The Romanian healthcare system is a universal access based healthcare model. This means that every individual living in Romania has access to the public healthcare services, on the condition that he pays a minimum health insurance contribution to the health state fund (on mandatory or voluntary basis).
Mandatory health insurance contribution is due by individuals who derive certain types of taxable income subject to the health insurance contribution in accordance with the tax law – e.g., salary income, income from independent activities, rental income, dividends, capital gains, etc.
Thus, for most of the Romanian residents, healthcare in Romania is provided as a contribution base benefit, while some categories (like students for example) can benefit of medical care for free.
Any foreign citizen living in Romania is entitled to benefit from medical care in all public hospitals or clinics under the same conditions just like any other Romanian citizen. If you decide to relocate to Romania and don’t (yet) derive income that is subject to the health insurance contribution, then you must apply for voluntary health insurance, so you can receive comprehensive medical services.
For the steps you need to fulfill to pay Romanian health insurance on a voluntary basis, you can check our article: How to get Romanian health insurance if you’re not paying it mandatorily.
We describe below practical aspects you need to know about the Romanian healthcare system.
About Romanian healthcare system
Who can benefit of medical care
In the Romanian healthcare system, apart from those contributing to the health care fund, any individuals falling under the categories listed below are entitled to free medical care:
If you are legally employed in Romania, then your employer must calculate, withheld, and pay your contribution to the health insurance system from your salary. It is mandatory for the employer to do so on a monthly basis. The monthly contribution that must be deducted and paid from your salary as health insurance is 10% of your gross salary.
If someone doesn’t have any taxable income, or doesn’t pay the health insurance contribution on a regularly basis, but needs medical care in public hospitals, he/she will have to pay the health insurance retroactively for a period of at least 6 months.
It is also important to know that, if you want to access all healthcare services as an insured individual and benefit from full coverage for all clinical investigations, you must register with a family doctor. If you don’t register yourself to a family doctor, so you can get references from him/her whenever you need special medical investigations, then you will need to pay for some of these investigations.
If you are a citizen of another EU country, and contribute to the healthcare system in your home country, you can access basic medical care in Romanian public system as well. This is possible only under the condition that you hold a valid European Health Insurance Card issued by your home country authorities (please see below more details on the European Health Insurance Card).
Healthcare services in Romania
The healthcare services in this state consist of municipal and specialized hospitals, clinics, and doctors that are members of the Romanian College of Medicine. Most major cities have their own hospitals and clinics, and some of them are very well-equipped. Nevertheless, there are still many medical facilities across Romania which lack basic treatment conditions and equipment.
Especially when it comes to smaller towns and villages, there are fewer hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies.
If you have specific health problems that require special investigations, your Family Physician will be able to give you a reference letter to a specialized doctor. Based on the reference letter, you will be able to benefit of free consultations from any specialized doctor. Also, some specific investigations (e.g., X rays) will be free of charge, or partially free.
However, if you want to benefit from best attention, comfort, and modern facilities, then you can also choose to go to a private clinic, where you will have to pay for the consultation. Most private clinics offer monthly subscriptions based on fixed fees. The monthly subscription covers a certain list of services, while for the others you will have to pay when required. Some of the payable services may be offered at discounted prices if you have a monthly subscription.
Healthcare for asylum seekers
Asylum seekers are being offered healthcare by the medical staff of accommodations centers organized by the Romanian Immigration Inspectorate. These centers are monitoring the health state of the foreign nationals accommodated in the asylum centers. Moreover, in the case of illness, they offer primary health care as well as free treatment. On the other hand, in the case of acute and chronic diseases, asylum seekers benefit from emergency hospital care.
Foreign citizens with Romanian residence permit
If you are a foreign national and you have required the long-term right to stay in Romania, then you are entitled to health care under the same conditions just like any other Romanian citizen. In order to receive medical care, you must pay the health insurance contribution to the health insurance fund, as per the details provided above.
Also, for more details on paying Romanian health insurance, you can check our article: How to get Romanian health insurance if you’re not paying it mandatorily.
European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is also accepted in this country. It is being accepted in all the Romanian public hospitals as well as clinics. This card can be used anytime before a foreigner is fully settled in this state and enrolled in the public health system. The European Health Insurance Card enables citizens of EU/EEA states to get access to Romanian public healthcare for free.
In addition, the card can be used not only in hospitals but with specialist practitioners or in pharmacies as well. This card contains your personal information such as the name and the date of birth, and it features a electronic chip that enables card readers obtain information such as the medical history or records. In Romania, there are several services that are being covered by this card. These services include:
It is important to know that the European Health Insurance Card is accepted only in public hospitals and clinics that have an agreement with the public insurer (Romanian National Health Insurance House). These cards are not accepted by private healthcare providers. Plus, it cannot be used when moving to another EU member state specifically for the purpose of benefiting from medical treatment.
The European Health Insurance Card is not a substitute for a travel insurance policy. This card can be obtained by all nationals of the EU, the EEA, their family members, or those who are residents of an EU and EEA country and pay all the necessary contributions to the public healthcare system from that country.
The cards are generally issued by each EU country’s national health insurance provider. Using this card is very easy. The first thing you need to do is to find a facility that accepts the EHIC. For that information, you can contact the CNAS (Romanian National Health insurance House). Once you found the nearest healthcare provider that accepts this card, you can schedule an appointment.
How to choose a family physician in Romania
When you become a contributor to the Romanian health insurance system, you must choose and register with a Family Physician. You can choose any Family Physician you want in the city you live in. It is best to select one based on recommendations from friends or other expats. Foreign embassies also maintain a list of doctors as well as specialists who speak English and other foreign languages.
To register, you need to contact the Family Physician and verify his/her availability. Then, the next step is to fill in a form offered by the practitioner. He will ask for a copy of an identity document and also for proof that you are insured with the Romanian insurance system.
Other useful information about family physicians in Romania
Family Physicians offer primary healthcare. In case it is necessary, they refer the patient to a specialist doctor. An appointment must be made in advance. However, they also have specially allotted hours in case of an emergency. Consultations are free of charge, but some services include a fee decided upon by the National Health Insurance House.
Minors are also attended for free by the Family Physician, and referred to a pediatrician if needed, through a reference letter. Pediatricians in Romania are available in most hospitals, though there are hospitals that are being specialized in pediatric services.