Although Slovak State healthcare is poor and may not be easy to access everywhere, attempts are being made to improve the service. Meanwhile, expats should get private medical insurance, or even use neighbouring Vienna for healthcare. If you move to Slovakia without a job you must produce proof of private health insurance in order to obtain a residence permit. Foreign pensions in Slovakia will not cover private or public medical care and you must make most arrangements yourself.
State funded healthcare is compulsory for all workers, and available to all long-term residents. It is under the Ministry of Health, which supervises the five insurance companies. If you work you have to join one of these companies which control the basic healthcare package. This part is free for everyone, although exactly what is on offer is not always clear. You may require an E111 to use it. Employers must register their employees with one of the health insurance funds when a new employee starts work. Employer contributions do not cover dependants, but the state pays for people not employed.
In the major cities there are highly qualified and English speaking, doctors and dentists providing a high standard of care.
Hospitals are managed by the regional authority and tend, like the NHS, to be under-funded, although matters are improving.
The hospital notes may not follow you around as they do in the UK — YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR OWN ACCURATE AND DETAILED RECORDS! One good thing for us is that many doctors speak good English and are happy to practice it. If you receive a UK state retirement pension or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to state-funded healthcare paid for by the UK. You’ll need to apply for form S1 from the International Pension Centre (tel: 0191 218 7777). You need to register your S1 with the Health Ministry SR — this entitles you to an EHIC issued by the UK which allows access to medical care in other EEA countries, including Britain.
You may find more information at http://www.health.gov.sk/Titulka
If you are a pensioner, you need to inform the IPC (International Pension Centre) to prevent problems with your pension payments (tel: 0191 218 7777).
Slovakia has double taxation agreements with the UK so you will not be taxed twice — provided you ensure that the tax offices are aware of your circumstances. You can arrange to have your pension paid directly into your Slovakian bank account, and still benefit from the increases as if you still lived in Britain. Contact HMRC and your pension providers well before you leave the UK.
If you’ve only worked, lived or are working abroad then you must claim the state pension through the relevant authority of the country where you currently live and have worked in.
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