Paying your health insurance gives you the right to choose a general practitioner (GP). If you have not selected a GP while your application for international protection was reviewed, you can do that after you are granted refugee or humanitarian status.
As an asylum seeker, your health insurance is covered by the State Agency for Refugees. Once granted a refugee or humanitarian status, you are obliged and personally responsible to pay your monthly health insurance instalments.
You lose your rights if you do not pay 3 health insurance instalments. Those rights will be restored after you pay the lacking instalments for the respective past periods of time.
You can check your health insurance status and the amount of the due health insurance instalments on THE WEBPAGE OF THE NATIONAL REVENUE AGENCY.
Why do you need a GP?
Your GP is the doctor:
- Who follows your general medical condition, does regular check-ups, OBLIGATORY VACCINATIONS and treats minor diseases (such as the flu and other respiratory conditions).
- Who keeps a digital record of your illnesses.
- Whom you contact when you have a health issue and you need medical consultation, home or hospital treatment.
- Who can prescribe you medications when you need them.
- Who can issue you a medical referral for a specialist (such as an ophthalmologist, ear-nose-and-throat specialist, a specialist in internal diseases) in case you have a specific medical condition that requires further examination.
When you have this referral, at the specialist office you will pay only a user’s fee and not the entire price of the treatment.
- Who can issue you a document for temporary incapacity to work, if you are working under a labour contract
This document gives you the right not to go to work because you are ill. Тhis way you will receive financial compensation by the National Health Insurance Fund for the time you are absent.
Do you have to pay a fee to visit your GP?
Every time you visit your doctor you need to pay a fee – 2.90 leva (approx. 1.50 euros).
GP visits are free of charge for:
- Pregnant women and women within the first 45 days after giving birth.
- Persons who receive social assistance or unemployment compensation.
- Persons suffering from cancerous diseases and others.
Pensioners pay a reduced fee of 1 lev.
How to select a GP?
You are free to choose whoever you want to be your GP. On the NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE FUND (NHIF) WEBSITE you can find a list of general practitioners who have signed a contract with NHIF.
It is recommended to meet the doctor and gain their agreement in advance as some doctors have too many patients and will not want to register new ones.
If you are under 18 years old only your parents or guardians can choose your GP.
After you choose a GP, you have to fill in a registration form called “Registration form for initial selection of general practitioner” and present it to the GP you have chosen.
You can get this registration form from the respective clinic or download it from the NHIF WEBSITE.
Once you sign up for a GP, the doctor will register you on their list and prepare your patient’s file. You will also be issued a personal health insurance book, which you need to present when you go to a doctor or to the dentist.
What if you are not satisfied with your current GP?
You have the right to change your general practitioner between 1 and 30 June and between 1 and 31 December each year.
You can change your GP regardless of whether it is June or December only in the following cases:
- When I change your current address.
- When your GP is permanently unable to provide medical care (for a period longer than 20 days) for example due to serious illness, and this inability was established by the National Health Insurance Fund.
- When the medical institution (hospital) where your GP works does not have a contract with the Regional Health Insurance Fund (RHIF).
- When your GP terminated their contract with the NHIF.
Who can help you choose a GP?
You can ask the staff members of the State Agency for Refugees or social workers from the Bulgarian Red Cross to help you sign up for a GP.
Remember that even if you have not paid your health insurance, you have the right to a free of charge emergency medical assistance in life-threatening situations. If this is the case, call 112. Learn more on: