Poland Health Insurance
The Polish public health insurance system is financed by general taxation and provides free and subsidized services including primary care, emergency services, and hospital treatment. Besides that, in Poland, the government also provides free healthcare services for young children, pregnant women, disabled people, and the elderly. Most European citizens can access healthcare in Poland for free, given that they have joined the EHIC, or other mutual health insurance schemes between the countries. Other expatriates are required to pay for healthcare independently or obtain private health insurance in Poland.
The Polish healthcare system bases its operations on the primary care physician. Patients in Poland require a referral from a general practitioner to see most types of specialist physicians, only excluding oncology, gynecology, psychiatry, dentistry, or sexually transmitted disease specialists. Primary care surgeries are usually open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Dental coverage is limited under the National Health Insurance scheme in Poland.
Within the major cities of Poland, expats can receive adequate primary care and medical treatment from well trained, English speaking staff. Expats in Poland generally opt for treatment at private healthcare facilities due to the higher standard of treatment, and also because public hospital regulations generally do not allow private patients to attend public healthcare facilities. Waiting times are also shorter in private hospitals, and patients have a wider selection of doctors and hospitals to choose from. To ensure ease of access to healthcare and medical services, expats in Poland are strongly encouraged to obtain some form of Poland medical insurance.
Emergency medical services (Polish: Ratownictwo Medyczne) in Poland are typically provided by local, publicly operated hospitals, and are generally funded by the government of Poland. However, in many cases, the hospitals contract these services to private operators, and especially if you call the private hospital, rather than the Emergency Line, you might be charged for the emergency medical ride.
Private healthcare in Poland
Even among Polish people, private health insurance is very common in Poland, as it is a standard employee benefit. Long waiting times to access public healthcare is among the top reasons why many Poles choose to get cover from private health insurance companies in Poland.
Two of the main private healthcare provider companies in Poland are Medicover and Luxmed. There are Medicover and Luxmed centers located within Poland's major cities including Bialystok, Warsaw, Bydgoszcz, Gdansk, Gdynia, Katowice, Krakow, Lublin, Lodz, Poznan, Szczecin, and Wroclaw. There are also over 1,000 medical facilities situated in over 200 towns across the country. Medicover and Luxmed both offer primary care, outpatient services, laboratory and imaging diagnostics, as well as hospital treatment.
For those living in Warsaw, many also attend the Damian Medical Centre (DMC), a private health facility offering inpatient and outpatient services, as well as general surgeries. There is a range of specialized services available including orthopedics, gynecology, urology, neurosurgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical oncology, and laryngology. A cardiac clinic is also located within the DMC, offering diagnostic and outpatient services for patients.
Pulsmed Private Hospital, located in Lodz, is a modern medical and diagnostic clinic offering primary care and general surgeries, as well as ophthalmology, urology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, oncology, and other specialties. Swissmed, a private hospital located in Gdansk, offers a range of inpatient and outpatient services including gynecology, pediatric surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, hand surgery, vascular surgery, laryngology, and oncological surgery.
Poland's leading oncology center is located in the city of Gliwice, southern Poland. It is called the Maria Sklodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology, and offers a team of specialist physicians who are trained within America and across Europe. The oncology center has modern facilities providing comprehensive diagnostic, inpatient, and outpatient services including complex operative treatment.
Although there are adequate healthcare facilities for expats living in Poland, in the event of a serious illness or medical condition, emergency evacuation or repatriation services may be required to receive the appropriate and continuous level of care in another country. Expats in Poland are strongly encouraged to obtain some form of private health insurance in Poland, which includes coverage for air transportation services.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Poland
The EHIC is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries, such as Poland) as people insured in that country. Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider and should be obtained in advance before coming to Poland.
Can I use my European health card in Poland?
In the event of a sudden threat to your life or health, emergency medical services are provided by an emergency medical service team. The assistance provided by the emergency medical service teams during medical emergencies is free of charge.
It's important to note that the European Health Insurance Card is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare, or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property. It also does not cover your costs if you are traveling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment (i.e. medical tourism).
Those who wish to stay in Poland should either obtain a travel insurance plan, or private health insurance in Poland to make sure their medical costs will be covered.
If you would like more information about traveling, or moving to Poland and obtaining the best medical insurance policy for the occasion, feel free to contact one of our dedicated advisors today.