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Healthcare for British Citizens living in Poland


Bikerjenko 2 | 28
28 Feb 2011 #1
Can anyone help please?
I am hoping to move to Poland in the near future, but I have to have monthly medication which is free in the UK as it relates to cancer.

What would my position in Poland be, am I eligible for free prescriptions? I know this medication is very expensive.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,722
28 Feb 2011 #2
What would my position in Poland be, am I eligible for free prescriptions? I know this medication is very expensive.

You'll pay for it. It may be subsidised (certain medicines are) or it may not be - I don't know the specifics. Olaf is your man to ask on here - but if it's unsubsidised, it can be pretty expensive.

For what it's worth, you'll also be without healthcare unless you or your wife has paid ZUS (the equal of national insurance here).
Olaf 6 | 956
28 Feb 2011 #3
Hi,
If you are working in Poland then you have to pay for, among other, health insurance (a "public fee"). Then you are treated like any citizen in Poland who has basic healthcare. The question is: are your medicines and treatment refunded also in Poland? - That could be checked if you call or email NFZ - National Health Fund in Poland. If NFZ does not refund this treatment fully of in some % then I guess only some additional healthcare would work, but it'd cost additionally and since you are already in treatment it may be more expensive.
Wroclaw Boy
28 Feb 2011 #4
What would my position in Poland be, am I eligible for free prescriptions?

100% no.
Olaf 6 | 956
28 Feb 2011 #5
Wroclaw Boy, what if he comes here and starts paying working, which means also paying for healthcare - then if the medicine is on NFZ lists of refunded meds - he'll get them, I think?
delphiandomine 83 | 17,722
28 Feb 2011 #6
Is there actually the possibility of getting a refund? I thought all of the medicine in Poland was either subsidised or unsubsidised - but "free" medicine didn't exist.

Either way, I'd be wary about coming here with a pre-existing condition - while there's an EU right to access healthcare "abroad" - the system isn't too keen on it here.
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
2 Mar 2011 #7
Thanks, I know it is expensive £1,000 a go in UK, so I will have to get married quickly!!
delphiandomine 83 | 17,722
2 Mar 2011 #8
If it's so expensive, it's probably very unlikely that it will be funded in anyway by the NFZ system.

As for getting married - it's not enough to be married, one of you must also be paying ZUS - and many people are on "freelance" contracts which allows you to pay very little tax - but as a result, with no healthcare either.
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
2 Mar 2011 #9
Many thanks for the information, at nearly 60 I am unlikely to find work, I will be living on a private pension.
At the moment my doctors gives my 5 months supply when I see him, I may have to return to the UK every 5 months!

Thanks, my "intended" is a teacher and has worked most of her life in Poland
delphiandomine 83 | 17,722
2 Mar 2011 #10
Many thanks for the information, at nearly 60 I am unlikely to find work, I will be living on a private pension.

I would strongly urge you to make arrangements for some sort of private health insurance then. The Polish system is set up so that if you need emergency treatment, they will treat you - and then link a large bill to your personal data. It's also worth pointing out that while the EHIC card will cover you for emergency treatment, it won't cover you for follow up care - and you'll find that many health care providers are rather reluctant to accept the card due to the long delays in being paid from the State Insurance Institution (ZUS).

At the moment my doctors gives my 5 months supply when I see him, I may have to return to the UK every 5 months!

Be careful with this approach. I've heard mumurings that the UK is now starting to cross check against people's NI numbers if they're actually resident in the UK or not - you'll have no entitlement to UK health care if you're out of the UK for more than 185 days a year and not paying UK taxes.

Thanks, my "intended" is a teacher and has worked most of her life in Poland

If she's a teacher in the State system, no problem - but if she's a private teacher, she may very well not have health insurance paid.

All I can say is that I strongly stress that you have some sort of health care here - although private medicine for routine cases (such as check-ups) is cheap, any sort of more serious situation can be incredibly expensive.
db1874 7 | 227
2 Mar 2011 #11
I would strongly urge you to make arrangements for some sort of private health insurance then.

Private health insurers (BUPA, AXA etc) won't cover you for already known medical conditions.
Harry
2 Mar 2011 #12
At the moment my doctors gives my 5 months supply when I see him, I may have to return to the UK every 5 months!

Given how cheap flights are, that might well be the best solution, especially as it would give you a chance to stock up on things like Marmite and proper cheese.

you'll have no entitlement to UK health care if you're out of the UK for more than 185 days a year and not paying UK taxes.

Which is a good reason to make sure one pays a little tax in the UK every year.
db1874 7 | 227
2 Mar 2011 #13
you'll have no entitlement to UK health care if you're out of the UK for more than 185 days a year and not paying UK taxes.

is that true? have been googling around but can only see articles relating to expats residing outside the EEA area where such restictions apply ?

