Posted by: viewfromtheriva | December 10, 2013

Welcome to Croatian health care: two exams, an EKG and blood work for less than a bottle of Excedrin!

EKG, three page blood work report and the invoice for 80.00kn about $14.50

EKG, three page blood work report and the invoice for 80.00kn about $14.50

After a couple of days with some pain in my chest and shoulder Natasha very rightfully said, “hey, we pay $65 a month for your healthcare, why not use it!?”  So off I went to my local clinic.  Everybody here goes to a local office staffed and is assigned a personal doctor who handles routine stuff and if you need more treatment or specialized care, refers you to specialists or the hospital.  I waited less than 10 minutes and then the door opened and she greeted me with a “Hi Mr. Aronson” (which of course means there are VERY few Americans living in my neighborhood!).  After asking all the right questions that would hopefully rule out a heart attack, she took my pulse and BP and then told me that I really should go to the hospital for an EKG and blood work “just to be sure”.  Ugh.  So off I went to the hospital ER, waited 10 minutes and was seen by an internist, speaking perfect English who also asked all the right questions, did an EKG, took some blood and said, “I don’t think you have a heart issue, but we always do blood work to check the enzyme levels and other parameters just in case….so you will need to wait until the labwork is done…about two hours. We could send you home, but in case you do have a problem, we will need to admit you and want you here.”  Well, that makes sense, but I noticed that I began to sweat and had a huge longing for a BigMac and a warm bed.

So I found a seat and exactly 1 hour and 54 minutes later got called back in, was told everything was fine and received the EKG (hey, 59 beats per minute, not bad for a nervous expat in a foreign hospital ER!); a three page print out of the blood work and an invoice for 80 kuna…about $14.50.

image.jpegExcedrin, my favorite headache remedy, a “great buy” at $14.79!

What can I say but welcome to the world of socialized medicine, Croatian style, where we all pay a small monthly fee for health care; get a local doctor at a local clinic for routine stuff, and access to hospital departments and staff for when we get really sick or need more sophisticated testing.

While this was only my second trip to the hospital–the first was to do a routine ophthalmology exam for glaucoma testing, etc. that in the US cost me $250 plus and here the same 80kn–I continue to be amazed at why most Americans still seem so terrified of health care that most Europeans, Asians, Canadians, etc. experience and are happy about.

But then again, the rest of the world uses metrics but Americans still cling to inches.



  1. Glad you had a great experience, and seen more so that you are fit and healthy!
    My sons first experience at the hospital was a little less organised, but he too had great care and it was at a FRACTION on what people pay in the US.

  2. Do you know of any groups in Split where Americans meet or English speaking persons? I am visiting and it would be nice to be a part of this..make new friends…I am very friendly and a foodie…thanks.

  3. I was in Split this summer and my daughters pacemaker discharged (due to poor grounding in our apartment) so off to the hospital we went. After bloodwork, an EKG and having the cardiologist hook up his machine to it they informed us we needed to pay. So they added and added then when they had that done they added some more. The bill was going to be about 450 Kuna or about $75. I about fell over. Once we got home we went to our normal cardiologist for an appointment and the bill was $220 after insurance paid their part. The total bill was $1400.

    • Thanks for this comment…I never cease to be amazed at the efficiency of health care here as well as the low cost. It may not be the kind of squeaky high tech hospital and clinics most people are used to, but again, like in your case, the kind of medical treatment your daughter received is a standard procedure that simply should not cost more than $100. So, I assume with all the money you saved you are coming back?!!

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