Health care


Country Report: Health care Last updated: 15/05/23


Nikola Kovačević

The Asylum Act prescribes that the right to healthcare is guaranteed to all persons granted asylum and that all the costs of health care are covered by the State.[1] Additionally, foreigners’ health care is also governed by the Health Care Act (HCA)[2] and the Health Insurance Act (HIA)[3] as well as the Rulebook on the Terms and Procedure for Exercising the Right to Compulsory Health Insurance (RHI).[4] HCA stipulates that refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to health care under equal terms as Serbian nationals.[5] All persons granted asylum had unhindered access to COVID-19 vaccines and PCR and other forms of testing.

HIA and RHI do not specify further the rights of refugees other than those from former Yugoslavian republics. Thus, the HIA does not recognise the refugees and asylum seekers referred to in the Asylum Act as a separate category of insured standard. [6] The same conclusion can be drawn in relation to the Serbian Health Insurance Fund.[7] Hence, asylum seekers and persons granted asylum are not entitled to compulsory health insurance and issuance of health insurance cards.[8] They can obtain them only if they pay 3,607 dinars per month (a bit more than 300 EUR on annual basis). Of course, employed persons granted asylum obtain health care insurance from their employers, but the problem arises mainly for those refugees who are unofficially unemployed, but also asylum seekers who are not allowed to work for the first 9 months after they applied for asylum. In practice, they need to rely on CSOs and UNHCR to access health care facilities.

In general, appropriate enjoinment of the right to health care depends on the assistance of relevant CSOs and International Organisations.[9]




[1] Article 63 Asylum Act.

[2] Official Gazette no. 25/19.

[3] Official Gazette no. 107/25, 109/05 – correction, 57/11, 110/12 – Constitutional Court Decision, 119/12, 99/14, 123/14, and 126/14 – Constitutional Court Decision.

[4] Official Gazette no. 10/10, 18/10 – correction, 46/10, 52/10 – correction, 80/10, 60/11 – Constitutional Court Decision, and 1/13.

[5] Article 236, para. 1, and Article 239 of the Law on Health Care.

[6] Article 11 HIA.

[7] Exercising the Right to Compulsory Health Insurance, Serbian Health Insurance Fund, Belgrade, May 2015, available (in Serbian) at:

[8] Article 25 HIA; see more in BCHR, Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2019, 184-185.

[9] BCHR, Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia 2019, 185-187.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection