Health Insurance in the Czech Republic
Health insurance in the Czech Republic is a requirement for all foreigners wishing to work, study or tour the country, especially those who do not have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Insurance companies in the Czech Republic provide coverage for foreigners designed to be as effective as public health insurance.
A foreigner applying for a residence permit in the Czech Republic (visa, green card, blue card) must obtain health insurance in order to be granted the visa.
Types of Health Insurance in the Czech Republic
There are two types of health insurance in the Czech Republic, public health insurance and private health insurance. The main difference between public and private health insurance for foreigners in the Czech Republic is the number of available hospitals used for treatment. Citizens of the Czech Republic and anybody eligible for public health insurance can be treated anywhere in the Czech Republic. While private health insurance depends on the insurance company’s list of contracted hospitals and the acquired insurance plan.
Who is eligible for public health insurance in the Czech Republic?
The following lists eligibility for full public health insurance in the Czech Republic:
- Citizens of the Czech Republic
- EU nationals covering only necessary and urgent care
- Family members of EU nationals ensured from their member states
- People employed and residing in the Czech Republic
- Permanent residents in the Czech Republic
- Asylum seekers
- Foreigners receiving temporary protection
- Children of a foreign citizen who has a permanent residence permit.
Health Insurance in the Czech Republic for EU citizens
Citizens of one of the member states of the European Union can use public health insurance in the Czech Republic but only in cases of injury or illness. For example, a checkup, in this case, is not covered.
Citizens of the member state of the European Union have the right to be treated in a Czech hospital even if they do not have travel insurance, however, there are many technicalities not covered throughout this procedure, for instance, transportation to the hospital, materials used for treatment, preventive medication, and even certain examinations. These costs can add up to an expensive bill and would need to be paid from the patient’s own financial resources. It is therefore recommended for those planning on traveling to the Czech Republic for the purposes of tourism (short stay less than 90 days) to acquire travel insurance before arrival in case of an emergency.
Longer stays in the Czech Republic require entry into public health insurance or payment of private health insurance.
Public Health Insurance in the Czech Republic
The largest public health insurance company in the Czech Republic is the state-owned VZP or Všeobecna Zdravotní Pojištovna, providing full health insurance to all Czech citizens, permanent residents, and those under long-term employment contracts. Medical services provided by the VZP are free of charge. The public healthcare insurance is paid as a monthly deduction from salary (or a bank transfer if self-employed).
Procedures not covered by Public Health Insurance in the Czech Republic
Some medical procedures are not covered by health insurance. For example:
- cosmetic and plastic surgery conducted for cosmetic purposes
- acupuncture procedures
- cosmetic dental procedures
Basic dental care is covered by insurance. The patient must pay for premium or higher quality materials.
Private Health Insurance in the Czech Republic for Foreigners
Private health insurance for foreigners is generally divided into two sections: Necessary and Urgent Healthcare Insurance and Comprehensive Healthcare Insurance.
- Necessary and urgent healthcare insurance: this type of insurance covers cases of sudden and unexpected health conditions from medical expenses, outpatient care, hospital treatment, assistance services, and even urgent dental treatment. In cases of sudden health problems, acute and emergency healthcare insurance is provided in every medical facility in the Czech Republic, meaning that it is not necessary to visit specific hospitals listed in the contractual list of the insurance company.
- Comprehensive healthcare insurance: comprehensive healthcare insurance is similar to public health insurance in the Czech Republic, covering all medical treatments and examinations, including acute as well as preventive treatments. It also contains higher cover limits for medication. This type of insurance is required for foreigners wishing to remain in the Czech Republic for 90 days or more. Usually, the higher the limit of covering, the higher the scale of healthcare provided.
Foreigners wishing to travel and visit the Czech Republic must acquire a travel medical insurance before arrival. Those planning on staying for a longer period (more than 90 days) are required to apply for health insurance. The limit of coverage of the insurance varies in each insurance company. The following lists private health insurance in the Czech Republic for foreigners:
- PVZP Health Insurance Company
- Axa insurance company
- Maxima insurance company
- Ergo Insurance Company
- Uniqa insurance company
Private health insurance requires choosing an offered plan and purchasing it from the insurance company. The limit of insurance for foreigners must amount to at least EUR 60,000. When applying for short term or long term visas, it is necessary to present the insurance payment to the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy. Payment for health insurance for foreigners is also checked by the Police of the Czech Republic.
How to choose insurance in the Czech Republic for foreigners?
The following criteria outline certain aspects to keep in mind when choosing health insurance in the Czech Republic for foreigners:
1) Ask for the price of 1-year health insurance between the ages of 5 and 65 years old, using the available discounts. 2) How does the process for insurance contract work? Is it possible to arrange this online? 3) Ask about the number of contracted medical facilities. 4) Check the customer reviews. 5) What is covered in the comprehensive health insurance for foreigners? 6) Ask for family discounts/group discounts
Most insurance companies provide an insurance card, it is important to have it at all times. The card contains the personal identification number (rodné číslo) and the insurance policy code. It allows for coverage at the doctor’s or specialist’s treatments. Without it, treatment may be refused by the healthcare provider (with the exception of emergencies). Each family member receives their own card with its own validity that corresponds to the duration of the visa or residency. Children’s insurance identification will be kept at their school.
Online Healthcare Database
Many healthcare providers today can be located online. The website Znamy Lekar is an online resource of doctors and specialists in the Czech Republic, it helps people find a doctor and can even book an appointment. The website also provides patient reviews (available in Czech only) and a grading system. Dentists, psychologists, orthopedists, plastic surgeons, dermatologists, pediatricians and many more can be found through this website.
Pharmacies in the Czech Republic
Pharmacies in the Czech Republic are widely available in the Czech Republic, especially attached to hospitals, with many open 24 hours a day, every day of the week. Foreigners should be wary of the validity period of prescriptions that are given to them, a validity period between 2 and 14 days are standard.
Czech Republic Healthcare Ranking
The Czech Republic healthcare ranking has expressed a solid performance among the Central and Eastern European Countries. The Czech Republic healthcare ranking for 2018 is 14th place (731 points). According to the Euro Health Consumer Index, the main difference between the Czech Republic and its neighboring country Slovakia is a better score on Range and Reach of Healthcare Services.