Medical Assistance

Please note: The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the entities or individuals whose names appear on the following lists. Inclusion on this list is in no way an endorsement by the Department or the U.S. government. Names are listed alphabetically, and the order in which they appear has no other significance. The information on the list is provided directly by the local service providers; the Department is not in a position to vouch for such information.

The information below is updated tri-annually. The next update is scheduled for August 2019

Medicare is the U.S. health insurance program for people age 65 or older.  Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure.  The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care.

Medicare is financed by a portion of the payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers.  It is also financed in part by monthly premiums deducted from Social Security checks.  Medicare has four parts.  For more information, please visit the U.S. Social Security Administration’s web page “Medicare Benefits.”

However, Medicare is only applied if you receive medical services in the United States and not abroad.  If you had previously applied for Medicare, such as Part B, which helps pay for doctors’ services and outpatient care, an amount of money will be deducted from your monthly social security payments.

If you have decided to permanently reside in Albania and want your Medicare Part B canceled, you must contact the Regional Federal Benefits Office (RFBO) in Rome, Italy as per their website instructions.

DNA testing is available if there’s a case associated with an application and only when requested by a consular officer.

In visa and citizenship cases that depend on a biological relationship between a U.S. citizen and the beneficiary, the applicant may choose to submit DNA test results if other relationship evidence is unavailable or insufficient.  The testing is entirely voluntary and all costs and expenses associated with it must be paid entirely by the visa or passport applicant.

The Embassy can only accept DNA tests conducted by an American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) accredited laboratory.  Testing for individuals in the U.S. takes place at a laboratory-approved testing facility.  Individuals in Albania will come to the Embassy for sample collection.

Step 1: Choose an AABB accredited lab and contact them directly to make arrangements for testing.  Testing kits for individuals who will be tested in Albania must be sent by the selected lab directly to the following address:

U.S. Embassy
Consular Section/ACS
Rruga Elbasanit Nr 103
1001 Tirana
Albania

Step 2: Once the Embassy receives your testing kit, we will contact you to arrange a time to come to the Embassy to provide a DNA sample.  A lab technician from the Embassy panel physician’s office will collect the DNA sample in the consular section.  While the Embassy does not charge a fee, the panel physician’s office charges the above-mentioned fee per applicant to collect the sample. Once the test is complete, the Embassy will seal the DNA samples and ship them to the laboratory you chose.

Step 3: The testing laboratory will send results directly to the Embassy. Even though your relative or petitioner may receive his own copy of the results earlier, the Embassy can act only after receiving results directly from the AABB-approved laboratory.

For information on Avian Influenza please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Avian Influenza A (H5N1) and Pandemic Influenza.”  Additionally, the U.S. Government’s provides useful information to people living abroad through the Centers for Disease Control website.

In Albania, doctors and hospitals expect payment in cash at the time of service.  Your regular U.S. health insurance may not cover doctors’ and hospital visits in Albania.  If your policy doesn’t go with you when you travel, it’s a very good idea to take out another one for your trip.  For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs web page “Insurance Providers for Overseas Coverage.”

If you become ill in Albania and require assistance to fly back to the United States, you may hire a medical escort.  Generally, when a medical escort is hired, a physician with basic medical equipment accompanies the patient on board a commercial airline flight.  If you are seeking a medical escort, you may consult with the physicians or hospitals on this list to see about options for hiring one.

If you require additional assistance, you may decide to be medically evacuated and hire an air ambulance service.  An air ambulance is an aircraft that gives immediate medical assistance in case of emergencies. Each air ambulance is normally equipped with medical equipment along with specialized medical personnel to care for the patient’s needs. Family members are usually allowed to accompany the patient.  For a list of air ambulances and other services, please read below.

If you do not need medical assistance to return on a commercial flight, but are not able to use a normal seat inside the aircraft, a few commercial airline companies departing from Albania to the U.S. may provide a commercial stretcher service.  Costs depend on the number of seats required to provide the service.  You should contact the airlines directly for additional information.

Travelers entering Albania with legal medications are not generally  required to abide by any specific Albanian regulation.  However, customary practice dictates that for amounts which far exceed those sufficient for 30 days of treatment, Albanian health and customs authorities may request travelers to show a doctor’s prescription.  Some narcotics, psychotropic and doping substances are legal for use but prohibited for import into Albania and if found by Border or Customs authorities will lead to legal difficulties.  Travelers carrying narcotics for personal medical use must have a medical certificate drawn up by the competent state health authority prior to their departure.  Failure to do this may result in the confiscation of the narcotic by the customs authorities.

Should travelers have any medical issues or questions regarding medicine while staying in Albania, they should contact a doctor or hospital.  For a list of some doctors and hospital operating in Albania, please read below.

Under Albanian law, the importation of medication into Albania is strictly regulated.  Albanian customs and health authorities generally clear incoming shipments of medication only upon the presentation of a prescription or a statement signed by a physician licensed in Albania, certifying that the medication is essential for the patient.  Essential is deemed that the patient would be put in a life-threatening situation without the medication.  For further information visit the website of the Albanian Ministry of Health.