Healthcare rights for foreign nationals in Croatia

The Croatian government has sent to parliament amendments to the law on the compulsory health insurance and healthcare of aliens to align it with the parts of the Aliens Act regulating digital nomads’ right to healthcare. Digital nomads are increasingly being recognised in several countries.

Digital nomads are third-country citizens who work for companies that are not registered in the country where the nomad currently lives; who do not work for employers in country; and who have been granted temporary residence in that country.

At present in Croatia, digital nomads are not required to register for compulsory health insurance and they are obliged to cover the costs of healthcare in a medical facility in Croatia. The planned amendments allow digital nomads to exercise their right to healthcare.

A new Foreign Nationals Act also allows digital nomads temporary stay in Croatia. Temporary stay is granted for up to a year (possibly less) and it cannot be extended. A new application for regulating a stay of digital nomads can be submitted six months after the expiry of the previously granted temporary stay.

Close family members of a digital nomad who has been granted temporary stay in Croatia may now join them.

Digital nomads are now in a dozen countries and they offer a new opportunity for medical tourism. But they are going to cause problems for medical tourism statistics, as they will be counted as international patients and misinterpreted as medical tourists while being neither citizen, resident, tourist or medical tourist.