European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
What is EHIC and what does it entitle you to?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a document based on which, according to the EU regulations on the coordination of social security systems, a person insured in one of the EU/EFTA Member States and members of their family staying temporarily in another EU/EFTA member state, are entitled to receive healthcare benefits in kind that become necessary during their stay for medical reasons. A necessary benefit should be understood as any benefit that a doctor finds essential to be granted due to the patient’s health condition, so that the patient does not to have to return to their country in order to receive treatment. The benefits under EHIC are provided on the same terms as those provided to persons insured in the country of treatment.
Please note: EHIC does not entitle you to receive the so-called scheduled treatment, i.e. treatment that is the target of a patient's stay in Poland.
Who can use EHIC?
Persons staying temporarily in Poland, for example, tourists, students or persons temporarily delegated to work in Poland by employers from other EU/EFTA member states may receive treatment in Poland based on EHIC.
Please note: Students undertaking jobs in Poland are subject to the Polish legislation on account of employment and should be reported to health insurance.
Healthcare providers honoring EHIC
Having presented EHIC, you are entitled to receive treatment from Polish healthcare service providers who have signed a contract with the Polish National Health Fund (NFZ). These medical centers are marked with the NFZ logo and bear the words "Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia” [National Health Fund]. In principle, the benefits provided by the Polish legislation in the list of guaranteed benefits are granted free of charge.
Depending on the length of your stay, EHIC allows you to receive the following:
- primary healthcare benefits, i.e. examinations and medical advice. The doctor may refer you to diagnostic tests, to a specialist or a hospital;
- specialized healthcare benefits following a referral from a health insurance doctor. No referral is required for an appointment with a gynecologist and obstetrician, dentist, venereologist, oncologist or psychiatrist;
- hospital treatment following a referral from a medical health insurance doctor. In the event of sudden illness, accident, injury, poisoning, or a life threatening condition, the necessary medical benefits are granted without a referral to hospital. During your stay in hospital, treatments, examinations and medicines are provided free of charge, except for the non-standard services, the cost of which you must cover from your own funds.
Please note: In the event of an accident or sudden illness, call an ambulance (number 999 or 112) or go directly to the hospital, particularly to the Emergency Room (SOR)
A prescription may be issued by a doctor authorized to prescribe medications under a contract concluded with NFZ. You must present EHIC at the pharmacy. According to the Polish law, prescription medications may be issued: free of charge, for partial payment or full payment.
What to do if you do not have EHIC?
If you require medical care but do not have EHIC, you can apply to your health insurance institution to issue a Provisional Replacement Certificate, which gives you the same rights as EHIC. You can also cover the costs of treatment in Poland on your own, and after returning to your country, you may apply to your institution for reimbursement.