In this section, you will learn what health insurance encompasses in Poland and how to claim medical assistance if you live in Poland or are there temporarily.
Under what circumstances am I entitled to benefits?
Everyone covered by health insurance is eligible for free healthcare benefits in Poland.
All people staying in Poland temporarily, residents of European Union countries and the European Economic Area are entitled to these benefits. They only need to have health insurance in their country and have the appropriate documents.
The institution which issues and finances health benefits in Poland is the National Health Fund (later in the Jargon busters).
What conditions need to be met?
The right to enjoy free healthcare benefits is provided to a very large number of groups in society. These include workers, children, students, pensioners, the unemployed and the self-employed.
The right to healthcare benefits is attained when applying for health provision, for which an institution sends a contribution, e.g. an employer or university. The exceptions are the self-employed, who have to declare themselves for insurance.
In addition, each insured person must declare the health provision of their family members who are not entitled to health insurance in another way (e.g. with children). They gain the right to health benefits according to the same principles as an insured person.
You can also apply voluntarily for health insurance.
What am I entitled to and how do I apply?
Each insured person has the right to free benefits from all doctor's surgeries and institutions which have a signed contract with the National Health Fund. Among these are:
- General practitioners;
- Specialist doctors, after a consultation with a general practitioner. It is possible to go to the following specialists without a consultation: gynaecologist, obstetrician, dentist, venereologist, oncologist, and psychiatrist. Consultations are not required in cases of serious threat to one's health or life;
- Hospitals, GP surgeries, guidance centres, health centres. In the event of hospitalisation, all treatments, examinations and medicines are free;
- Private surgeries which have signed contracts with the National Health Fund. Before your visit, you should check whether the services which you want to use in the surgery are provided under the agreement with the health fund;
- Dentists: it should be recalled that dentistry treatment under the insurance is extremely limited. At this link you can check which dentistry services are available to you under the health insurance.
A few medicines in Poland are partly refundable through the National Health Fund. You can read on the pages of the Ministry of Health about grounds for reimbursement and consult the list of refundable medicines. If the medicine prescribed to you is not on the list, you must pay 100% of the market price.
In Poland, pharmacies have an obligation to inform customers whether it is possible to exchange a prescribed medicine against a cheaper equivalent, i.e. one at the same pharmacy or for a lower price. There is also a special hotline of the Ministry of Health which you can call to ask whether prescribed medicines have a cheaper equivalent (look in the "Who do I contact?" section).
During hospitalisation, all medicines are free.
Confirmation of the right to benefits
Residents in Poland may confirm their right to healthcare benefits electronically (giving their PESEL number) using a document confirming health insurance coverage (e.g. that a pension is legitimate) or submit a declaration that they are entitled to insurance.
Residents in the European Union are accorded the same right to healthcare benefits as a resident in Poland. The only condition is to demonstrate that you have the right to healthcare in your country. It is therefore important to have your European Union Health Insurance Card on you.
PESEL number - 11-digit identification number in Poland. The process of providing a PESEL number for each person registered in Poland for at least 3 months is initiated automatically.
National Health Fund (NFZ) manages the healthcare system in Poland. It signs contracts with doctors and healthcare benefit offices as part of the overall healthcare system. The National Health Fund finances the benefits and also covers the costs for refunding medicines.
Documents to be completed
- Certificate ZUS ZZA – for workers or self-employed persons
- Certificate ZUS ZCNA – for family members of workers or self-employed persons
Know your rights
The links below set out your rights; they are not European Commission sites and do not reflect its opinions:
- Description of the healthcare system in Poland on the website of the Ministry of Health
- Guide to patients' rights on the website of the National Health Fund
- Step-by-step - guide to patients’ on the website of the National Health Fund
European Commission websites and publications:
Who do I contact?
National Health Fund – Headquarters
ul. Rakowiecka 26/30
Tel.: +48 225726000
National Health Fund hotline (available24/7): 800190590, from abroad: +48221256600
Ministry of Health
ul. Miodowa 15
Tel.: +48 226349600
Ministry of Health hotline (available from 8.15 a.m. to 4.15 p.m.): +48222500146
Office of the Ombudsman of Patients' Rights
ul. Młynarska 46
Tel.: +48 225328250
Free hotline of the Office of the Ombudsman of Patients' Rights (available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.): 800190590