Insurance or National Health


I am a bit confused about whether we are able to pay into the Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund or not. We are don’t work here (but are not retirement age), we live semi self sufficiently and have a small income from the UK. We have got our long term residency permits (which last until 2022) but I read you have to have been in the country 3-5 years to be able to pay in? The other option (insurance) seems to be very expensive.

Any advice greatly appreciated!


Once you have residency you can sign up to the Health fund in fact it is a legal requirement to do so once you are resident.
If you do not have an S1 form which you get once you have reached retirement age you will pay 22.70 Leva per month.
If you want to top up with private medical insurance you can do but it is not necessary..

Ok thank you so much for explaining, we have just returned to Bulgaria this month after being back home in England and I’m keen to get this sorted. Just to check (as I had read some confusing advice) I have temporary residency on my card it says under type of resident “long term residence” but it’s only valid until March 2022. Is that still ok to be able to register to pay the 22л a month? Do you know how I go about arranging paying the monthly amount? I live in the Gabrovo region is there a local office I should visit?


I have an EHIC card issued by NHS. Do I really need any extra local insurance (at least before Brexit)? A bit confused here...


You'll want to go to the NAP office in the center. It is on the pedestrian walkway, a pinkish building w/ the entrance on the middle of the block, with the eu and Bulgarian flags on top of the door.

If you don't speak Bulgarian, you will need to bring someone who does.

Also, to let you know, I had problems registering when I had a лнч but once I got my EGN I was able to register without problems. So, if you have a lnch instead of an EGN, you may have problems registering.


Ok great thanks so much, we’ll go to the office with a translator we’ve used before who’s very helpful and see what they say.

I’m sorry this probably sounds stupid but I don’t really know what the difference is between an лнч and EGN? I’ve looked on the card and can’t seem to see either written on it. I assume one is temporary residency and one permanent but would you mind just clarifying? 

Thanks again! I really appreciate the help.

Oh and eugiebear - I believe the EHIC is only for tourists, once you’ve been in the country more than three months it cannot be used. Which I find a bit confusing since they use the EHIC when giving you temporary residency to determine how long they’ll grant you!


The EGN would start with your birth year, birth month, birth day as the first six numbers. A лнч is a bit more randomly assigned, so it would not start with your birth year.

I believe EU gets EGN instead of лнч as soon as they register for residency... but I am not 100% sure on that. Non-EU have a лнч for the first 3-5 years (while we have 1-year permits).

The level of permits goes:
extended stay (for one year, with a лнч)
long-term (5 years, with EGN)
permanent (permanent, with EGN)

So if your permit is until 2022, it should be with an EGN, in theory

The big problem is that after 29 march Brits aren't part of the EU anymore and that has consequences. So if you still can get a insurance before this date do it right now.

Ahhh ok that makes sense! We are from England so EU for now, so I hope that means we’ll be able to get it sorted straight away.

Yes good point about Brexit! We better get it done ASAP to avoid any possible issues.

Thanks again to everyone for all their helpful advice!

Hi there,

I would expand a bit more the National Health Insurance Fund issue. 
So actually you can start paying contributions to the NHIF and after certiain period of time you will receive the rights of a health insured person in Bulgaria, and therefore the right to use the country's Health system with little or no payment. This is the first option and it concers solely the health insurance.

However for people that are far form retirement age there's also a second option and it is to register as freelancers, select their insurance threshold (over a certain minimum) and get full insurance coverage, which includes retirement, illness, etc. In certain cases even temporary unemployment. It is a bit more complicated but all depends on the purpose.

oh ...
by the way, I am in retirement age now.. do I still need to pay into the Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund?
besides, I see many private insurance ads here. what is the difference?
thanks for updating

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