Learn more about Bulgaria: Sickness at work and Sicknote. Working abroad you will find you have the same rights as in your home country when it comes to sickness at work. Employers will arrange extra or specific employee health insurances that will cover all or most of the common medical expenses. It helps to understand how this right works to avoid problems.
Every doctor can write a sicknote, not every doctor automatically works with your insurance company!
When you start working in Bulgaria your right for social health insurance starts after you have received your permanent contract after your 6th month of work. From this moment all social benefits are in effect. Most companies will arrange a private insurance for you and you will receive an insurance card. Insurance companies who have employee insurances are for example Uniqa, Bulstrad or Euroins. Follow the news of your HR on the insurance package and see if you can insure more things if needed, for example a family package, extra dental care, pregnancy insurance etc.
Specifics on the health insurance package are available at your HR. If you have any expense or medical bill, this can also be for example new glasses, check first with your HR if this expense is covered by the insurance and ask what you need to do to receive money back from your insurance. Usually you first pay the expense and the ‘seller’ fills out an invoice that is meant for the insurance company. This invoice you give to your HR and they will see that you receive a reimbursement. This maybe anything from 0% to 100% depending on the package.
If you fall sick during your first 6 months you will receive unpaid leave and you will not receive any insurance for this. To not miss out on your wages you can see with your employer to catch up on lost hours.
Procedure permit after the 6th month your sick leave will be reimbursed and possibly also the treatment your received. Any medication bought from a pharmacy is not reimbursed that we know of.
Guidelines to follow for the sicknote:
> Report at work the day you fall sick
> See a doctor the first day of sickness
> Bring to the doctor: ID-card, social security number, insurance card, name, address and phone number of your employer
> The doctor will provide you with a sicknote for the estimated time you will be absent from your work
The first day you are back at work you give your sicknote to your manager or HR. They will see your sick leave is compensated. Compensation follows the same month or the month after that.
Sicknotes are only valid if obtained from the first day of sickness. It is not possible to get a sicknote afterwards!
For reimbursement or a reduced rate of your medical treatment it is important to follow the instructions of your insurance company. You cannot choose a random medic! Your insurance company will inform you with which institutions and medics they have an agreement. When you are sick this can be a hassle, for this reason it could help to inform with your HR which institutions in your neighbourhood are connected. But beware:
Guidelines to follow for reimbursement of the (each) medical treatment:
> Call the number of your insurance company
> Communicate your client and polis numbers from the card
> Inform them that you will need to receive treatment
> Ask them where you can receive treatment
> Ask them to call this institution to confirm your visit
> Bring your ID-card, social security number, insurance card, name, address and phone number of your employer
> Inform the institution you have had contact with your insurance company and double check if your insurance company has contacted the institution
Only when you follow these guidelines you will receive the treatment for free or at reduced rate.
As you see receiving reimbursements from your insurance is a whole process of informing, checking and double checking. It helps to have somebody at your side that speaks Bulgarian.
Note: In our experience most qualified doctors will speak some or more English, at least enough to assist you.