Increasing numbers of people from the UK are choosing to visit the Republic of Poland each year, for business, pleasure or historical exploration. It’s a wonderful patchwork of woods, hills, rivers and lakes, dotted with lively cities offering a vibrant and welcoming culture.
Poland is boosting its growing popularity by offering a great deal to tourists, including the potential to have access to free medical services while staying there or travelling through. To take advantage of this, you need a Poland UK Global Health Insurance Card.
This guide explains how to get a Poland GHIC, how to use it and why it is so important.
What is a Poland GHIC?
Having a Poland UK Global Health Insurance Card proves that you are a UK national and therefore entitled to free or subsidised health services while staying in this country.
The GHIC like Finland GHIC card replaced a similar scheme which operated when the UK was part of the EU. That was called a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and could be used right across Europe.
The Global Health Insurance Card was launched to replace the EHIC post-Brexit. It is based on a similar reciprocal agreement, entitling UK citizens to use state-funded healthcare. However, it currently only covers you in the 27 member states within the European Union. Eventually, it could be expanded to include other countries, so watch this space!
If you are planning a holiday or business trip to Poland, your Poland GHIC card must be shown to get your free health services. (Later, we explain more about how to use your Poland UK GHIC Card.)
It’s important to note that applying for a Poland GHIC or France GHIC card provides you with a card you can use for future visits there, and which is valid in the other countries in the agreement.
Why visiting this country requires a Poland GHIC Card
The reasons to visit Poland are many and varied. It’s a historically rich and very affordable country, with both impressive mountains and a stunning coastline. It’s easy to overlook this potential holiday or short break option in favour of other European nations. However, Poland has 14 wonderful UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many unspoilt towns and villages, making it a wonderful place for road trips and cycling and walking holidays.
Though of course, any activity holiday could leave you facing an injury that takes you to hospital, which means your Poland GHIC is vital!
Maybe instead, you are heading off to one of Poland’s unforgettable cities. The Old Towns of Warsaw and Krakow should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. The port of Gdańsk is also fascinating. City breaks in Poland and even business trips are particularly appealing if you love good food and cheap accommodation!
History enthusiasts flock to Poland’s medieval castles, but for many travellers, a sobering visit to the infamous Auschwitz Birkenau camp is one of the prime reasons to visit.
While exploring Poland’s cities and sights there is always a possibility of suffering an illness that requires you to visit Doctor. What would you do if you needed medical help in Poland, and how would your Poland UK Global Health Insurance Card help you?
How to make a Poland GHIC application
First, let’s answer the question ‘how to apply for a GHIC’ for your Poland trip.
You can make a Poland GHIC or Germany GHIC card application direct to the NHS, which administers the scheme. Or, you use a special GHIC service for speed and convenience.
Eligibility for the Poland Health Insurance Card revolves around being a UK national. You must be able to prove your citizenship, as well as your identity and address. You can start to use your Poland GHIC immediately, and it will be valid for future EU holidays for some years (the timeframe has yet to be announced).
How a Poland Health Insurance Card works
What happens if you are taken ill, or suffer an injury when visiting Poland? If you present your Poland GHIC card, you avoid costly medical bills!
Your GHIC does not cover private doctors or facilities though. You need to find doctors and hospitals under the umbrella of the National Health Fund in Poland (Centrala Narodowego Funduszu Zdrowia or NFZ). You can find a list on the NFZ website.
Emergency care will be free using your Poland GHIC. That includes diagnosis, treatment and medicines. Please note that many doctors’ surgeries are only open weekdays in Poland, and unless you are transported by ambulance, you must have a doctor’s referral to visit a hospital.
If you are charged for prescriptions and other health services – even though it is an NFZ provider – you may be entitled to reimbursement. Contact the NHS when you get back and have receipts ready to support your claim.
If you need to arrange treatment while in Poland due to a pre-existing medical condition (such as dialysis), this is another time a Poland GHIC is important. Speak to your UK GP about the arrangements and a referral as your Poland GHIC card will make many treatments free.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does one Poland GHIC Card cover my whole family?
Each person in your travel group needs their own Poland UK Global Health Insurance Card. However, it is possible for you to make a Poland GHIC application on behalf of yourself, your partner and your children. If you can provide evidence of their identity, address and UK citizenship.
Does my Poland UK GHIC Card make travel insurance unnecessary?
Having a Poland UK GHIC Card provides you with free health services when they are urgent and unavoidable. Many travel insurance companies insist that you have one. Your travel insurance policy will cover you for many more important issues, so it is important to have that, as well as your Poland GHIC.
Should I scrap my EHIC and get a Poland GHIC?
If you have an EHIC that is still valid, you can continue to use it in the countries within the EU. That includes Poland. However, when it expires you must replace it by making a Poland GHIC application.