Information about reimbursements of the costs of medical care can be obtained from Bulgaria´s National Health Insurance Fund, NHIF. The contact information of the Fund´s regional units (RHIF 28) and information about local treatment practices are available in English on the Fund´s website.
Healthcare service providers must have a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund. When going for treatment, it is a good idea to take with you, along with your European Health Insurance Card, paper copies of the card, which you can give to the medical personnel.
The availability of public healthcare in Bulgaria varies. In rural areas, the availability of doctor and hospital services is more limited than in the larger towns.
There are also private medical services available in Bulgaria. If you seek private treatment, you must pay all costs yourself. Be aware that emergency care and transport required in the mountain resorts of Bulgaria are not covered under the public healthcare system. Medical costs arising from accidents in these areas must be paid yourself.
See a general practitioner who has an agreement with the National Health Insurance Fund. Most, i.e. approximately 90 per cent of doctors, have a contract but you should check before attending an appointment. You can request the contact information of doctors from the Health Insurance Fund. Show your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the appointment. In this way, you will pay only the consumer tax charge, which is one per cent of the minimum salary for the country (in July 2014, the charge was BGN 2.90).
- You can see a specialist if you have a general practitioner´s referral. You pay the consumer tax charge for treatment. If see a specialist without a referral, you will have to pay the full price of treatment.
- The charge for laboratory tests is either BGN 2 or the equivalent of the consumer tax (one per cent of the minimum salary in Bulgaria).
You can see a dentist directly without a referral. When your doctor has a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund and you present your European Health Insurance Card and ID, you will receive treatment reimbursed by the NHIF at the co-payment rate. The amount of your co-payment depends on the procedure.
If your doctor writes No. 5 on the prescription form, collect the medicines from a pharmacy which has a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund. When you present your European Health Insurance Card and ID, you will receive the medicines either free of charge or at partially reduced rate. Reimbursement varies under Bulgarian legislation. You can ask your doctor in advance the amount of the reimbursement you will receive at the pharmacy. If you receive a prescription other than No. 5, your medicine is not covered by the reimbursement scheme. You can collect these medicines from any pharmacy.
You can access hospital treatment with a doctor´s referral. Go to a hospital which has a contract with the National Health Insurance Fund. Present the referral, your European Health Insurance Card and your ID at the reception desk. In this way, you will pay only the consumer tax charge for hospital treatment and any separate charges for medical supplies. The consumer tax to be paid per day is two per cent of the minimum salary in Bulgaria (in July 2014, the charge was BGN 5.80). If you are hospitalised for more than 10 days in a calendar year, the tax will no longer be collected after the 10th day. Hospital treatment includes two free check-ups after being discharged from hospital.
In emergencies, ambulance transport is free. You can get an ambulance by calling 150.
If you have to pay all costs yourself
If you have to pay the full price for treatment at a local public healthcare unit for which you would have been entitled to reimbursement with a European Health Insurance Card, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively. You can apply for reimbursement either from the health insurance institution of the destination country or from Kela on form SV 128.