The development of the healthcare system in Bulgaria, Croatia (former member of Yugoslavia), Estonia (former member of Soviet Union) and Slovakia (former member of Czechoslovakia) is important as an example of former socialist countries, with centrally planned economy which was transformed into market economy. The aim of this article is to compare healthcare systems in Austria, Estonia, Croatia, Slovakia and Bulgaria as well as the risk factors, effectiveness of the systems, health expenditure, source of revenue and financial flows, out of pocket payments, voluntary health insurance, payment mechanisms, financial protection and equity in financing, equity of access to healthcare, transparency and plans for future development. The conclusion is that despite some improvements over the last... three decades, health outcomes in these Eastern European countries remain unsatisfactory in comparison with Austria and the other leading EU countries. Unhealthy lifestyles persist in these countries and there are large disparities between different socioeconomic groups. In Austria health system is complex, with shared responsibilities between different levels of government and self-governing bodies. Austria performs well in ensuring access to healthcare, it reports the lowest levels of unmet needs for medical care across the EU and, despite relatively high out-of pocket payments, provides comprehensive financial protection for vulnerable groups.