Which is a good reason to make sure one pays a little tax in the UK every year.

are we talking NI contributions or Inland Revenue taxes here ? I've just applied to start paying NI class 2 contributions to keep my UK state pension ticking over, not sure if that counts towards the NHS too ?

Being at the mercy of Polish healthcare is my biggest fear of living here.......
Varsovian 92 | 634
2 Mar 2011 #14
As usual Delphi gives oracular advice without having any knowledge.

You can come to Poland with a pre-existing medical condition and sign up for ZUS contributions and get treated like everyone else. Centrum Onkologii in the Warsaw district of Ursynów is the main cancer centre and provides excellent care, though you will be shocked to see how fast the consultants process each patient. That way, large numbers of patients get seen in the minimum period of time. Most consultants speak English if they have to.

You may wish to check (in advance of a definitive move to Poland) with a specialist in your particular cancer as to the healthcare provision in terms of specific drugs - this you can do by contacting the hospital and finding out about a private appointment with a specialist, i.e. before you enter the Polish healthcare system. Private consultations are not expensive.

If you intend to settle in a place outside of Warsaw (or perhaps Gliwice), then cancer healthcare provision is sketchy.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,722
2 Mar 2011 #15
are we talking NI contributions or Inland Revenue taxes here ? I've just applied to start paying NI class 2 contributions to keep my UK state pension ticking over, not sure if that counts towards the NHS too ?

Yeah, it does. The NI contributions are what matter.

But - at the same time - you need to be wary that the EHIC card won't cover you for anything that isn't emergency - although the practice differs, you don't want to be caught in the situation where they refuse to cover you for a follow up appointment with a specialist on the grounds that it's non-emergency care.

You can come to Poland with a pre-existing medical condition and sign up for ZUS contributions and get treated like everyone else. Centrum Onkologii in the Warsaw district of Ursynów is the main cancer centre and provides excellent care, though you will be shocked to see how fast the consultants process each patient. That way, large numbers of patients get seen in the minimum period of time. Most consultants speak English if they have to.

Unfortunately, you're not mentioning that signing up for ZUS is much easier said than done, if not paying ZUS contributions directly. While it is possible to pay ZUS as a private individual, it's a minefield - and certainly one of those "huh?" situations that Polish bureaucrats try to avoid at all costs.

The fact remains - unlike the UK, Poland operates an insurance system for health care. No payment, no care.
Avalon 4 | 1,068
2 Mar 2011 #16
delphiandomine

Unfortunately, you're not mentioning that signing up for ZUS is much easier said than done, if not paying ZUS contributions directly. While it is possible to pay ZUS as a private individual, it's a minefield - and certainly one of those "huh?" situations that Polish bureaucrats try to avoid at all costs.

I have mentioned before in previous posts that I pay a voluntary, monthly contribution to ZUS and it only involved one visit to their offices and obtaining a NIP number..

The cost was 290 PLN per month when I started 4 years ago but is now around 350 PLN. The cost is based on a percentage of the average Polish wage.

I pay online but you cannot set up a standing order as the cost can creep up a couple of Zloty in any month. If I need to see a doctor, I have to take a printout of my bank statement to show that my contributions are up to date. Private health insurance would cost me a hell of a lot more.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,722
2 Mar 2011 #17
I have mentioned before in previous posts that I pay a voluntary, monthly contribution to ZUS and it only involved one visit to their offices and obtaining a NIP number..

Blimey - just goes to show how utterly different the system is - ZUS here have been totally incapable of giving a straight answer as to the actual cost of this on a voluntary basis. It's certainly the best way forward for anyone who definitely needs to have health care.

A good question actually - would the OP be liable for Polish taxation on his pension?
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
6 Mar 2011 #18
Many thanks for all the replies, seems as though it is a bit of a minefield, my girlfriend is a biology teacher and luckily has some contacts in the medical profession, she will have to call some favours in for me!

Polish is not a problem, I can get by in most situations, I just don't worry about the grammar!!

Fortunately my condition is very rare and at the moment asymptomatic, my only problem will be the bureaucracy!

Paying the contribution to ZUS appears to be the way to go, I hope I find thing straight forward in Lodz.
wildrover 98 | 4,451
6 Mar 2011 #19
Good luck in Poland my friend , from another Brit biker over here...are you still riding...?
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
7 Apr 2011 #20
Hi,

I am heading for Poland tomorrow on my 1981 BMW G/S I will be taking in the bike meeting in Jasna Gora

Regards

Colin

+44 7747 012167

Hi Wildrover

Just been across to Poland for the meeting in Jasna Gora, rode 15 hours fron Esbjerg to Tomaszow Maz. 15 hours only stopping for fuel!!

Not bad going I am 60 this year and the G/S is 30
wildrover 98 | 4,451
22 May 2011 #21
Not bad going I am 60 this year

You old fart.... you are three years older than me....

I can still ride from dawn to dusk non stop , i reckon it keeps you young you know....

