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.
Night and festive medical care
Night and festive medical care provides foreigners with basic medical services from Monday to Friday by 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. and also on Saturdays, Sundays and bank holidays by 8 a.m. to 8 a.m. the next day. These services are free and we do not need any referral. Each provider within the confines of the contract agreement with the NFZ is obliged to mark the NFZ logo in front of the building. This sign means that the insured foreigner can benefit from medical services there. That is why such indicator should be placed in a visible and available place.