The Romanian health care system has been through many changes during the past years, and is still undergoing reform regarding the funding and management of the hospitals, the qualifications of medical and nursing staff and the granting of medical services.
The public healthcare is free for all insured taxpayers, and regulated by the Ministry of Health. However, the quality of the services in some state-owned hospitals and clinics is low, giving rise to an increasing number of private clinics that seek to fill in the quality gaps of the public system.
In order to have access to the services of the public health system, a National Health Insurance Card must be presented. The Card is given to all contributors to the Romanian National Health Insurance (Casa Națională de Asigurări de Sănătate), and is sent by post at the indicated address. Citizens of EU countries with a health insurance card valid in the EU can also get access to the Romanian healthcare on the basis of the European health insurance card.
Additionally, many companies offer subscriptions and insurance plans to private clinics. The terms and conditions of each plan are outlined in the subscription document. Due to the high waiting times in public clinics, the use of private clinics is often necessary, and their cost is not covered by the public health insurance, which is why it is important to have a good private health insurance plan.
English or French services are easily available in Bucharest, but may be difficult to find in smaller towns and rural areas.
General Practitioners (Medici de familie) provide the primary healthcare, and direct the patient to a specialist doctor, if necessary. Appointments for consultations must be made in advance, but practitioners also have specially allotted hours to attend emergency cases. Consultations are usually free of charge, but some services have a fee decided upon by the National Health Insurance House.
The General Practitioner will also refer you to a specialist doctor for further examinations, by means of a reference letter. Appointments with specialists in the public system are free of charge, but the waiting times may be high due to high demand and low availability of personnel. A private specialist may attend you rapidly, but the cost can be quite expensive if you are not covered by a private health insurance.
Children under 18 are also attended for free by the general practitioner, and referred to a pediatrician if needed through a reference letter. Pediatricians are usually available in most hospitals, though there are hospitals specialized in pediatric services.
When becoming a contributor to the Romanian health insurance system, you need to choose and register with a General Practitioner.
Listings of local doctors can be found with the National Health Insurance House, registered with the Doctors' College (Colegiul Medicilor). However, it is best to choose your General Practitioner based on recommendations from friends, work colleagues or other expats. Foreign embassies also maintain lists of doctors and specialists who speak English or other foreign languages.
In order to register:
Dentists in Romania have private practices, and their services are not covered by the national health insurance, but payable upfront. Services are usually good, especially at bigger clinics with world-class equipment and highly qualified staff.
Some private insurance may cover dentist services, but the choice of the dentist and the services must be approved previously.
The fees charged by the dentist may vary greatly depending on the practice and the type of service, but they are often aligned with Western European prices. Expect to pay around 30 euros for a regular check-up, 50-60 euros for fillings, 200-300 euros for root and canal work.
Dentists are best found through recommendations from friends, acquaintances, and other expats. Your company may also have special discounts or conditions with specific clinics.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Bucharest is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Romania. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Romania: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Romania, visit our partner APRIL International