My uncle was still riding , and winning ballroom dancing competitions when he was 82....he seemed to age instantly when his wife finally made him give up the bike....
Cleo14 1 | 29
22 May 2011 #22
Paying the contribution to ZUS appears to be the way to go, I hope I find thing straight forward in Lodz.

Well, if you're coming to PL and you have a pre-existing condition, it's definately a good idea to get a health insurance over here. You go to the local NFZ (National Health Fund) and sign up with the for a volounary health insurance. Now here's a catch: the monthly premiums, as somebody mentioned in a previous post are not bad, right now for this quarter it's about 313 PLN/month. But, NFZ also will make you pay an intoductory fee which in your case, since you have never had a health insurance in PL, will be 6957,82 PLN.

had the same situation when my husband at the time moved here. He has diabetes, so we didn't want to take a chance of him not having a proper health insurance. and i almost fainted when they told us about that fee. but a very nice NFZ clerk told us, that the best way to avoid paying it is to:

1. find someone who will hire you on a job contract (i mean "umowa o pracę" lub "umowa zlecenie" which pays the health insuarnce) for like a month (or even a week, as long as the premium is payed)

2. go to the unemployment office and get him registered as unemployed (then he gets the health insurance payed by the unemployment office) and after a week or 2 unregister him.

we chose the second option. after that when we went to finally get that volountary insurance the "gap" in his premium payment was less than 3 months and there was no stupid introductory fee :@)

I know it sounds retarded, but that's how it works and you will need you girlfriend's assistance with that (language-wise). Or just get married (if you 2 plan to). and as long as she's on the job contract that covers the health insurance, as her husband you'll be eligible for it too.

and about your medication, there is a list of the meds subsidised by NFZ, i'm sure your girlfried can find it online and you can check if the medication you're taking is on that list.

Best of luck :@)
wielki pan 2 | 250
23 May 2011 #23
had a health insurance in PL, will be 6957,82 PLN (oh yes, here's the link to their page with the fees

Pardon my ignorance but are you saying that those not on previous cover pay 6957zl a month insurance cover?
Cleo14 1 | 29
23 May 2011 #24
no, like I said it's some sort of a one-time introducory fee when you sign up for the insurance with the NFZ.
Avalon 4 | 1,068
23 May 2011 #25
As I understood it at the time, when you join the voluntary Polish heath scheme, they take into acount your NHS payment history. If you are up to date then the transfer is straight forward. I had missed the last years contributions due to being in Poland so had to pay around 1,200 PLN on joining. I was told that if I had missed the last 3 years of payments it would have been substancially more, probably around the 6000 PLN mark.

As the average Polish wage increases, so will the amount of your monthly contributions. Medicines are subsidised (not all) and if you need a large amount of repeat prescriptions on a monthly basis, this can in some circumstances work out more expensive than the UK.
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
15 Oct 2012 #26
Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the "varied" information posted, here is my update, I have now been living in Poland for nearly 3 months, I have had an S1 form sent to me from the NHS and the covering letter tells me that I am entitled to free medication funded by the NHS until January 2014, then I should start paying my NFZ insurance to receive Polish healthcare.

Don't know how long this process will take, I took the form to the Lodz NFZ office, they have since written to me to say that they have returned the form to the NHS because it didn't have an official stamp on it!! do we still use rubber stamps???? (my new hobby is Polish stamp collecting!!)

Colin

Hi again,

Forgot to say that I will have to pay the NFZ prescription charge, in my case 200+ zloty, hope I can get more than one dose at a time!!
Varsovian 92 | 634
4 Dec 2012 #27
Stamps are incredibly important to Polish bureaucrats, as is headed notepaper.
I jest not.

I suggest you try to find a sympathetic administrator to talk to in England and ask for the most official-looking stamp possible. Sad, but true. It has worked for me in the past.
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
5 Dec 2012 #28
Rubber stamps!! cholera!!!!!!

I took my partner's father for a hospital visit recently, and was amazed (or now mabe not) to see had carried 3 different stamps in his pockets!!!!!!!

Thankfully the form is now back with a rubber stamp and I have the insurance document from the NFZ, just have to find an Endochrinology specialist to write my prescriptions now, without paying for a private consultation!!!
simpix 6 | 27
6 Dec 2012 #29
This is a very complicated and confusing issue !!!
When I move to Poland early next year from the UK I have been told that I will be entitled to S1 cover for at least a year, maybe 2 based on my UK NI contributions.

Does this mean that as long as I apply to join the Polish NFZ scheme within that time I will only have to pay the minimum zl738 joining fee?

In addition, does being a part of the NFZ scheme entitle me to free GP healthcare or only for Hospital outpatient/inpatient treatment?
Any drugs/medications to be paid for separately of course !!!
OP Bikerjenko 2 | 28
9 Dec 2012 #30
Can't advise on the question of joining the NFZ, I will worry about that next year, yes visits to GP's are free, but Polish prescription charges will apply.


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