This study seeks to evaluate the prevalence of and the association between receiving medical care abroad and the level of trust that citizens from the Western Balkans—Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro—have in their healthcare systems.


The study is cross-sectional and was carried out during three months (July 25-October 30, 2021) through a self-reported questionnaire administered through the Google Forms platform. The study included approximately two-thousand citizens (N=2,356) aged eighteen (18) to seventy (70).


More than one-third (37.2%) of respondents stated that they or a relative had received healthcare services abroad during the last twelve (12) months. Citizens of Montenegro had the highest prevalence of receiving healthcare services abroad at 43.8%, followed by those from Bosnia and Herzegovina at 39%. No statistically significant difference was found in the level of trust in the healthcare system in the country between those who received healthcare services abroad (4.41±2.88) (out of 10) and those who did not (4.48±2.81) (t= -0.587, p=0.557).


We ultimately conclude that more than one-third of the participants in our study have traveled abroad for healthcare purposes, with females, those living in urban areas, and those who have previously had a negative healthcare experience in their home country all being more likely to rely on health tourism.

Keywords: COVID-19, Healthcare, Health tourism, Healthcare services, Pandemic, Medical care.
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