We all know that sometimes something bad can happen with our health. It could be a simple cold, but it could be more serious illness. That is why it is important to make sure that we are covered by the medical insurance and in case of need – we will get a proper health. In this article we will describe main rules for obtaining medical coverage during your doctoral education
National Health Fund
The basic institution that is in charge of medical services in Poland is the public organisation called National Healh Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ). This organisation signs contracts with medical practitioners, health providers and hospitals and finances the services. They also have contracts signed with the pharmacies, thanks to which some of the medicines prescribed by your doctor can be obtained at a reduced price. NFZ also finances the emergency medical services – in any sudden case you will get help no matter if you are insured in NFZ, but if you weren’t – you can get a hefty bill.
When living permanently in Poland you need to choose one place which will be provider of basic healthcare. You can change this place free of charge twice each year. For more complex issues you can choose any healthcare provider that has a valid contract with NFZ. Estimated waiting time for some of the treatments can be found there: https://terminyleczenia.nfz.gov.pl/
List of all the facilities: https://gsl.nfz.gov.pl/GSL/
Polish citizens, who is doctoral candidate, will be insured by the university (scientific institute) if he or she does not have a medical coverage from any other title. In other words – the first to insure a doctoral candidate is always his employer/parent (in case of a person below 26 years of age)/spouse etc. That means that any doctoral candidate of Polish nationality will be covered.
Doctoral candidate needs to inform the university about the fact that he lost or got another title to be insured in NFZ. One has seven days to do so. Failing to adhere to this rule may result in lost of the coverage from NFZ.
More on health coverage of doctoral candidates (only in Polish) can be obtained here: https://www.zus.pl/documents/10182/24202/Ubezp.+spo%C5%82.+i+zdrowotne+doktorant%C3%B3w.pdf/52c91c3b-363a-f776-e1cb-0ddba638df82
If you are a EU/EEA/UK national you have the right to the medical treatment on the same basis as Polish citizens. However, there may be some formalities you need to take care of upon arrival to Poland.
Before you come to Poland you need to obtain European Health Insurance Card, which will cover you for any sudden and unplanned medical emergencies in Poland. If you plan to stay here for a longer period, you need to obtain S1 document, that will confirm your right to all types of medical treatment in Poland, financed by NFZ. In order to do so you need to the closest NFZ office in the province (województwo) in which you reside. Bear in mind that NFZ employees may not speak English so it is highly recommended to ask for assistance.
More information (in English): https://www.nfz.gov.pl/dla-pacjenta/medical-treatment-abroad/information-about-treatment-of-persons-from-euefta-member-states-in-poland/
Rules of medical coverage of Ukrainian citizens in Poland differs based on when they entered the territory of the Republic of Poland. If they entered after the 24th of February 2022 they are subject to special legal status which guarantees them inter alla access to the medical treatment in NFZ-related clinics free of charge. In order to obtain the treatment they need to document their status with a passport or other document issued by the Polish Border Guard.
More on the issue (in Polish and Ukrainian): https://www.nfz.gov.pl/aktualnosci/aktualnosci-centrali/pomoc-medyczna-dla-obywateli-ukrainy-zasady-udzielania-i-rozliczania-swiadczen,8149.html#Komunikat%20w%20j%C4%99zyku%20ukrai%C5%84skim
Those who entered Poland before the 24th of February are subject to standard rules (section “other persons”).
‘Pole Card’ Holders
Persons, who enjoy the status of “Pole Card” holder receive medical treatment in an emergency free of charge. However, if they plan to stay permanently in Poland – they need to get registered for the medical coverage. If they are only doctoral candidates and have no other legal title to be insured in NFZ – they can be insured by their university/scientific institute, which has to cover the costs of the insurance.
Any other person – if they have a proper legal status (such as temporary/permanent resident permit) and can be employed on any legal basis – such as labour law or civil law contract – can and should be insured in NFZ just from that fact. In case of lack of such insurance – they need to insure themselves. The cost of such insurance needs to be covered by the doctoral candidate. The monthly cost is 55.80 PLN.
In order to do so a person must go to the nearest NFZ branch. More information can be found there: http://www.nfz-warszawa.pl/dla-pacjenta/zalatw-sprawe-krok-po-kroku/jak-ubezpieczyc-sie-dobrowolnie/ (part: “Foreign Students”).
COVID-19 testing and vaccination
Each doctoral candidate can vaccinate free of charge in any medical facility that provides such service. In order to do so one needs to register with the valid ID card (e.g. passport with a visa or temporary resident identification). More on vaccinations: https://www.gov.pl/web/szczepimysie/e-skierowanie-na-szczepienie-dla-cudzoziemcow
Since the 1st of April 2022 rapid anti-gen tests can be made by family physician free of charge during NFZ-financed visit. PCR tests are only conducted in dubious cases before being admitted to the hospital or during hospitalisation.
Some universities offer special additional medical insurance for their doctoral candidates. One such example is the University of Warsaw, whose offer can be found there: https://doktoranci.uw.edu.pl/en/phd-student/medical-packages/
Despite that we highly recommend getting insured at NFZ as it provides all range of medical and diagnosis services and helps in cases of emergencies.
University of Warsaw