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New record for Poles: we spend billions on private treatment

Although the National Health Fund (NFZ) provides free medical care, queues to specialists can discourage many patients. In the case of specific diseases, time is important, which is why more and more people decide to seek private treatment. It turns out that Poles spend a lot of money and the amounts are bigger and bigger every year.

Healthcare expenses have been constantly increasing in recent years. Already in December 2022, the government announced that the budget for the current year would be increased from PLN 77 billion to PLN 165 billion. Unfortunately, despite this, Poles decide to use private medical care. Data of Statistics Poland (GUS) shows a significant increase in expenses incurred.

The GUS data published at the end of July shows that we incur more and more medical costs every year. This applies to both the public and private sectors.

In 2020, treatment costs were as follows:

  • total public expenses – PLN 109,752.7 million,
  • private expenses – PLN 42,120.8 million.

In 2021, the situation was the following:

  • expenses from public funds – PLN 122,767.2 million,
  • expenses in the private sector – PLN 46,651.3 million.

However, in 2022, the GUS data showed another increase:

  • expenses from public funds – PLN 153,955.9 million,
  • expenses in the private sector – PLN 51,603.2 million.

Current expenses on healthcare and their share in GDP

of PLN
% of GDPMillions
of PLN
% of GDPMillions
of PLN
% of GDP
 Gross Domestic Productᵅ2,337,6271002,631,3021003,078,325100
  SHA 2011ᵇ Methodology  
HF.1+HF.2+HF.3Total current healthcare expenses151,873.56.5169,418,46.4205,559.16.7
HF.1Public expenses109,752.74.7122,767.24.7153,955.95.0
HF1.1state insurance systems14,939.40.625,639.31.0
HF1.2social security systems and compulsory private health insurance94,813.34.197,127.83.7
HF.2+HF.3Private expenses42,120.81.846,651.31.851,603.21.7
HF.3including direct expenses of households29,668.41.333,625.31.336,958.81.2

ᵅ Source: GDP data available at: – updated on 20th June 2023

Author: Photo: Statistics Poland (GUS)

The analysis shows that PLN 5 billion more have disappeared from private wallets than before. For the first time, a staggering amount exceeding PLN 50 billion was spent from the household budget on improving health.

According to GUS, such data is caused by a general increase in household expenses which, compared to 2021, were higher by PLN 3.3 billion, i.e. almost 10%. It is worth emphasising, however, that in the case of the 2022 data, these are estimated values and we still have to wait for the final summary. This results from the methodology of the National Health Accounts.

How much do we pay for filling prescriptions? A staggering sum in 2022

Separate GUS data shows that Poles spend more and more also on medicines. When analysing the information collected and shared by the Ministry of Health, a significant relationship can be noticed. In 2022, a statistical Pole spent PLN 352 on purchasing medicines from their own funds. The refund at that time was PLN 227. The total value was PLN 579.00, which is PLN 61.00 more than in 2021.


Author: Photo: Statistics Poland (GUS)

Sales value of prescription medicines per voivodeship resident in 2022.

It also turns out that the situation is quite divergent in the context of individual voivodeships. Residents of the łódzkie voivodeship spent the  most of their household budget on medicines – as much as
PLN 393.00 per person. However, Poles from the podkarpackie voivodeship spent the least –
PLN 301.00.

The Ministry of Health also highlights the type of diseases most often faced by Poles. Cardiovascular diseases come first and we spend more and more money on their treatment. Problems in the digestive system and metabolism come second and the third place is taken by diseases of the central nervous system.

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