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The European Health Card. Why don't the Poles know about it? Free Medical care.


LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
26 Oct 2011  #1
In Europe we are all entitled to free medical care in any of the 27 countries which are part of Europe.(+ Norway, and a couple of others)

I have noticed that my Polish friends don't know about it and most of them have never asked their health card although it is free and extremely useful all over Europe.

The way it works is that basically depending where in Europe you are from, you need to get this card from your local Health institution ( the card has to be renewed every year) and you may live or travel in Europe and get free medical care, which is very useful for students for example.

Check the EU website for info

In English ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559&langId=en
In Polish ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559&langId=pl
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
26 Oct 2011  #2
I have noticed that my Polish friends don't know about it and most of them have never asked their health card although it is free and extremely useful all over Europe.

if u mean that blue/white creditcard size card issued by nfz, i've got one. not much info on it though.
pantsless 1 | 267
26 Oct 2011  #3
1. Only for emergency medical treatment or if you fall suddenly sick. You cant go to Germany to get that operation that you listed to have in 3 years through NFZ.

2. The card is valid for a maximum of two months or something, not a year, normally they give it to you for as long as you are travelling. Ever ytime you want to abroad you have to get a new one, and for someone who is self-employed its a PITA.

3. Nope, it's not for those living in another country. The second you find a job you have insure through that country's insurance system.

4. NFZ's own website says they recommend you buy private health insurance, since only the most basic costs, or sometimes only part of even NONE of costs are covered by the EHIC. Transport to Poland for example is not covered, and many countries hit you with 40 to 80 euro fees for visits.

5. Even better, in some countries you have to pay upfront and then get refunded by NFZ. Oh... that sure sounds painless.

So save yourself the hassle and just get private medical insurance, I just got covered for a year for 200zl through Hestia.
OP LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
26 Oct 2011  #4
just get private medical insurance, I just got covered for a year for 200zl through Hestia.

If you are traveling in Europe for a year the card is issued and valid for a whole year anywhere in Europe.

You spend a week end in Rome or 6 months in Ireland you take it just in case.If you are Polish and spending 3 weeks in Sapin ,same thing.

Your private medical coverage of 200zl with Hestia will only cover your medical costs in Poland .( If you break your leg when visiting Germany for 2 weeks or skiing in the French Alps, Hestia will not cover your German or French medical fees).

So my advice is to get the European Health Insurance card if possible .( The only problem is the EU bureaucracy!)
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
26 Oct 2011  #5
The only problem is the EU bureaucracy

it takes five minutes to get the card, which is issued on the spot. the problem is the length of the queue beforehand.
OP LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
26 Oct 2011  #6
I dont know if there is a queue beforehand or not but a queue should not be a problem for Poles .lol

None of my Polish friends had it and they do travel for their holiday in places like Greece Italy Spain etc so i strongly recommended them to get the card especially to the sporty ones.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
26 Oct 2011  #7
i strongly recommended them to get the card

the only cost is time, but it could save a fortune. yes, folk should have one, LK
Wroclaw Boy
26 Oct 2011  #8
it takes five minutes to get the card, which is issued on the spot. the problem is the length of the queue beforehand.

I think you'll find the bureaucracy involved in getting one of those out of Poland is an absolute nightmare, the gov is more than aware what it is and how much it could cost them. Ahh i managed to find the link: britishinpoland.com/blog/2008/12/european-health-insurance-cards-ehic/

As I am sure you have come to expect by now, getting an EKUZ is not as simple as an online form as with the EHIC. In fact it is a real joke. This Polish article says that the NFZ make it deliberately difficult to get the card because the cost of treatment for them is much more expensive than the cost of treating people in Poland. First you have to fill out this form.

pantsless 1 | 267
27 Oct 2011  #9
If you are traveling in Europe for a year the card is issued and valid for a whole year anywhere in Europe.

Your private medical coverage of 200zl with Hestia will only cover your medical costs in Poland .
So my advice is to get the European Health Insurance card if possible .( The only problem is the EU bureaucracy!)

Lwowskakrakow, you do not know what you are talking about. For the second time.

Anyway, the EHIC, as issued by Poland, is valid for a maximum of 2 MONTHS. Other countries issue the card for longer, but Poland for 2 months. Let me say that again, 2 MONTHS. And most of the time they'll only issue it to you for the length of your trip. And its only valid under certain conditions, ie, traveling for pleasure or when looking for work. The second you find a job or "reside permanently" in some place you lose it.

And with regards to the insurance I bought and which you know so much better than me, no, you are incorrect. My travel medical insurance is valid anywhere in the EU and covers the same thing the EHIC does, including skiing accidents, just far better. I have a hotline I call and they tell me what to do and where to go. Used it twice, no complaints. You are confusing it with standard private health insurance, which uh... costs a lot more than 200zl a year.

