Croatian health care system
Croatia is situated between central and southeastern Europe, bordering Slovenia, Hungary, Bosina and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro. The country has 4,4 million inhabitants.
Since it gained independence in 1992, Croatia has faced emerging economy and strong tourist activity. With Croatia's EU accession preparations, key structural reforms are being monitored and performed in fields such as health and pension system, system of state aid, and privatization of state property. EU accession should at the same time result in accelerating fiscal and other structural reforms.
Health care standard in Croatia is mainly satisfactory, with better accessibility to health care facilities in major cities. Range of health services rendered in remote areas and islands is less, but still within acceptable.
Due to commonly rising costs of health care, especially expenditure on drugs, Croatia health care system is accompanied by lack of budget funds for health care, which so far has not affected drug supply within public health care institutions in Croatia.
Croatian Ministry of health plays the role of the controller of the system with wide scope of authority. This entails managing the health care legislation, proposing budgetary expenditures, monitoring health condition and health needs of the population, education of health care workers and supervision of the reform of health care system in Croatia. As a part of its management role, the Ministry was assigned to create and carry out the National Health Care Strategy 2012 - 2020. Health care reform underlies common values and principles, reducing inequality among the Croatian citizens. Strategic development directions of the health care system entail improved interconnectivity and continuum of health care, standardization of health care quality, improving efficiency and performance of the system, increasing the availability of health care and improving health indicators. The Croatian health care system is being financed through several different sources.
Health care contributions in Croatia are mandatory for all employed citizens, i.e. their employers. The dependents obtain their health care coverage through contributions paid by working members of their families. Self-employed workers in Croatia are also obliged to pay health care contributions. Croatian citizens who belong to a particularly vulnerable category are exempt from paying health care contributions; retired people and persons with low income are insured and have access to health care facilities - contractual partners -of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF).
Croatian citizens have the option to obtain health services within private health care providers which are not CHIF contracted partners, either through direct payment or through supplemental insurance which is covering the payment.
Croatian citizens are required to participate in health care expenditures, except for certain categories of insured persons (e.g. children under age of 18) or insured persons suffering from certain diseases, when health care services are being rendered due to complications caused by those diseases (e.g. malignant diseases or chronic mental illnesses). Some health care services, such as plastic surgery, insured persons are obliged to pay on their own, i.e. the cost is not being covered by mandatory health insurance. Family doctor (GP) suggests patient's further treatment in secondary or tertiary health care service if needed, which enables the patient free access to hospital and polyclinics which have signed contracts for rendering health care services from mandatory health insurance (contractual partners).
Health care services on secondary and tertiary level in major cities are mainly rendered in hospitals. Hospitals can be classified as clinical, general and special hospitals. General hospitals have organized activities that include OBGYN, internal medicine, surgery and pediatrics. After joining the EU on July 1st 2013, Croatia will be able to withdraw funds from the EU structural funds for development of the health care sector. This is supposed to financially strengthen the Croatian health care system by extra funding intended for improvement of the health care sector and rendering health services to Croatian citizens.
Although in the middle of the reform, the Croatian health care system is rendering health care services in accordance with European standards. Access to health care outside major cities is fairly reduced, but this mainly concerns outpatient-conciliar health care, while primary health care and emergency medicine are available in all parts of the state. CHIF protects personal data of all the Croatian citizens. In case personal data security is requested upon provision of certain information, the data will be treated as confidential. When requesting data via e-mail, contact information are classified and utilized only by authorized persons for direct contact and provision of the requested information.