In Poland, you can benefit from health care in public clinics, hospitals free of charge, but in such case you should be insured. Any medical services in private clinics are subjected to charges.
Insured persons, those entitled to free health care in Poland, are also entitled to other health services provided in order to prevent diseases and injuries e.g.: early detection of diseases, treatment, care and prevention of disability.
The National Health Fund (NFZ) is a state institution that finances health care services from contributions paid by persons insured in the National Health Fund (i.e. insured persons pay a contribution to the National Health Fund, and for that receive free health care).
Website of the National Health Fund
Insured persons are people covered by the common – mandatory or voluntary health insurance – who are entitled to benefit from health care financed from the public funds, on the terms specified in the Act.
MANDATORY HEALTH INSURANCE:
- concerns all persons employed in Poland (including foreigners), who have signed a contract of employment. In this case, each month the employer pays the contribution to health NFZ (National Health Fund). It is very important that after proper registration in the NFZ health services available to the insured person may also benefit members of close family, if they cannot benefit from other forms of insurance.
- unemployed registered in the Labour Office,
- uniformed services (soldiers, conscripts, policemen, officers of other services),
- Members of the Parliament,
- lawyers (judges, prosecutors, jurors, etc.),
- refugees (refugee status must be recognized in Poland) and foreigners under subsidiary protection and integration program in consultation with a powiat family assistance center – such program lasts for 12 months,
- children attending school (as a part of the care provided by the school), even if their parents’ stay in Poland is not legalized.
VOLUNTARY HEALTH INSURANCE
If you are staying in Poland legally, e.g. you are an employee with a contract of employment, an employee staying on an unpaid leave and you are not subject to a mandatory insurance you can insure voluntarily. In order to do this:
• go to a branch of the National Health Fund, which corresponds to the place of residence
• complete an application form (available at the registered office and on the website of the National Health Fund).
WHO PAYS THE INSURANCE CONTRIBUTION?
- you are an employee - if you are legally employed then your employers pays the contribution
- you run a business - anyone who runs a business, must pay contribution each month for oneself. In this case of conducting a number of economic activities, a contribution must be paid for each of them.
- you signed a contract of mandate - your customer pays the premium.
- you are a refugee or receive subsidiary protection – a powiat family support center pays the contribution for 12 months of the program.
- if you are insured voluntarily, then you pay the contribution for yourself.
PROOF OF INSURANCE
When you go to a doctor, and you are an insured person you do not have to bring any insurance confirmation. The only thing you need is PESEL number (if you have it) and your personal ID. This can be an identity card, passport or driving license. Minors can show their valid school ID. Parents of newborns and infants up to three months may provide their PESEL number (if they have it). Whether you are insured or not will be checked in eWUŚ system at the reception desk.
INSURANCE IN OTHER EU COUNTRIES
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a free card that gives us access to all necessary from a medical point of view services of the public health care during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, on the same basis and the same price (or free in some countries) as people insured in that country.
HEALTH CARE IN POLAND - WHERE CAN THE CURE?
Places where you can get medical care in Poland:
• CLININCS - primary medical care provided by general practitioners
Usually open from Monday to Friday from 8.00 to 18.00
! In cases of sudden illness, when you cannot wait for the opening of the clinic the emergency night and holiday surgeries are available from 18.00 to 8.00 the next day, and round-the-clock on public holidays. The doctor who is on duty can also give advice via telephone or at home.
* Information about the nearest clinic on duty should be placed at the front door of each clinic.
* Information about the nearest pharmacy on duty is also placed in a prominent place in any pharmacy.
• SPECIALIST CLINICS - often functioning as a part of ordinary clinic. Here you can get advice from a specialist doctor such as: dermatologist, otolaryngologist, neurologist, oncologist.
• MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC LABORATORY – conducts diagnostic research and analysis based on a referral from a doctor or dentist.
• DENTAL PRSTHETIC AND ORTHODONTICS – provide benefits based on a referral from a dentist.
• REHABILITATION CENTRES - provides benefits based on a referral from a doctor.
REFERRAL TO PHYSICIAN: WHAT IS IT?
To go to a specialist you need a referral from GP in a clinic.
No referral is needed in order to visit the following specialists:
• gynecologist and obstetrician,
Persons exempt from presenting referrals:
• disabled war and military veterans,
• repressed persons,
• blind civilian victims of war,
• patients with tuberculosis,
• infected with HIV,
• research of organ donors
• addicted to alcohol, narcotics and psychotropic substances - in substance abuse treatment,
• entitled (soldiers or employees), and veterans - in the treatment of injuries or illnesses incurred while performing duties outside the country.
NFZ: Information on benefits
DRUGS – PRESCRIPTION AND REFUNDS
Be aware that some medications are issued only on prescription and you cannot buy them in a different way. You may receive a prescription at doctor’s office. Some prescription drugs are subject to "refund" that is they are cheaper, the drug may be refunded partially or entirely.
! Pharmacy is obliged to inform you about the possibility of purchasing the drug, other than the one prescribed on the prescription, with same international name, dose and composition, which price does not exceed the price limit. This does not apply when a doctor notes the inability to replace prescribed medication in writing on the prescription bill.
FIRST VISIT TO A CLINIC
It is best to make an appointment to a doctor in advance e.g. via telephone or visit the reception desk early in the morning.
At the reception you will get all necessary information concerning doctors available, and possible dates. You will be asked to present your ID (or any other document confirming your identity).
CHOICE OF A DOCTOR, NURSE, MIDWIFE
To use a primary health care, first you must choose a GP, nurse and midwife (in case of women patients). You can freely choose a GP three times a year. to do this, you must submit a declaration in writing in your clinic’s reception desk.
The fee is not charged:
• If you change the place of residence;
• if your GP stopped working ;
• other reasons.
! While away from home (e.g. on holiday or on a business trip), you have the right to basic health care in case of sudden illness or sudden deterioration of health.
EMERGENCY NUMBERS AND ALARM
In order to rescue people in emergency situation, call the emergency number 112. You can call for an ambulance to the patient whose life is in danger.
Calling an ambulance, you must provide the following information:
• exact location of the event (address, landmarks);
• the reason for the call;
• who needs help;
• who calls the ambulance.
The Act of 27 August 2004 on health care services financed from public funds