021 @ 12:08 pm

          Hi Marija,

          Thank you for the update!!! I really appreciate it. It’s good news that you don’t have to pay previous year for your baby.

          Regards,

          Sara

          {reply}

          • Marija
            February 26, 2021 @ 1:33 pm

            Sara, hi!
            Little update after visiting hzzo.
            We need to pay for previous year for baby BUT only from the date she was born.

          • Expat in Croatia
            March 11, 2021 @ 2:36 pm

            Hi Marija,

            Thank you for the update!! This is helpful. 🙂

            Regards,

            Sara

  24. Lee Adler
    February 19, 2021 @ 6:32 pm

    Hi Sara-

    I’m a US citizen, here in Croatia for 14 months, thanks to the pandemic! MUP “invited” me to apply for residency back last August, which I happily did. In the process I moved from Zagreb to Zadar. Naturally, my application file fell through the cracks for a while, but all’s well that ends well! I just got my temporary residency permit for a year.

    And I must say, I’ve enjoyed all of my interactions with the various personnel I have dealt with at MUP. And at HZZO, whom I met for the first time today. They’ve all been really nice, flexible, and helpful in answering my many questions.

    I’m in the process of figuring out how to get the 6600 KN cash that I’ll need for the up front payment for HZZO. I got a handwritten invoice form from HZZO office here in Zadar. That took 10 minutes. Perfect.

    I then went next door to the Post Office to make payment. They do not take credit card payment. It must be in cash. They have ATM terminals at the counter, but my bank in the US has a limit on withdrawals. So I couldn’t pay.

    I called my bank in the US when it opened, and they’re able to raise my ATM limit for this transaction. So I’ll go back to the Post Office on Monday.

    But then I read your post above and I started to wonder about it. Since I’ve been here in Croatia paying for private health insurance for 14 months, is there any possibility of a waiver of the one year fee in advance?

    Any thoughts?

    Your website is a godsend!

    Lee

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      February 24, 2021 @ 4:30 pm

      Hi Lee,

      Thank you for reaching out!

      You can only get the back pay waived if you are an EU citizen and can prove you were insured for the previous 12 months. The back pay is mandatory for all third-country nationals.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  25. Steven
    March 17, 2021 @ 8:05 pm

    Hi
    This is interesting. I have a question to check our situation please. We arrived in Croatia from the UK in Aug 2020. I am UK citizen and my wife who is a Croatian National has joint nationality. I have temporary residency as our stay has been prolonged due to Covid. EHIC card was provided for the temporary residence application. Obviously Brexit transition period ended Jan 2021. We both have EHICs which I understand are valid for emergency treatments and we have private Medical Insurance for any medical treatment needed In Europe which has been extended until October 2021. I assume we do not need to have Hzzo insurance. Is this correct? Also, after October 2021 When our insurance expires, we will need to apply for HZZO. Will we Both have to pay a year up front? Thanks, look forward to hearing from you.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      April 11, 2021 @ 2:59 pm

      Hi Steven,

      This is a super complicated topic and even the British Embassy hasn’t been able to clearly explain it. That being said, your assessment appears accurate based on all the conversations we had with HZZO and the embassy.

      As far as the back pay, you may be entitled to an exemption if your permit was gained by being a UK citizen. Your rights should be preserved.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  26. Alec
    May 10, 2021 @ 2:48 pm

    Hi Sara ,
    You have a very resourceful site! I will defenetely recommend it !
    I have a question for you. I am from US and planing to work for microbiological company in Croatia . Do you know how long I can live in Croatia on “working visa”. I know that 1 st permit will be issued for 1 year and then it could be extended for another year, and so on…. what will happen if I will live in Croatia 5-8 years. Will I be able to get Permanent residentship at some point, if I am not planing to apply for a Croatian citizenship. Also, my work will involve frequent travel to US and Switzerland and I think that I will spend 3-4 month for travel within each year and for 8-9 month I remain in Croatia .
    I will greatly appreciate your comments

    {reply}

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