Living in Europe | Health insurance, Medical care | Poland

Stomatology, Medical University of Lodz, author: Promotion Department

The health insurance system in Poland is based on the principles of equal treatment and access to healthcare services. It relies on a number of general rules which are applicable unless a specific legislation or international agreement provides otherwise.

The main institution responsible for the management of public funds for healthcare, and the pillar of the entire health insurance system, is the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia, NFZ).

The national health policy is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health.



Medical Biology Centre, Poznan University of Medical Sciences

In Poland a medical doctor providing primary health care (general practitioner) is commonly called “a first-contact doctor” of a "family doctor". This is because you need to obtain a referral from your general practitioner in order to have access to more specialised medical services, e.g. to neurologists, eye specialists, to hospital treatment or medical rehabilitation. The referral is not required in the event of emergency or for services provided by the following medical doctors: oncologist, gynecologist, psychiatrist, venereologist and dentist, which means that you can register for the visit whenever necessary.



Centre for Medical Simulation, Poznan University of Medical Sciences


A range of free dental services provided to an insured person is limited. Children and young people of up to 18 years of age and pregnant women are covered by better arrangements. Moreover, you should remember that only basic dental materials are financed by public funds, and thus you need to pay for any more advanced products used in treatment. As a result, most Poles choose private dental services. Dental check-ups are usually free of charge.



Pharmacy Training, Pharmacy Department of the Medical University of Warsaw, author: Dział Fotomedyczny WUM


Medicines are available only in pharmacies, apart from painkillers. Some medicines can be obtained only on the basis of a prescription given by an authorised medical doctor; please remember that most prescriptions are valid only for 14 days. The rates charged for medicines vary as some of them are reimbursed from public funds. In the case of reimbursed medicines, patients pay a flat-rate amount or only a specific portion of the price. Some pharmacies are open 24 hours, but can make an additional charge for selling medicines during the night.


Source: Pixabay


In Poland the national vaccination programme includes the following obligatory vaccines free of charge:




Vaccine against

within 24 hours after birth

tuberculosis, hepatitis B

month 2

hepatitis B, diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, hib, pneumococci

month 3-4

diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, polio IPV, hib, pneumococci

month 5-6

diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, hib, polio IPV

month 7

hepatitis B

month 13-14

pneumococci, measles/mumps/rubella

month 16-18

diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis, hib, polio IPV

year 6

diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (DTaP), polio IPV

year 14

diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (dTap)

year 19

diphtheria/tetanus (dT)


Apart from the above mandatory vaccinations, there are recommended vaccines that are paid:

  • rotavirus infection - babies between month 2 and 6
  • meningococcal disease - children between month 2 and 18 years old;
  • human papillomavirus infection (HPV) - girsl after 12 years of age;
  • varicella - after month 13;
  • influenza - recommended for everyone (after month 6) before and during the flu season (autumn/winter) and especially for children (between month 6 until year 18) and adults after 65 years of age (for these 2 groups the vaccine may be free-of-charge), as well for high-risk groups e.g. people with weakened immune system or pregnant women;
  • tick-borne encephalitis - after month 13;
  • hepatitis A - after month 13.

In order to receive the additional vaccines you need to talk to your doctor in advance.

More about vaccination in Poland

See vaccination schedules in all EU countries



See also: Pregnancy and Family

Useful links