Bulgarians are entitled to free or subsidised state medical care from a doctor, free referrals to a specialist, reduced price medicines and dental treatment.
All Bulgarians have a National Insurance number, which entitles them to use the state healthcare system.
Employers are responsible for enrolling employees into the health insurance fund. Fees are split between the employer and the employee and they are collected directly from employees’ salaries to the
Bulgarian social security (NOI).
Contributions from employed people amount to around 15 BGN a month. The figure is determined each year by the Bulgarian parliament, who decides what the budget for the National Health fund should be. Self-employed persons must pay the entire contribution themselves.
Dependant family members are covered by the employed family member making higher rates of contribution.
The unemployed, the poor, pensioners, students, soldiers, civil servants and vulnerable categories, like the Roma population, are exempt from payment.
Registered Foreign residents must contribute to the Bulgarian national insurance fund regardless of whether they are employed or not, otherwise they can take out private healthcare.
There is also a belief that Bulgarian hospitals may treat foreign residents who hold European Health Identity Cards under this reciprocal scheme as foreigners from EU member states are required to provide copies of their EHIC when they register.
The standard of private health care in Bulgaria is of a much higher standard, but this is reflected in the fees private practitioners charge.
The system for reimbursement of private medical charges is also time-consuming. Many foreigners come to Bulgaria to take advantage of its private healthcare system, which is considered much cheaper than that of its Western European neighbours.