When preparing for your trip to Poland, there are many important items you need to bring along with you. One of the most important items is your European Health Insurance Card because without it, you run the risk of not being entitled to reduced cost or free medical treatment. You are entitled to public healthcare in Poland as it is one of the European Economic Area countries which is covered by the EHIC scheme.
The EHIC in Poland
Although it is not classed as a travel insurance alternative, carrying a European Health Insurance Card generally lets you access healthcare free of charge in a number of different European countries. It can also entitle you to treatment in Poland for pre-existing medical conditions.
It is important to bear in mind that the EHIC in Poland does not cover any private medical treatment, so it is essential to use a provider who is contracted with the Polish National Health Fund.
The Polish healthcare system works in a similar way to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. This means that a requirement for Polish hospital treatment is a referral from a general practitioner. Some health units run a twenty-four-hour service although most doctors surgeries have opening times every weekday between 8am and 6pm.
All medicines, diagnostic tests and operations, inside a Polish hospital, do not have to be paid for providing you carry a European Health Insurance Card.
Dentist treatment can also be accessed in Poland, although most dentists throughout the country work privately so it is best to research costs for these services before deciding to go ahead with them.
All Polish doctors, registered with the country’s national health service, can issue prescriptions to holders of a European Health Card. These prescriptions require a payment of 3,20 Zloty‚ in order to access them. Supplementary medicines cost 30% or 50% of the price of a medicine. There are certain medicines that do not fall in to the reimbursed drugs list category. Therefore, it is advisable to research this list, before accessing medical treatment, in case you are charged full price.
Interestingly, the reputation of medical tourism is on the increase throughout Europe and Poland is a country that tourists frequently visit for medical tourism reasons.
If you are visiting Poland, the EHIC Card cannot be used for the purpose of medical tourism. If you are in Poland for medical reasons only, the EHIC Card can’t get you reduced cost or free healthcare.
On this basis, if you arrive in Poland simply to give birth, free maternity care will not be provided. However, if you are a pregnant woman and go into labour while in Poland, you would receive free maternity care.
Healthcare Arranged in Advance
If you are a tourist who suffers from a pre-medical condition, it might be necessary to prepare medical treatment in advance before travelling to Poland.
Healthcare that is available to holders of an EHIC includes routine medical care, renal dialysis and the provision of oxygen.
Remember to make sure that you receive healthcare from a provider who has a contract with the Polish Health Service. Private healthcare is not covered by the EHIC in any way, shape or form. Hotels and travel representatives are known to use private healthcare providers, so take extra care in relation to this.