The healthcare system in Croatia is primarily public, accounting for 83% of healthcare spending. According to Fitch Solutions data, Croatia’s healthcare expenditure reached $5.1bn in 2022, representing 7.6% of the country’s GDP and placing Croatia among the countries with the lowest healthcare spending in the European Union. Private healthcare expenditure, which includes out-of-pocket spending, accounted for the remaining 17% of the total. Long waiting lists in the public healthcare system and medical tourism are the strongest growth drivers for the private sector.
Funding for healthcare in Croatia comes principally from the compulsory health insurance system, which is operated by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO). The HZZO collects contributions from the working population and the government makes payments on behalf of those exempt, such as the elderly, unemployed, and dependents. Total number of insured citizens in 2022 was 4.1 million, or close to 100%. The Ministry of Health is responsible for healthcare policy, capital investments for publicly owned healthcare providers, and university hospitals and university hospital centers. Counties oversee public health centers, public pharmacies, and general and specialized hospitals. Most of the primary care and dental service providers are privatized, servicing the public through contracts with HZZO.
Croatia is a member of the European Union, with fully aligned legislation. Therefore, all medical and pharmaceutical products registered within the EU can be simply placed on the Croatian market.
The Croatian healthcare market is expected to substantially change in the upcoming years. The current government has set a challenging goal: to eliminate public hospital debt while improving efficiency and the quality of the Croatian public healthcare system. To support those goals, over 340 million Euros has been allocated for healthcare from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility, with a 2026 deadline for the project’s implementation.
eHealth is well-developed in Croatia. All hospitals have digital systems connected to the Croatian Health Insurance Fund. The Health Portal on the government’s eCitizen platform offers patients access to centralized eHealth records and is fully integrated into the National Central Health Information System (CEZIH). Croatia has integrated its health systems with several EU countries, allowing data sharing and ePrescription services in those countries.
Modernization of healthcare equipment – equipment in Croatian hospitals needs to be upgraded and expanded in order to meet demand, especially for innovative procedures
Digitalization of healthcare – while Croatia has good systems in place, data collected by those systems is not used
Medical tourism - Croatia is a popular medical tourism destination for dental services, rehabilitation, orthopedics, dermatology, and aesthetic surgery, with a high potential for further growth
Financial and operational efficiency solutions
Accessibility of healthcare services in remote areas
Ministry of Health (Croatia)Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO)Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of Croatia (HALMED)National Cancer Control Plan 2020.-2030. (Croatia)