Many guests ask us about accessing health care in Serbia. Our health care system might seem complicated to a foreigner, so we prepared a short guide for you in case you need any kind of medical service. As we already wrote, Serbia is a popular dental tourism hub. And, as a matter of fact, Serbia is an emerging medical tourism destination.
The legal framework of health care in Serbia
The healthcare system in Serbia is universal and based on solidarity. We finance it by compulsory health insurance contributions. They are deducted from employees’ salaries and all citizens can use public health care services. Unfortunately, those services and facilities are underfunded and underdeveloped and waiting lists can be very long. You might hear many critiques of health care in Serbia from your Serbian friends. However, that is the best we have, and we do not doubt the knowledge and expertise of our health care workers.
Besides public health care institutions, there is a number of private medical practices and even hospitals. They are not in the public healthcare system. Hence, patients (including locals) must pay all services out-of-pocket, according to the price list of a facility.
Where to go if you need medical assistance?
As a tourist in Serbia, you are generally not eligible for public health care in Serbia. Even if you are willing to pay the full price of the treatment, sometimes it is hard to exercise that right. Hence, you will most likely need to visit one of the private clinics. Of course, if you have travel insurance, your company will inform you where to go and how to handle the financial aspect of your health care in Serbia. Commonly, you will have to pay the full price of services, and your insurance company will reimburse it later.
The private clinic as a self-paying patient
You are welcome to visit such clinics on your own and you can also have services upon request. For example, you can do a regular check-up, specialist examination, lab tests, or even minor or major surgical procedures. Waiting lists are almost non-existent and you will receive care very quickly. Prices are much lower than in countries such as the USA, Germany, or other developed countries.
The largest private healthcare system in Serbia and the region is Medigroup. They have centers in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Subotica. The pricelist is of course, public and transparent. Other major systems are Euromedic and Belmedic. There are also other small and independent practices of different specializations.
Emergency room as a part of health care in Serbia
Every city has an emergency room that is available 24/7. It is part of the public health care system and they treat urgent and life-threatening conditions and injuries. Generally, they do not charge for their services, but they also have the right to refuse the service (or charge the full price) if the condition is not serious.
In Belgrade, the address is Pasterova 2. If you need to call an ambulance, the number is 194.
Pharmacies and laboratories
Pharmacies in Serbia are well-stocked. People with insurance can get the medications for free or with co-payment (if they have a prescription). Otherwise, you need to pay the full price. Please have in mind that not all medicines are over-the-counter. You need a doctor’s prescription or clearance in order to get (or buy) certain medicines (antibiotics, tranquilizers, etc). The same applies to laboratories as well. There are many independent labs in cities, where you can perform the analysis upon request and usually without an appointment (at your own cost).
We hope that you will not need to use any medical services while staying here. However, you can use the advantage of health tourism packages, and carefully explore the city while receiving high-quality health care in Serbia. We encourage you to be responsible and take care of yourself. We wish you good health and a safe stay in Serbia!