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Choosing Healthcare in Bulgaria

Choose a healthy option - for people moving to Bulgaria permanently, or staying for long periods of time, healthcare is an essential concern. Quest Bulgaria looks in-depth at the Bulgarian ‘NHS’ and international private health insurance.

The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a system of compulsory health insurance in Bulgaria. There is one health insurance agency and compulsory insurance payments deducted from people’s personal income. Every year Parliament decides the budget for the NHIF, and the amount of payments required from tax payers.

The medical centres responsible for hospital and non-hospital care, have contracts with the NHIF, and are the providers of medical care within the compulsory system.


Family Doctor

Each insured person is allowed to choose their own GP (family doctor) from a medical centre which has a contract with the NHIF.

The GP is responsible for all the health problems of the patient, and decides upon the treatment needed. If the problem is more severe, the GP can refer the patient to a more specialised doctor if necessary.

Once again, the insured person is allowed to choose which specialised doctor they would like to see ... as long as that particular doctor is at a medical centre which also has a contract with the NHIF.

If there is no appropriate specialised doctor in the region, the GP can refer the patient to a doctor in another region. If there is no non-hospital foundation available to provide the necessary treatment, then the GP can refer the patient to be admitted to hospital.



The medical centres of non-hospital medical treatment are categorised as follows:
• Clinics of primary treatment,
• Clinics of special medical treatment

Primary treatment clinics include individual clinics that are served by a GP, and corporate clinics which are organised by a commercial company and are also served by a GP.
Special medical treatment clinics include individual clinics of special non-hospital medicine which are served by a specialised doctor (not a GP); individual clinics of special medical treatment which are organised by commercial companies and are served by doctors with the same speciality (not GPs); and medical/dental/combined centres in which at least three doctors with differing specialities provide special non-hospital treatment.

These clinics can also include diagnostic-consultative centres (multi or polyclinics) in which a minimum of ten specialised doctors work. There is at least one medical-diagnostic laboratory, and the centres are headed by a specialised doctor and a medical management specialist.

Also under this title there are autonomous medical-diagnostic laboratories which a doctor is joined by a medical consultation specialist. At least one doctor works there depending on the specialisation of the lab.

There are also autonomous medical-technical laboratories - in which well-trained specialists perform special technical activities and produce special medical and auxiliary aids after a referral from a doctor or dentist. They are headed by a doctor or dentist or a specialist, depending on the specialization of the laboratory.

The final type of clinic in this sub-category is the autonomous medical-technical laboratory. Here specialists produce special medical and auxiliary aids following a doctor’s or dentist’s referral.



The types of hospital (known as the medical centres of hospital care) are made up as follows and depend up on the type of medical care provided: