Bulgaria to grant Ukrainians fleeing war with free access to healthcare

Bulgaria

Following the recent military crisis in Ukraine, a number of Ukrainians arrived in Bulgaria to seek temporary protection or asylum.

On 14 April 2022, the Bulgarian National Assembled adopted a draft proposal that amends the Health Insurance Act. The adopted amendment will enter into force after its promulgation in the Bulgarian State Gazette. According to the amendment displaced Ukrainians who have arrived in Bulgaria during the current crisis and have received temporary protection:

  • will be able to access medical services and the same free medical care available to Bulgarian citizens; and

  • will be insured by the National Health Insurance Fund.

Medical services provided to foreigners with temporary protection will be reimbursed by the state budget. As a result, Ukrainians fleeing their home country will be guaranteed free access to hospital services, medical consultations and urgent care.

Those benefitting will include any foreigner who:

  • has Ukrainian nationality and their family members;

  • stateless persons, refugees, and family members from third countries fleeing the war in Ukraine;

  • permanent residents, legally residing in Ukraine who cannot return safely to their country of origin.

In accordance with the EU policy, the Bulgarian Council of Ministers issued Decision № 144 of the of March 10, 2022 for granting of temporary protection to all Ukrainians fleeing the military crisis who have requested such protection on the territory of Bulgaria. This temporary protection will be provided until 24 February 2023.

Before the amendment of the Bulgarian Health Insurance Act, foreigners with temporary protection could only access urgent medical care and were required to pay for all additional medical services with exceptions for vulnerable groups such as minors, people with disabilities, elderly people, pregnant women, single parents and people with serious health problems. The amendment extends healthcare access, which will soon be available for all Ukrainians that have temporary protection in Bulgaria.

Because refugees cannot be granted temporary protection in two different EU countries at the same time, EU regulations stipulate that people running from the war in Ukraine who were granted temporary protection in one European country must obtain a new permit for temporary protection if they relocate to another country. 

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