Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Bulgaria - Health care

In what situation can I claim?

If your health insurance coverage is uninterrupted you can benefit from medical assistance covered by the National Health Insurance Fund. Health insurance is mandatory for Bulgarian citizens and citizens of other countries who reside permanently in Bulgaria and do not have health insurance in another EU member country.

The European health insurance card certifies that you are entitled to use all emergency medical assistance in the EU and the EEA; the costs will be covered by Bulgaria. In order to use this right you must have uninterrupted health insurance coverage.

For those who are not insured, emergency assistance is covered by the Ministry of Health.

For children aged under 16 years, medical care is covered by the budget. Students aged under 26 years enrolled in a regular form of education are insured through the budget.

The Fund for Treatment of Children Centre provides financial and organisational assistance for treatment of children abroad if sufficiently effective treatment is not available in the country. The amounts are paid individually and depend on the child's illness and the cost of treating it.

What conditions do I need to meet?

You can find your health insurance status on the National Revenue Agency website.

If you live outside the EU, you must submit a declaration that you spend at least 183 days annually outside Bulgaria. This will relieve you of the liability to pay health insurance in Bulgaria.

If you have lived outside the EU and have not paid contributions in Bulgaria, you have two options for restoring your health insurance entitlements in the country:

  • you pay health insurance contributions for 6 months, but you are not insured during this period;
  • you pay a one-off health care insurance contribution for 12 months and your entitlements will be restored immediately.

When visiting your general practitioner or dentist, you must pay a user charge. For 2017, this charge was BGN 2.90 or BGN 1 for pensioners. User charges are payable for hospital treatment. For 2017, they were BGN 5.40 per day. The charge is only payable for the first 10 days in hospital.

A list of people exempt from payment of the user charge can be found on the National Health Insurance Fund website.

The European health insurance card is free of charge and is issued within 15 calendar days.

Health care benefits which do not depend on insurance are linked to the urgency of the required medical intervention or the need for illness prevention.

The Fund for Treatment of Children Centre is financed partially from the state budget and from donations. It does not exclude or replace opportunities for treatment abroad as defined by European legislation. It provides financial and organisational assistance for the treatment of children aged up to 18 years if:

  • the required diagnostic and treatment procedures cannot be carried out in Bulgaria;
  • treatment is for rare diseases not covered by the budget and outside the scope of mandatory health insurance;
  • medical products are prohibited for use in Bulgaria;
  • medical products indicated in the list of the fund cannot be obtained in Bulgaria;
  • medical items are not covered by the National Health Insurance Fund or in accordance with the Integration of Persons with Disabilities Act;
  • specialised medical apparatus and instruments are required for individual use;
  • transplantation is required for organs and stem cells;
  • transplantation cannot be carried out in Bulgaria.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Health care

Your health care entitlements give you access to medical care in Bulgaria and all the medical care you require when you stay in EU and EEA countries. This means:

  • access to high-quality medical care;
  • primary outpatient care;
  • specialised outpatient care;
  • diagnostic tests;
  • highly specialised medical activities;
  • dental care;
  • hospital care;
  • medicines for home treatment;
  • information on your health status and your treatment methods.

To use your health insurance entitlements, you must choose a general practitioner, also known as a personal doctor. He/she is the first step in your treatment and, if necessary, will refer you to a specialist. For this purpose, you will need a referral for consultation with a specialist. The system of clinical pathways is described in detail on the National Health Insurance Fund website. You can change or choose your general practitioner twice every year from 1 to 30 June and from 1 to 31 December. If you change your place of residence, you can choose your general practitioner on a temporary basis (for 1 to 6 months).

Students in a regular form of education up to the age of 26 are insured by the budget. Between completion of their secondary education and the start of their university education, however, they must cover their own social insurance contributions.

European health insurance card

The European health insurance card facilitates your access to medical care in EU and EEA countries. If medical care in the country in which you are located is free of change, you are also entitled to free treatment on presentation of your card. The use of the European health insurance card guarantees reimbursement of medical expenses in situ or after your return to Bulgaria. The treatment and its payment (and reimbursement) depends on the rules in the country in which you have had to use it.

