Before leaving to a new destination it is important to check what health services are available in that country. Health care systems vary from country to country and might not include some services that we would expect to get free.
Each insured person who comes from the European Union country or the European Free Trade Association country (Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway) is entitled to free medical care. The only requirement is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Remember, that the card does not comprise private and planned treatment in health care units which do not have contract with the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ).
During the temporary stay in Poland the foreigner who possesses the EHIC (or another required certificate) can benefit from medical services, which are crucial from the medical perspective. Its’ main aim is to enable patients to continue their stay in Poland, so that they do not have to come back to their countries. The range of these services is determined by doctors.
Medical services are given to foreigners on the same basis as for those insured in the NFZ. The entitled person should be treated equally as the insured one.
If the person who is insured in another country of the EU/EFTA has changed one’s address and has moved to Poland is obliged to obtain one of the following insurance forms: E106, E109, E120, E121, E123 or a portable document S1. One shall register this document with the relevant authorities in the country of residence. After that the patient and his/her family will have the same medical coverage as residents of that particular country.
How can I confirm my entitlement to health care?
The person who intends to benefit from the services of medical care given by providers who have signed the agreement with the NFZ is obliged to present a proper confirmation. The following documents are necessary to confirm entitlement to health care benefits in Poland:
– European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and in the absence of an EHIC during the stay in Poland – Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).
– E112 /S2 form
– E106/E109/E120/E121/ S1 form and a certification issued on their basis
What should I do in case of emergency?
In case of emergency, medical services are given immediately and without any referral. The patient can benefit from the help of nurse, midwife, doctor or hospital, who did not sign the agreement with the NFZ. In case of direct danger to life, one should call an ambulance – 999 or 112. The main information the dispatcher should know are:
– the exact place of an accident
– the reason of calling
– who needs help
– who calls the ambulance
What is the Emergency Department and the Emergency Room?
In case of subjective feeling of danger or in case of emergency, the person can benefit from emergency help in the Emergency Department (Szpitalny Oddział Ratunkowy – SOR) without the referral. If necessary, the patient is medically insured and transported to another, specialist place.
Remember, that the Emergency Department is the place, where medical advices are given. During the day, medical services are given by family doctor or medical specialist in ambulatory mode.
The Emergency Room (Izba Przyjęć) takes care of those who are in a life-threatening condition, for example caused by an accident, injury or poisoning
General information concerning access to health care during a temporary stay in Poland
Access to healthcare during a temporary stay in Poland
If you are entitled to healthcare on the basis of EU regulations on coordination of social security systems, then during a temporary stay in Poland you have the right to healthcare benefits in kind that are necessary for medical reasons and are provided by healthcare providers who are contracted for the provision of such services by the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ). A logo of the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ) is placed on the buildings of such facilities. Furthermore, information on healthcare providers operating in a given province who are contracted by the Polish National Health Fund is available at the regional branch of the NFZ that is responsible for the area.
How to receive primary healthcare services (PHC)?
In order to receive primary healthcare services you should go to a doctor who signed a contract with the NFZ and present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC. Primary healthcare (PHC) includes outpatient care provided by a doctor, nurse or midwife of primary healthcare, also in the patient's home. A primary healthcare physician may refer you to diagnostic tests, to a specialist or to hospital.
PHC surgeries are open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. After 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, healthcare is provided by the so called 24 hour- medical service units that are contracted for such services by the NFZ. Addresses and telephone numbers of units providing 24 hour-medical service are available in primary healthcare surgeries.
How to receive the services of a medical specialist?
In order to receive the services of a medical specialist, you should go to a doctor who signed a contract with the NFZ and present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC. In the case you need a specialized outpatient treatment, it is necessary to have a referral from your health insurance doctor. A referral is not required to visit the following medical specialists:
- gynecologist and obstetrician,
and in the cases of the following persons:
- TB patients,
- HIV - infected,
- addicted to alcohol, drugs and psychoactive substances - in relation to a detoxification treatment,
- disabled war veterans and soldiers, victims of oppression and combatants,
- blind civil victims of war,
- entitled soldiers or employees, in relation to the treatment of injuries and illnesses incurred while performing tasks outside the country,
- injured veterans, in relation to the treatment of injuries and illnesses incurred while performing tasks outside the country.
