High Number of HZZO Insured People Not Living in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

Since as far back as 1998, when a person is left without work, their health insurance and the right to receive health care has been made possible by going and registering with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO).

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 19th of March, 2019, although thousands upon thousands of people have left Croatia in recent years, many of them are still being treated medically in their homeland, primarily because it pays off more than doing so elsewhere. This trend was warned about by the Croatian Association of Contracting Ordinations. They estimate that as many as 330,000 people who don’t actually live in Croatia are still exercising the right to the country’s health insurance benefits through HZZO.

As mentioned, since back in 1998, when a person becomes left without work, their right to health insurance is realised rather simply via registration with HZZO. At the same time, this person does not actually have to be regisered as unemployed officially, as was explained by HZZ. This leads to a large number of people working and paying their taxes over in Germany, and coming and getting their teeth fixed while on holiday in summer in Croatia.

This is apparently also an issue in the mind of the Croatian health minister, both financially and morally. “It’s not fair to those who live here and who pay for health insurance, therefore HZZO will undertake and is already taking out certain measures [to attempt to deal with this issue],” said Minister Milan Kujundzic. Such measures will also soon be taken up by the European Union itself. Electronic data exchanges between member states is being introduced, which will help control those who are HZZO insured.

”According to the data we have, as of the 31st of December 2018, compared to 2017, we’ve got 40,850 less insured persons –  that’s about 0,96 percent. Our records include some 60,000 workers who work for our _Crpatian+ companies in the EU,” said the HZZO’s director, Lucijan Vukelić. He emphasised the fact that HZZO has been caught up with the various problems of expatriates from Croatia who pay their taxes abroad and are still in HZZO’s register, and are therefore treated for whatever ailments may bother them here in Croatia.

Vukelić also noted that HZZO should enter into a joint data exchange with the EU on the 1st of July this year. This data also includes non-EU countries, but involves them as they are economically linked to the EU. It is a bi task and a fairly painstaking process because there are many countries involved, both EU and non EU across the European continent.

There are numerous confusing laws that many misinterpret when it comes to health insurance in Croatia which came into force when Croatia joined the EU back in 2013.

EU countries with a public health system such as Poland and the UK made it so that, for example, British nationals who are resident in Croatia could use their EU health card to access healthcare in Croatia, effectively trading one public insurance policy for another. Such laws appear to have created more confusion than sense, and whether or not HZZO will manage to get to the bottom of the situation with its own nationals with MUP’s help is yet to be seen.

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