The card is free of charge and is issued within 15 calendar days of submitting an application.

Health care not linked to health insurance

Even if you do not have health insurance, you are entitled to:

  • emergency care;
  • obstetric and gynaecological examinations and medical care for childbirth for uninsured women;
  • in-patient psychological care;
  • transplantation of organs, tissues and cells;
  • mandatory treatment and/or mandatory isolation;
  • expert assessments of the type and degree of long-term incapacity to work;
  • medical transport;
  • assisted reproduction.

All Bulgarian citizens and EU citizens are entitled to:

  • vaccines for mandatory immunisation and re-immunisation;
  • vaccines for special indications and in extraordinary circumstances;
  • specific serums, immunoglobulins and other bio-products connected with the prevention of contagious illnesses;
  • technical equipment for applying them;
  • all anti-epidemic activities;
  • access to health care activities included in national, regional and municipal health programmes.

Children (Bulgarian citizens and EU citizens) in care in health institutions are entitled to free medical and social care.

Fund for Treatment of Children

The Fund for Treatment of Children Centre examines applications for financing treatment in the cases mentioned above. Amounts of money for treatment are paid on an individual basis in accordance with the child's illness and the cost of the treatment in a foreign hospital.

The finance application procedure is described on the web page of the Ministry of Health website.

The Fund for Treatment of Children Centre also assists the treatment of Bulgarian citizens aged up 21 years who need stem cell transplants in the event of malignant and haematological diseases. This takes place if:

  • you have suffered from one of the indicated illnesses before reaching the age of 18;
  • the methods applied for your treatment have not given a positive result.

Jargon busters

  • Uninterrupted health insurance coverage: your coverage is uninterrupted if fewer than three health insurance contributions are unpaid over the previous 36 months. If your employer or other person is obliged to pay your health insurance contributions, non-payment of health insurance contributions does not deprive you of your health insurance entitlements.
  • NHIF: National Health Insurance Institute.
  • Clinical Pathways: the system of requirements and instructions for medical specialists when treating patients. It makes it possible to account for and regulate the procedures carried out so that they can be paid by the National Health Insurance Fund.
  • EU and EEA: European Union and European Economic Area. This includes Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Norway.

Forms you may need to fill in

Know your rights

The laws and web pages of the institutions which determine your rights can be found by following the links below. These are not European Commission pages and do not represent the opinion of the Commission:

European Commission publications:

Who do you need to contact?

National Health Insurance Fund

  • Address: Ul. Krichim No 1
  • 1407 Sofia

National telephone line for public information: +359 80014800 (one impulse for analogue telephones, free from digital telephones). The duration of one consultation is 5 minutes.
Telephone: +359 29659121 / 29659387 from analogue and mobile telephones.

Information for citizens relating to their health insurance entitlements in the European Community:
Telephone: +359 29659116

National Health Insurance Fund experts work from 9.00 to 17.30 from Monday to Friday.

Consultation centre for citizens relating to their health insurance entitlements in the European Community:

  • Address: Lozenets, Ul. Krichim No 1
  • 1407 Sofia

Consultation centre for citizens:

  • Lozenets, Ul. Lyubata No 15
  • 1407 Sofia

Consultation hours for citizens: 'Free Movement of People' - European regulations and bilateral agreements for social insurance.
Morning: 10.00-12.00, afternoon: 14.00-16.00.

Offices issuing European health insurance cards

Fund for Treatment of Children Centre

  • Telephone: +359 29526943 / 29526942
  • cfld@mh.government.bg
  • Address for correspondence and applications:
    Post Box 19
    1000 Sofia

Office address:

  • National Public Health Protection Centre
  • Bul. Acad. Ivan Evlogii Geshov No 15
  • Et. 11, room 21 and 22
  • Sofia
  • Telephone/Fax: +359 29526943 / 29526942

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