Apart from the above, persons who received the Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card from their PHC doctor do not need to have a referral.
In the event of an accident, injury, poisoning or a life-threatening condition you will receive all the necessary medical services without a referral.
How to receive dental services?
In order to receive dental services, you should go to a doctor who signed a contract with the NFZ and present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC. Free dental services within the public health insurance are available only to a certain extent, as defined in the Regulation of the Minister of Health of 6 November 2013 on guaranteed services in the field of dental treatment (Journal of Laws, pos. 1462)  .
A list of free services and dental materials should be available at dentist surgeries. The costs of the provision of non-standard dental services and materials, that is, those that are not on the list of the Minister of Health, will be charged from the patient.
How to receive hospital treatment?
If the goal of the treatment cannot be achieved by outpatient care and there is a need for inpatient treatment, then it is necessary to obtain a referral from a doctor, dentist or a medical professional. Persons who obtained the Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card from their PHC doctor are exempted from the obligation to obtain a referral.
In the event of a sudden illness, an accident, injury, poisoning or a life-threatening condition you will receive all the necessary medical services without a referral to the hospital.
You should go to the hospital, which signed a contract with the NFZ and present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC. During your stay in the hospital, all treatments, examinations and medicines are provided free of charge, except for non-standard services the cost of which must be covered from your own funds.
How to receive transport to the hospital?
In the event of an accident, injury, childbirth, sudden illness or a sudden deterioration in health status, you should call the ambulance - Tel. No. 999 or 112 or go directly to the hospital, especially to the Hospital Emergency Department (ED). If reduced mobility prevents the patient from the use of public transport, medical transport  in such cases is free of charge. Free medical transport is also available on the basis of an order issued by the primary care physician.
You must show your European Health Insurance Card or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC.
What services is the patient entitled to in case of a suspected cancer diagnosis?
If in the course of the provision of primary healthcare (PHC) a patient who holds a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC is diagnosed with a suspected cancer, and the services related to the diagnosis and treatment of this cancer are necessary for medical reasons, then taking into account the nature of the services and the planned duration of the patient's stay in Poland, the doctor issues the Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card .  Such card shall not be issued in case of suspected skin cancer, unless it is a melanoma.
The Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card entitles the patient to receive diagnostic services without a referral, which aim is to confirm or exclude the existence of a suspected cancer.
In the case the existence of a malignant tumor is confirmed, then on the basis of the Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card, the patient has the right to receive healthcare services aimed at the treatment of this cancer in outpatient specialist care or in the hospital without showing a referral.
A patient, who is the holder of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC, and intends to make use of oncological diagnosis or treatment, is required to leave the Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card at the healthcare provider where the services will be received. In the case the healthcare provider must be changed, the patient receives the Diagnosis and Oncological Treatment Card back and can submit it to another provider in order to continue the treatment.
How to receive the medication?
A prescription can be issued by a health insurance doctor, healthcare professional and a physician who is not a health insurance doctor, but has concluded a contract with the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ) authorizing him/her to issue prescriptions.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate of the EHIC must be presented to the pharmacist.
The prescribed medicine can be purchased:
- free of charge;
- at the payment of 30% or 50% of their funding limit – up to the funding limit and at a surcharge in the amount of the difference between the retail price and the amount of the funding limit;
- at a fixed rate of 3,20 PLN in the case of basic medicine and 8,80 PLN  in the case of supplementary medicine;
- paid in full - in the case of medicine that is not included in the list of reimbursed medicine  .
The use of services on the basis of the EU form E 112/S2:
After an agreement with the Polish healthcare provider, who has signed a contract with the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ) about the conditions and the deadline for the provision of the planned services, a copy of E 112/S2 Form should be submitted to the appropriate regional branch of the Polish National Health Fund respective of the headquarters of the service provider.
Polish institutions involved in the coordination of social security systems in the field of healthcare benefits in kind are as follows:
- The competent authority - Minister of Health
- The Liaison Body - Headquarters of the Polish National Health Fund
- The competent institution / according to the place of residence / place of stay - 16 regional branches of the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ)
Last updated on Thursday, 29 January, 2015 - 16:29. Originally submitted by rgralak on Sunday, 8 January, 2012 - 22:27.