My advice is to NOT get the EHIC/EKUZ because its a waste of your time. But oh yea, being Polish means I love to stand in queues since I have plenty of time to waste, thats directly quoting you btw.

I dont know if there is a queue beforehand or not but a queue should not be a problem for Poles .lol

pam
27 Oct 2011  #10
dont know how much help this will be because i am english and maybe other eu countries have different rules. the european health insurance card (ehic) is free in england, but beware of many websites that will try and charge you for it.if you are a uk resident, it is valid for 5 years. this is a fact because i renewed mine along with my passport in may. if you are resident in england it entitles you to basic medical care within the eu, ale uwaga...basic medical care will vary from country to country.what it basically means is you will probably be ok if for example you break your leg, but not if you have a heart attack! definitely worth having, but if you are thinking of going skiing for example,take out travel insurance. you cant get it instantly either. renewed mine on line, and got it within a week, but sometimes it takes longer depending on time of year and how busy offices are. hope this helps
Wroclaw 44 | 5,388
27 Oct 2011  #11
the card is valid for:

6 months for working folk

5 yrs for retired folk

2 months for recent unemployed

there are various rules etc, which go with the above.
pantsless 1 | 267
27 Oct 2011  #12
Thanks Wroclaw, the lady at the NFZ window said it was valid for a maximum of 2 months, so she was wrong. Nonetheless, my card was validated only for the 15 days I was going to be abroad. Still a waste of time getting it. I had to go to the ZUS office 3 times, in the place were I had my zameldowanie. I, unlike others, value my time and it just wasnt worth it, considering the lack of full coverage.

No surprise that Lwowksakrakow is not responding.
OP LwowskaKrakow 28 | 431
29 Oct 2011  #13
If Wroclaw tells you that the NFZ lady was wrong than you say thank you Wroclaw and you admit your mistake. Lol

I never wrote that the European Health Insurance card was valid forever and that it repalces any existing european health system.Because it does not and is not meant to replace our own country specific health insurance card.

I said It worked when you travel abroad for a definite period of time (holiday, seminar, meetings ) and that it is free for Europeans ,that's all.

If it takes time to get it in Poland for Poles who are interested it is regrettable but still each person can decide for himself it is worth His/her wasting time or not.

Your private system may be better and cheap but there are people who can't afford even 200 zl a year so it is up to them to choose something free or something cheap.
McFly 1 | 14
29 Oct 2011  #14
It is free in the UK and for 5 yrs as a previous poster posted and if your Polish in the UK with a NI number you can get one, my Polish girlfriend has a UK one.

My mum was over in Poland in the summer with the girlfriend and had a bad reactions to mossie bites and the Dr in the A&E wasn't for doing anything until she produced the card then they couldn't do enough.

No wonder it's all charged back to the UK you can just imagine, probably paid for a good holiday for him and the family.

Apply online on the official website.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,671
29 Oct 2011  #15
My mum was over in Poland in the summer with the girlfriend and had a bad reactions to mossie bites

just the same happened to my kid and he ended up with very good treatment and a bill for 1500 zlots, well I was not there but all I had to do was fax the details of his EHIC card to the hospital and the bill disappeared....so there you go. Ideally get EHIC and private insurance I suppose.
Jars777 20 | 70
17 Sep 2012  #16
Merged: European Health Insurance Card - NFZ?

Hi

Does anyone know the process of getting a European Health Insurance Card? The NFZ website isn't very user (foreigner) friendly. I am self-employed but I am paying ZUS.

Would be grateful if someone could help.

Thanks
J.
Chemikiem 6 | 1,920
20 Mar 2016  #17
Can anyone tell me exactly what the EHIC card will cover me for?
I will be in Poland next month and if for example I was unfortunate enough to get hit by a car, would it cover all of my medical treatment?

From reading up about it on the E111 website, it says it might not cover all the things that I would get free of charge in the UK, and that I might have to make a contribution towards the cost of my care......

Normally I take out travel insurance for peace of mind which in the past has only cost me about a tenner, but I have been having medical treatment over the past 6 months which is still ongoing, and I've found that most insurers won't touch me. The specialist insurers that will, want to charge me an arm and a leg for cover which amounts to more than the cost of my holiday.

Has anyone here ( unfortunately ) had to have medical treatment whilst in Poland, and was it all covered by the card?
Any advice would be welcome.
Thanks.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,626
20 Mar 2016  #18
I will be in Poland next month and if for example I was unfortunate enough to get hit by a car, would it cover all of my medical treatment?

More or less - yes. The only thing you might find is that you might be offered something 'better' at a price - but everything from the ambulance to the treatment will be free. The Polish NFZ works pretty much like the UK NHS in this respect. But for instance - I know someone that broke their leg. They were offered the standard treatment (which was pretty much exactly as you get in the UK), but the hospital also offered them an MRI scan at an extra price.

