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Are expatriates eligible for free healthcare in Poland? What are the relating conditions and formalities? Find out in this article.

Healthcare will probably be one of your main priorities on moving to Poland. Rest assured! Like most European countries, Poland has a modern and developed health care system that provides free or subsidised medical services to its citizens as well as legal residents.

With that, a large number of residents choose to combine the benefits of both public and private health care. It is generally recommended that foreigners subscribe to private healthcare insurance prior to moving to the country.

Health system

The Polish health system includes a number of public and private hospitals and health care centres, as well as doctors in private practice. Most of these healthcare centres provide all types of care and treatments, ranging from the most basic to the most specialised services.

Note that you will need to pay for public health care services as if you are not affiliated with the Social Security or with a health insurance.

While the public health care system is well-developed, you should still get ready for potentially long lines and occasional delays at public hospitals. These factors result in a number of residents seeking private health care, especially for specific services (dental, surgeries, pregnancy, emergency cases, etc.). Keep in mind, however, that private healthcare is quite expensive and it’s best to enquire about the potential cost of the services beforehand.

Medical insurance

If you are staying in Poland as a tourist, you will need to have arranged proper coverage by the National Health Fund or a private insurance company for the length of your stay prior to arrival. In fact, proof of paid for insurance is typically one of the requirements when applying for a visa to Poland.

If you have moved to Poland from one of the member countries of the European Economic Area, you can use your EHIC card (European Health Insurance) for basic health care that will cover emergency services. However, in most cases, you will also be asked to contribute part of your treatment costs. For full coverage, you will need to make payments to the National Health fund or arrange private health insurance.

If you have moved to Poland from a non-EEA country, you can apply for coverage by the National Health Fund. In order to do so, you will need to fill in some paperwork and present proof that you are staying in the country legally.

A large number of residents favour private health insurance, which will typically cover the full cost of your treatments without any additional costs. Note that subscription to a health insurance is highly recommended for foreign students and non-European nationals.

With the right insurance plan, you will also be able to get your prescriptions for free, while those without insurance will need to pay for all their medication.

Private hospitals also provide a comprehensive set of medical services for fee-paying customers. Local residents typically prefer to refer to private hospitals for dental care, pregnancy, minor and cosmetic surgery, etc. In case of more serious conditions, however, most residents seek treatment in state hospitals.

Emergency

Emergency health care services are provided by all health care centres, including local health centres. Ambulance services, for their part, are taken care of by the Social Security for European nationals. Non-European nationals are also eligible for these services, but charges apply. These charges are taken care of by their insurance company.

In case of an emergency anywhere in the country, dial 999, whether from your landline or mobile phone.

Social security

All employees in Poland must have a Social Security number. Registration procedures will be taken care of by your employer. Thereafter, your employer will be making monthly contributions to the fund on your behalf. In the case of European Union and European Economic Area nationals, they are eligible for full coverage in all healthcare centres within the European Union provided they have a European Health Insurance Card.

 Useful links:

Yellow Pages – Directory of Hospitals in Poland
Yellow Pages – Directory of Pharmacies in Poland
Ministry of Health

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.