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Poland is a central European state which shares its borders with no fewer than 7 countries: Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. A member of the European Union since 2004, it is the 9th largest and most densely populated country in Europe. The Polish territory, bordered by the Baltic Sea in the north, is a contrast of lush plains, mountain ranges, huge forests and lakes.

Healthcare system

Discover how the Polish healthcare system works

Like many European countries, Poland has an efficient and modern healthcare system. Public healthcare isfree of charge for everyone who is enrolled in the National Health Insurance scheme.

As a citizen of an EU member state, you can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) while in Poland, whether you are traveling or living abroad. To do this, you needto apply toyour health insurance scheme at least 15 days before your departure. By using this card, you will be covered for most of your medical expenses in Poland (basic healthcare; specialized outpatient care; hospital treatment; dental care, etc.) under the same conditions as local people who are enrolled in the scheme.

If you are working under a local contract in Poland, your employer will enroll you in the Polish Social Security system.

Even so, it is strongly recommended to take out private international health insurance for your stay in Poland. This will allow you to benefit from excellent medical coverage in the public and private sectors, as well as providing you with repatriation assistance.

Visiting a doctor

For a medical consultation in Poland, make an appointment with a doctor who has a contract with the National Health Fund (NFZ).This will allow you to benefit from the direct billing system on presentation of your European health insurance card.

You can consult general practitioners freely, but for the vast majority of specialists, you need to get a prescription from your treating doctor beforehand.

The average cost of a medical consultation is between 80 and 200 PLN (17 to 40 euros), depending on the type of healthcare service.

Being admitted to hospital

To be admitted to hospital, you will need a prescription from a doctor, except in an emergency. If the hospital is affiliated to the NFZ, you will not have to pay the hospital charges in advance on presentation of your EHIC.

Hospitals in Poland are well equipped and the medical personnel is highly qualified. On the other hand, there are long waits and delays are frequent in public hospitals. Waiting times are shorter in the private sector (which accounts for 30% of the healthcare budget in Poland), but the costs are higher.

Vaccinations to be carried out

There are no vaccination requirements for traveling to Poland. However, it is advisable to be up to date with your vaccination schedule (measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, etc.).

If you go to rural or wooded areas in endemic regions at altitudes of up to 1,500 meters in spring, summer or autumn, it is also advisable to be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis.

Buying medication

While in Poland, you will have no trouble finding a pharmacy, wherever you are. Many medicines are available over the counter in the country. Some medicines are fully reimbursed by the local health insurance scheme. To find out if your medication will be reimbursed, you can consultthe list on the Polish Ministry of Health website.

Health risks

There are no particular health risks to be aware of before traveling to Poland. However, you should take precautions to protect yourself from tick bites, which carry diseases such as tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease.

You should also be aware that levels of fine particle pollution can be high in some areas of the country, especially in Silesia, Katowice, Krakow and Warsaw.

It is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during a stay in Poland.

Lastly, follow the protective and hygiene measures against coronavirus, as well as the regulations in force in Poland when you leave (vaccination, mask wearing etc.).

Good to know

  • European emergency number: 112
  • Police: 997
  • Fire service: 998
  • Ambulances: 999

Get your health insurance for Poland

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QUICK FACTS

OFFICIAL NAME

Republic of Poland

MAIN CITIES

CAPITAL

Warsaw

GOVERNMENT

Unitary semi-presidential republic

COMMON LANGUAGE

FIND OUT MORE

Poland on Wikipedia

CLIENT STORIES

Client story: MSH was a lifesaver

Matthieu was hiking in a canyon in Peru when he accidently fell down several meters and fractured his kneecap and elbow: "After 12 days in a local hospital, I was sent back to  France where I spent 2 more weeks in hospital and months in physiotherapy" he remembers. Matthieu's hospitalization, repatriation and rehabilitation expenses were all covered by MSH: "Without my private health insurance, it would have been a nightmare: €16,000 for the hospital and €50,000 for my repatriation with two air ambulances - can you imagine?"
Client story: No worries mate!

Tanguy subscribed to Start’Expat to cover his gap year in Australia. He was out roller-skating one day when he slipped and blacked out for a few minutes. A passerby directed him to the nearest hospital for a scan. Fortunately, there was nothing serious and he was delighted to learn that all the expenses from €400 would be paid by MSH in advance, saving him a total of €513 -that's a lot of money for a student!   
Client story: The right decision

Bill and his family are based in Brazil. Unhappy with his previous insurer, Bill switched to MSH in December 2015: "One of the best decisions I've made since I've been here", he says, "for the level of service and the breadth and quality of the network."  Bill's insurance card is now recognized by the biggest and best hospitals in Sao Paulo. He even gets third-party payment for simple hospital tests without needing prior agreement: "MSH makes life easy", says Bill. 
DISCOVER THEIR STORIES

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