Health care in Bulgaria
Sunday, 16 September 2012 21:47
When visiting the general practitioner or the specialist recommended by the general practitioner, a small fee is paid. The fee is 1% of the minimum salary in the country.
For each day of a hospital stay, the patient pays a fee amounting to 2% of the minimum monthly salary in Bulgaria, roughly two Euro. Children up to 18-years old, pregnant women, minors and unemployed members of the family, military personnel, and a few other groups are treated free of charge. Uninsured persons pay the full cost for provided medical care in addition to these fees.
There are a large number of specialized private offices and medical facilities in Bulgaria. On receiving consultation and/or treatment at these facilities, patients pay the entire amount for the examination and/or treatment, regardless of whether they have health insurance.
Citizens of any of the above member states who are visiting or residing in Bulgaria have the right to avail themselves of their health insurance. When obtaining medical care, they need only visit a medical facility or diagnostic laboratories that has concluded a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), or any of the state or municipal medical institutions (see the file entitled Healthcare Establishments Register) that are supported by the Ministry of Health. Tourists in Bulgaria can inquire with staff at hotels to gain information about medical care and treatment, and it is the obligation of hotels to provide a list of the addresses of medical facilities and doctors who contracts with the NHIF. (Please note that he healthcare specialists working at hotels often do NOT work with the NHIF, and their services are generally expensive.)
By relying on their own insurance plans, European Union visitors and residents do not have to pay insurance installments to the Bulgarian National Health Insurance Fund. Instead, they need only present their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Under exceptional circumstances, this right can also be proven by providing a Certificate for Temporary Replacement of the EHIC issued by the same institution that issued the individual’s health insurance card, along with valid identification. It is also necessary to provide the medical practitioner with copies of these two documents.
Medical assistance for citizens of other countries
Citizens of a country other than member states of the EU, EEA, and Switzerland who require medical care in Bulgaria must pay for those services in full. If a patient possesses health insurance, the insurer is responsible to reimburse the costs, whether in their entirety or in part, according to the terms of the insurance agreement. In the case of an emergency, regardless of citizenship, place of residence, or health insurance status, every Bulgarian medical facility is required to offer the necessary diagnosis and treatment. If you are in an emergency situation, medical or otherwise, call the free telephone number 112. The operators also speak languages other than Bulgarian.
There are different conditions stipulated for the residents of the states with which the Republic of Bulgaria has agreements and contracts for medical insurance. The right to free access to medical assistance for diplomatic representatives is established by some of those agreements, while others have the right to emergency medical care, and still others provide a wide range of social security and health insurance issues based on the existing bilateral agreements. Such agreements are now in force between Bulgaria and Armenia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Cambodia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia.