Healthcare in Serbia



Serbia’s healthcare took a big blow during the country’s dreadful conflict. Poorly funded, health care was substandard.

Even though the medical staff and doctors were well trained, facilities and equipment in health centers and hospitals were inadequate.

However, Serbia is gradually making improvements to its health care system, as the government takes full responsibility in safeguarding the people's health. It is now available to all citizens and registered long-term residents.

As a result, The Health Insurance Fund (HIF), known as the Compulsory Social Health Insurance, is tasked to manage and facilitate the health service in the country. 

The State System

Serbia's state fund covers medical services such as specialist treatment, hospitalization, prescriptions, pregnancy, childbirth, and rehabilitation.

For newly arrived expats, check with your employer that you are registered with the HIF. Employer and employees both share the obligation to contribute to the health care fund; the amount of contributions is dependent on earnings. Dependent family members are covered as long as contributions are made.  

However, for the self-employed, a full contribution is expected. The unemployed, elderly, pensioners, those suffering long-term illness, and those on maternity leave are exempted from payments.

For potential expats who do not yet have a job in Serbia must produce proof of private health insurance in order to obtain a residence permit.

Medical Cost for Expats

The fact is that expats are expected to pay medical costs in Serbia unless your insurance is included under the bilateral health insurance treaty agreement between your home country and Serbia.

Citizens of Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia and the Netherlands, have their health care expenses covered in both Serbia and their home country.

Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and UK citizens' health care expenses are covered in the country where a person temporarily resides.

For Switzerland and Scandinavian citizens, healthcare expenses are only covered in their home country, but they may apply for reimbursement of any expenses incurred in Serbia.

These groups of citizens can enjoy medical protection in all public healthcare institutions, provided that they are registered with the HIF. 


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Hospitals and Emergency Care

It's good to know that in Serbia there are a satisfactory number of hospitals and clinics strewn across all major towns and cities. Patients go through the emergency department or through a doctor's referral for hospital treatments.

Emergency care is free for citizens, expats and even visitors; however, doctor's services are not. Emergency departments are open all year round.

Hospitals require cash payments up front for their services.

Health Centers

Health centers in Serbia are known as domovi zdravlja, which have their own smaller health stations called zdravstvene stanice.

People in need of general medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, occupational medicine, dentistry, home care, preventive care, and laboratory services can go to the nearest health center. In addition, the health centers provide public health surveillance, tuberculosis control programs, physical and occupational therapy, maternity care, child healthcare, dental care and emergency medical aid.

You should not expect state-of-the-art facilities in Serbian health centers, but rest assured that qualified doctors and nurses man these centers. 

Medical Practitioners

Citizens and expats need to pay for each visit to a doctor. GPs make referrals, prescribe drugs, treat acute and chronic illnesses, and provide preventive care and health education.

Dentists are called zubar in Serbia. Dental services or treatments are also paid up front, and are not covered by health insurance.


Apoteka are dispensing chemists selling medicines in Serbia. A prescription can only come from a doctor or a specialist consultant. There are two types of pharmacy in the country: state-owned or private, state pharmacies have a shortage of supplies of medicine while the privately owned stock basic medicines only.

Serbia's health care system may not be on a par with the fully equipped facilities in your home country, but the country is rebuilding and healthcare is one of the government's top priorities. It may be a work in progress, but slowly improvements are being made.



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