Health insurance vs. sickness insurance

Health insurance is often confused with sickness insurance. At the same time, they are separate insurances, regulated by various legal act, and involving other premiums and services.
Sickness insurance (in addition to old-age and disability pension insurance and accident insurance) is social insurance subject to the Act of 13 October 1998 on the social insurance system.

Foreigners are subject to social insurance (including sickness insurance) on the same terms as Polish citizens if:

  • they are legally employed by a Polish employer and perform work in Poland (the term “employment” is understood widely and in addition to the employment contract it also includes an agency agreement or a personal service contract); and
  • they are not employed, inter alia, at a foreign diplomatic mission, consular office or international institutions; and
  • an international agreement that Poland is a party to or a Community law does not exclude covering them in the Polish insurance system.

Sickness insurance is insurance only against sickness or maternity, covering the following benefits: sickness allowance, rehabilitation benefit, compensatory allowance, maternity benefit and care allowance (in detail regulated in the Act of 25 June 1999 on cash benefits and social insurance in the case of sickness and maternity).

Persons listed in Article 6 section 1 points 1, 3 and 12 of the Act on the social insurance system (mainly employees employed based on employment contracts) are subject to obligatory sickness insurance. At the same time, persons listed in Article 11 section 2 of this Act can get sickness insurance on a voluntary basis (this group includes inter alia persons, who carry out works based on a personal service contract or an agency agreement, are subject to obligatory old-age and disability pension insurance, carry out business activities, authors, artists, persons in free profession).

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