Healthcare in Romania is universally free for those working there, but it may not be up to the standards that expats have come to expect in their home countries.
Some hospitals are better equipped than others. These are usually found in the larger cities. Hospitals in Bucharest, for example, tend to offer a decent standard of care, but supplies in small-town hospitals are limited.
Stressful conditions and low salaries mean that bribery is common among medical staff. It's not uncommon for patients to give them gifts or money in exchange for better service. That said, this is less likely to occur in the private sector.
Health insurance in Romania
In order to be issued a visa, expats moving to Romania need to have private medical insurance. This should provide comprehensive coverage and allow patients to use private facilities.
As public facilities aren't up to the standards of most Western countries, it is recommended that expats ensure that they are covered by a comprehensive private health insurance policy when moving to Romania. International health insurance companies are recommended, as they are experienced in expat healthcare matters and often offer the most appropriate coverage.
Public healthcare in Romania
Public medical care in the country is managed by the National Health Insurance House (NHIH), which provides free or subsidised care to all Romanian residents, including expats. Those working in Romania will have their public healthcare contributions automatically deducted from their salaries.
Many expats find that the standard of public healthcare in Romania is inadequate. Public medical facilities tend to be understaffed and have outdated equipment. Long waiting times to receive treatment are another common complaint.
During short visits, EU citizens can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to access public healthcare in Romania, provided it was issued in another EU country. UK citizens can use their Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaced the EHIC for UK citizens post-Brexit.
Private healthcare in Romania
Private healthcare is an ever-expanding industry in Romania. Private hospitals are the best option for expats looking for world-class healthcare in Romania, while private clinics are a good option for less serious conditions. Private medical facilities are usually restricted to urban areas, and staff are typically well-trained and can generally speak English.
Patients at private hospitals are usually expected to pay for medical services in cash and then claim back from their health insurance company afterwards.
For a list of private hospitals in the capital, see Healthcare in Bucharest.
Pharmacies in Romania
Pharmacies are available throughout Romania. They can be found attached to some hospitals and should stock most medicines.
Most common over-the-counter and prescription medications are available in Romania, but expats who prefer a specific brand should bring a supply with them, as generics may be the only option in Romania. It's also important to be aware that certain medications available over-the-counter in some countries may be prescription-only in Romania, and vice versa.
Health hazards in Romania
There aren't any major health hazards in Romania, though it's best to drink only bottled water and avoid bites from sandflies, which can carry illness. The country has a high rate of tuberculosis, and expats should make an effort to stay away from infected individuals.
Vaccinations in Romania
All standard vaccinations, including those for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, shingles and tetanus, should be up to date before travelling to Romania. Additional recommended vaccinations include hepatitis A and B.
Emergency services in Romania
In an emergency, expats use the EU emergency line (112). The line offers assistance in numerous languages.
Emergency response times can vary depending on the area in Romania. In some cases, and if possible, it might be faster for patients to make their own way to medical treatment facilities.