Medicine and healthcare in Montenegro: tourist FYI



Medicine and healthcare in Montenegro:  tourist FYI

It is said that hereditary Montenegrins lead a healthy lifestyle, spend a lot of time outdoors and in every possible way protect themselves from the need to go to the clinic. Thus they do not need medicine. Another reason for the low level of healthcare in Montenegro is the lack of qualified personnel. The country is small, salaries are low and local doctors prefer to work in the more developed countries of Europe.

General information

There are only 8 state hospitals (Houses of Health) in Montenegro. Also, there are specialized private centers. State clinics are open from 7 am to midday (irately until 5 pm). Usually one can get to a therapist only, and much more frequently — advice and a referral from a paramedic. Narrow-focus specialists work according to the schedule 1-2 days a week.

There is no pay-free ambulance in the country. Home visits or emergency hospitalizations are only possible in private centers. In most cases, the patient will have to get to the clinic on their own or by taxi.

Medicine in Montenegro is conditionally divided into paid and pay-free

Pay-free presumes the provision of assistance on a social medical card or compulsory insurance. All citizens of the country have this card (as well as the foreigners who have received a permanent or temporary residence permit or permanent residence; the exception is cases when the temporary residence permit does not imply social benefits). The list of services provided by the card is extremely limited. So anyone can apply for a voluntary medical insurance policy (VHI), and the price starts from 30 euros per month. The number of services VHI provides is much higher and includes emergency dentistry.

Treatment in private clinics is often very expensive. Due to the small number of hospitals and the specific schedule of their work, it is difficult to get to a doctor in a state clinic promptly. Moreover, finding a really good doctor requires visiting more than one clinic. Diagnosis is often complicated by the lack of necessary technical equipment, so most patients are treated with antibiotics.

Medicine in Montenegro: tourist FYI

Tourists should keep in mind that:

Most resort towns do not have big clinics. One can only contact the local emergency room for emergency help. Most often, all necessary medical manipulations are performed without painkillers. Serious issues require a trip to the capital;

The price of medical services for tourists is very high (300-400% margin) and can be compared with the prices of medical care in Israel. Since payment usually takes place after treatment, the chance of receiving a bill for a total of 1000 euros for minor assistance is extremely high;

There are no 24-hour pharmacies, the rare long-working one close at 23:00. In addition it is impossible to buy something more serious than cough drops without a prescription from a doctor. Due to the drug law, a prescription is needed even for the purchase of a disposable syringe;

Buying medicines in a pharmacy with no or bad Montenegrin is an almost impossible task;

Still, it must be noted that most clinics in the country are maintained in good condition, which provides an acceptable level of comfort due to visits. And most doctors speak English. Additionally along with clinics on the coast, one can find many resort hotels that offer healthcare services: all kinds of massages, baths, and SPA treatments.

Do you need travel medical insurance?

The law reads that visiting Montenegro does not require compulsory medical insurance (it will be requested in case of a temporary residence permit application only, for the entire period of residence). The border control staff won’t ask for insurance. But its absence may become an additional reason for declined boarding if the staff have any claims or questions for the tourist. Therefore, medical insurance is a good option to avoid any unforeseen problems and costs.

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