That website is rather misleading, because it doesn't give country-specific advice, so don't take it too seriously.

The only thing I would do in your case is try and at least get medical repatriation cover, because the EHIC won't cover you for that.
jon357 63 | 14,122
20 Mar 2016  #19
Can anyone tell me exactly what the EHIC card will cover me for?

Emergency treatment. As Delph says, it won't cover repatriation etc however this is usually covered by the kind of travel insurance that you can pick up at a travel agent.
Chemikiem 6 | 1,920
20 Mar 2016  #20
but everything from the ambulance to the treatment will be free.

Ok thanks Delph, that's reassuring. Probably everything will be fine, I've never had a problem on holiday before and had to make a claim, but you know how it is, the one time you don't take out insurance is when something will go wrong!

it doesn't give country-specific advice

Yes I know, hence this post.

try and at least get medical repatriation cover,

This is the only thing that worries me because I guessed it wouldn't cover something that would be so expensive.
Problem is I doubt I will find a company that will cover me for that alone without a very hefty premium.
I hadn't given any thought to this until recently and was amazed how much the few companies that were prepared to insure me want to charge.

however this is usually covered by the kind of travel insurance that you can pick up at a travel agent.

Is there a difference between travel insurance provided by a travel agent and going online to choose one via a specific company? Surely they would still ask about your health?

So far, I've had to fill out online forms which specifically ask whether you have had any recent medical treatment. No point in lying in case the worst happens and I have to make a claim. Most of them have turned me down flat. Even the specialist ones, I've ended up having to phone as they wanted a complete breakdown of all my recent treatment before they would give a quote.
porky pok 2 | 127
20 Mar 2016  #21
If any pre existing condition before one leaves his homeland is never going to be covered unless your base insurance will accept to cover or has a agreement abroad .Only complications, after fighting with Ins company, from that might be if you get lucky.Eg:infection from a wound that was being treated before your travel.

Insurance business is there to make money and not for charity.
Chemikiem 6 | 1,920
20 Mar 2016  #22
If any pre existing condition before one leaves his homeland is never going to be covered unless your base insurance will accept to cover or has a agreement abroad .

Oh I can get cover....at an extortionate price, which is why I was asking about the possible limitations of the EHIC card which does provide treatment cover abroad.
dolnoslask 5 | 2,423
20 Mar 2016  #23
My wife snapped her Achilles tendon all was covered by the EHIC card, Investigation, xrays, consultants surgeon, they offered her an operation to repair it but we were due to go back to the uk, so they plastered her leg up and we drove back to the uk, funny thing was the UK didn't offer an operation to fix it, they said the risk of infection was high, so it was a case of 10 weeks in plaster, resetting foot position every few weeks, after all the hassle in the UK my wife wished she had the operation in Poland, recovery would be much quicker.

Got to say hospital was great, no queuing no drunkards inA&E just a quick photocopy of passport and EHIC Job done.
jon357 63 | 14,122
20 Mar 2016  #24
Surely they would still ask about your health?

I think there's a kind that you don't need to answer questions about provided you're under a certain age. My ex always used to get it from the nearest travel agent. I'm not sure what they include though.

There's also the kind that the Post Office sell. Quite expensive (even very) if you get it for a whole year, but maybe they do it for shorter periods.

It's maybe worth just risking it. My old man won't travel abroad any more (travel insurance for people approaching 90 with all the health issues that involves is hard to get) but really I wish he'd just come for a visit anyway, and any crises can be sorted out on the European Union Health Card.
Chemikiem 6 | 1,920
21 Mar 2016  #25
My wife snapped her Achilles tendon all was covered by the EHIC card, Investigation, xrays, consultants surgeon,

Ouch, that sounds painful! But good to hear everything was covered by the card. Your post was just the type of thing I was hoping to hear about and I feel reassured now that if the worst was to happen and I get run over by a mad Polish driver, I'll be fine when I get to hospital ;)

It's maybe worth just risking it.

That's what I'm going to do. I would have to be really unlucky to have an accident on holiday that required repatriation back to the UK, and from what you and others are saying here, emergency medical treatment is covered by the card which is the most important thing.

I'm not prepared to pay silly money for coverage I very much doubt I will need.

I wish he'd just come for a visit anyway, and any crises can be sorted out on the European Union Health Card.

Yes it's a shame, but I suppose at that age he's probably very understandably worried that he might be taken ill in what to him is a strange country, even if he is covered by the EHIC card. You never know though, one of these days he might surprise you :-)
dolnoslask 5 | 2,423
21 Mar 2016  #26
We used to buy expensive European travel insurance , we don't bother these days, the only thing is repatriation if lets say you can't fly, we got round that by hiring a minivan (with a mattress in the back) and driving back through the channel tunnel, must admit i was tired after 18 hours of driving.


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