Health insurance is the basic premise for a foreigner who plans to transfer his stay to the territory of Poland. However, in practice, numerous questions arise quite often related to the need to have insurance and treatment conditions for foreigners. The Foundation Ukraine together with Piotr Potocki have created an article that will explain all aspects of health insurance for foreigners!
The most common and unsophisticated wishes presented to the other person in Poland on almost every occasion usually sound “health, health and money, because health is the most important”.
Principles of acquiring and maintaining the status of an insured person in Poland
People’s wisdom is invaluable, and yet, these wishes cannot insure a person. In this case, it is important to prepare and secure so that we will not be surprised by the cost of possible treatment. That’s why, in this article, you will be able to find the most important information concerning the rules on the acquisition and maintenance of insured status in the territory of the Republic of Poland, so that any illness and its consequences will never be a surprise for you.
Illnesses and accidents are unpleasant parts of our everyday life, so you should be aware that when you are on the territory of the Republic of Poland, for your own safety you should always possess health insurance, not only in the event of treatment but also because of the statutory obligation that you have to meet. For this reason, a foreigner (including, of course, a Ukrainian or Belarusian citizen) entering Poland should have travel medical insurance or health insurance in Poland.
30,000 euro – the minimum amount of insurance for a foreigner
This means that the foreigner crossing the border on the basis of a visa for the purpose of carrying out work which is not yet covered by health insurance for any other title (e.g. not yet working in Poland or not a member of the working person’s family) shall hold and provide the proof of medical insurance with a minimum amount of EUR 30.000. Such proof may be valid until the date of his medical insurance, covering all expenses which may arise during his stay in Poland due to the necessity of a return journey for medical reasons, the need for urgent medical assistance, emergency hospital treatment, or death. In advance of any question, it should be added that the amount of EUR 30.000 is not the price of the medical insurance, but the maximum value of the health care benefits which the foreigner may receive. The cost of obtaining such insurance is, of course, much lower.
It should also be emphasized that the lack of sufficient funds to cover the costs of the planned stay and return trip to the country of origin, or the lack of a document confirming the possession of medical insurance, is a condition for issuing a decision obliging the foreigner to leave the country. Only in exceptional cases, and in cases of a health risk, such a foreigner may not be transferred to a third country and receive treatment, the cost of which will be covered by the Polish administration.
Moreover, whenever possible, remember that while already being in Poland, a foreigner should be permanently covered by insurance, which will allow him to benefit from medical care without the specter of bankruptcy and fear. Moreover, it is a condition for his further legal stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland.
Moving on to the point, people covered by universal, compulsory, or voluntary health insurance have the right to use health care services financed from public funds on the terms specified in the Act. In particular, it should be noted that foreigners who do not have the citizenship of the EU, EFTA or the EEA Member States (e.g. citizens of Ukraine), who stay in the territory of the Republic of Poland on the basis of a work visa, temporary residence permit, permanent residence permit, resident permit long-term European Union, residence permit for humanitarian reasons, or permit for tolerated stay also benefit from health insurance on the same terms as Polish citizens.
Who doesn’t need to have an “own” insurance title?
Additionally, the insured people are also pupils, students, doctoral students, and members of the families of people who have their own title to insurance residing in the territory of the Republic of Poland. Family members of these people somehow “use” insurance, e.g. of an employee or a student, and do not have to obtain their “own” insurance title. A family member is understood as:
- an own child, a spouse’s child, adopted child, grandchild or a foreign child for whom care has been established, or a foreign child within a replacement family, to be completed 18 years, or, if further training, to be completed 26 years, conversely, if it has a judgment with a significant degree of disability or other equivalent treatment, without age limitation,
- the spouse,
- initial living with a common household insured, i.e. living with the insured person.
The above-mentioned entities, although they do not have an independent insurance title, are safe to receive treatment and hospitalization.
In conclusion, people entitled to insurance cover and, for example, paying the appropriate contributions and a member of their families may, in the event of sickness or accident, benefit from the same benefits as Polish nationals, i.e. in particular benefits:
- primary health care,
- outpatient specialist care,
- hospital treatment,
- medical rehabilitation,
- dental treatment,
- supplies of medical devices and medicines.
PLN 483.46 – the current amount of the health insurance premium
In fact, it may sometimes happen that for various reasons the foreigner will lose the right to compulsory health insurance. In such a situation, he should not wring his hands and immediately insure himself voluntarily at the appropriate regional NFZ branch. The amount of the voluntary insurance premium shall be the amount of the foreigner’s declared monthly income, but not less than the average monthly salary. In principle, the monthly health insurance premium is PLN 483,46 and at least this amount of money the insured should pay. It is even worth paying the premium for voluntary insurance, even though no income is being received temporarily. It is never known, whether there will, unfortunately, be a situation that may trigger the need for medical care.
Voluntary health insurance
When making a written request for voluntary sickness insurance in the Provincial Department NFZ appropriate for the place of residence, a document of identity and a document indicating the date of completion of the previous insurance must be provided. It can be, for example, a work certificate or a certificate from a work establishment confirming that the insurance has been terminated and the last monthly contribution report (the form ZUS RMUA).
Based on a request for voluntary health insurance, a contract is concluded which entitles the insured and eligible family members (as listed above) to receive free health benefits, with the obligation to pay contributions immediately. The contract shall be concluded for an indefinite period. Where the non-contributory period in which the foreign national was not insured was 3 months or more, voluntary insurance shall be subject to the payment of an additional fee of an appropriate amount. However, in duly justified cases, the insured person may apply to the Director of the appropriate NFZ Office with a request to withdraw from collecting the additional fee or to divide it into installments. An application for a withdraw may be motivated by the difficult financial situation of the insured person.
Coronavirus treatment for a foreigner
At times of the widespread SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (coronavirus), all the issues of removing the negative effects of this disease and other infectious diseases keep our eyes awake. In such a situation, it is good news that Poland provides all people in the territory of RP with basic care in this field, regardless of their nationality or insurance cover. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease, people suspected of being infected or affected by contact with infected, sick, or infectious material must be compulsorily insured with free of charge services, such as:
- health and epidemiological studies,
- isolation at home,
- epidemiological surveillance.
For this reason, a foreigner who suspects that he has coronavirus infection should immediately undergo a medical examination, not being afraid to bear the costs of possible treatment or hospitalization.
To sum up, it is extremely important to remember about health insurance when staying in Poland, because it will avoid unpleasant financial surprises if you need to receive treatment, and it is also a condition for legal stay in Poland.
Stay in touch with the Foundation Ukraine!
If you have any questions about the conclusion of an insurance contract for a foreigner in Poland, please contact the specialists of the Foundation Ukraine via social networks.
The article was written as part of the reSTART project, co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the state budget.