Healthcare in Poland



Expatriates relocating to Poland will find an excellent healthcare system that is divided between the private and the public sector. It is highly recommended for everyone in this country to have medical coverage since Polish healthcare can be quite expensive.

As per Article 8 of the Polish Constitution, healthcare is a right to everyone in the country, and the local government is obliged to provide free health services to the elderly, pregnant women, children and people with disability. Healthcare in Poland is delivered through the Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia (National Health Fund (NHF), a publicly-funded health system that services all Polish nationals and qualified expats. Poland’s state healthcare is heavily funded by compulsory individual contributions and government budget. Expats in this country should keep in mind that it is not possible to opt out of the Polish public healthcare scheme even if they are considered as low-income earner or part of a vulnerable group.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

It is compulsory for all residents of Poland to have health insurance, citizens or expats. Employers are required to register their expat workers with the health insurance fund as soon as their jobs start. The cost of contributions to the NHF is usually around 8.5% of the gross salary and will be automatically deducted from the employees’ monthly payroll. Dependents such as spouse and children are already covered by the contributions of their expat family member. Those that are self-employed, on the other hand, also need to comply with the mandatory insurance. Their contributions will be based on the amount they earn.

EU citizens may avail of Polish health care services with their European Health Insurance card. Under the system, medical emergencies and treatment are always free. Sometimes, people will be asked to pay upfront, but one should never do so without a proper receipt that specifies exactly what treatment has been received.

Dental treatment is not covered by health insurance, although EU member country citizens who have a European Health Insurance Card may avail of dental emergency treatments for free. The same may also receive free rescue services and ambulance transport during accidents and other emergencies such as injuries and childbirth.

Visiting a Doctor

Poland has a lower number of physicians and medical professionals compared to its neighbouring European countries. However, expats will still be glad to know that despite their small number, doctors in this country are considered highly qualified. A majority of doctors in Poland are concentrated in major towns and cities such as Warsaw. All physicians in this country are also mandated by law to do home visits in case of an emergency situation and if there is no ambulance service available.

Any insured person will need a health insurance record that will be submitted to the medical staff when needing health or emergency care. There is also a need for the individual to sign up with the local health centre while indicating that he or she will be receiving medical treatment mostly from that particular location. When needed, a physician in the local centre will refer patients to better-equipped hospitals. There are, however, specialist treatments which don't need referrals and these include dental, psychiatric and dermatologic treatments, among others. For serious, chronic ailments, no referrals are required as well.

Hospitals in Poland

For free health services to be enjoyed, one needs to own a healthcare insurance policy with a National Health Fund -affiliate healthcare provider. Poland’s state hospital system is categorised into different groups based on referral levels: First level referral hospitals offer services in the fields of obstetrics and gynaecology, internal medicine, paediatrics and surgery while the second level referral hospitals specialise in urology, oncology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology. The third level referral hospitals, on the other hand, provide highly focused medical treatment by the country’s top medical specialists. Some of the most prominent medical facilities in Poland are:

Al. Polish children 20, 04-730 Warsaw

Tel: 801 051 000

Copernicus 36 31-501 Krakow

Tel: 12 424 70 00

ul. PodleĊ›na 61, 01-637, Warsaw

Tel: +48 (22) 569 59 00

Medicines and Emergency Services

Medicines prescribed for standard treatments may be obtained from pharmacies for free or at great discounts amounting to at least 30-50% of the cost. Expats need to check out local newspapers or the Internet for a listing of pharmacies by location. Most are open for 24 hours, especially in the major cities.

Expats in a medical emergency are always advised to proceed directly to a hospital where crucial care may be received even without a health insurance. Expenses incurred for making such care possible will have to be paid afterwards, though. If transporting a patient to the hospital is impossible at the time of emergency, the hotline, 112, should be dialled. Expats need not worry about language issues as these emergency numbers are operated by English-speaking attendants.

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