In Poland, you can be treated in the public health service (free of charge) or privately (then you must pay for healthcare services).
If you want to use healthcare services for free, you must be insured in the National Health Fund (NFZ). Thanks to the NHF insurance, you can also use the services of private medical facilities, but such facility must have a contract with the National Health Fund - more information on the NHF is available here
All persons employed in Poland, including foreigners, are subject to compulsory health insurance. This means that a contribution to the National Health Fund is paid from their salary each month (usually done by the employer). After proper registration with the National Health Fund, the health benefits to which the insured person is entitled may also be used by members of their immediate family (spouses and children, grandparents and parents remaining in the same household with the insured person), if they are not insured on a different basis.
If a person (including a foreigner) is not insured with the National Health Fund, he / she can use healthcare, but only for a fee. If the person has an insurance policy with a private company, the insurance company pays for the healthcare. In many private medical facilities, you can buy the so-called subscription, i.e. a specific amount is paid to the facility every month for which a package of specific medical services is paid. Prices vary depending on the facility as well as the services that can be purchased. Detailed information is available from the individual private insurance companies.
As a rule, foreigners staying in Poland on the basis of a visa cannot use the public health service in Poland free of charge.
Citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia and Tunisia have the right to use certain health care services financed from public funds on the basis of agreements concluded by their countries with Poland. Agreements concern only specific benefits or only specific groups of foreigners. Please consult your embassy or consulate to find out more - their contact details are provided here.
Russian citizens temporarily staying in Poland are entitled to free healthcare services in the event of emergencies and accidents, until the patient's condition allows for transport to their country of origin.
Voluntary health insurance
A person whose stay in Poland is legal and who is not covered by compulsory health insurance may opt for voluntary insurance. For this purpose, they should submit an appropriate application to the National Health Fund in the provincial branch of the National Health Fund, competent for the place of residence.
The application form is available at the headquarters of the branches and on the websites of NFZ branches.
Contact details of NFZ branches are available here.
What is a referral?
A referral is a document issued by a doctor who orders tests or allows you to sign up for a specialist doctor. Referrals to specialist doctors are needed as part of NHF care. If you want to consult a specialist doctor free of charge or undergo tests, the referral must also be issued by a doctor under the care of the National Health Fund (it cannot be to a doctor with whom you had an appointment for free).
Patient Rights Ombudsman − http://www.bpp.gov.pl
ZUS guidebook "Social insurance and health insurance for Poles employed abroad and foreigners working in Poland" − https://www.zus.pl/documents/10182/167567/porad21.pdf/dd301159-e1e4-42ec-8106-929e86c330ba