All PhD candidates in Poland, regardless of nationality, are subject to the health insurance to be covered by the higher education institution unless they are insured on another basis, for instance as employees or family members.
This means that the doctoral candidates have access the public healthcare services free of charge. The right to use the services ends only after 4 months following the graduation or termination of the education.
Numerous private insurance companies or medical centres offer various customised policies. You need to know that private insurance policies do not provide the same general and equal access to medical services as the public NFZ scheme.
The scope of the private services and the resulting payments depend on the policy you buy and on the contract you sign. The cheapest options only include basic services, for instance, visits to general practitioners' or certain specialist doctors. More advanced services, e.g. more complicated dentistry treatment, giving birth, operations or hospitalisation, require a more expensive policy.
Also note that private policies often set delay periods meaning that you cannot benefit from certain services, usually the most expensive ones, before a certain period of time passes, e.g. you only can use rehabilitation or small surgery treatment after 60 or 120 days of paying the insurance contributions.
The National Medical Rescue System has been established in order to provide aid in the event of an emergency – when any delay might result in health damage or loss of life. Insured persons have access to medical rescue services. If you are not insured, you will have to pay for the service. In order to call an ambulance, you should dial 999, accessible throughout the country, or a general emergency number 112. You can also go directly to the emergency department (SOR) in the nearest hospital.
At the reception desk, you will be asked to show your identification document (ID, driving license, passport or school ID in case of children) in order to confirm your right to free healthcare services. If it happens that the electronic system of patients doesn’t include your data, as proof of having health insurance you can present your employment contract, a monthly report issued by the employer (called ZUS RMUA) or your agreement with the National Health Fund if you are insured on a voluntary basis. If you don’t have any of
the above-mentioned documents, you will be required to pay for the medical services. However, if you later prove your health insurance, your expenses will be reimbursed.