Are you living in Turkey (Turkiye) as an expat or planning to move there soon? You will be happy to know that healthcare facilities in the country are cheaper as compared to other European nations. If you are living in Istanbul, Ankara, or another developed city, you will find well-trained and highly qualified, English-speaking medical professionals.
However, the rural areas are still devoid of these top-notch facilities. The standard of the public healthcare system is still below average, although it has significantly improved in the past couple of years. Most expats prefer private facilities, as they offer the level of professional care that most expats expect.
Private healthcare facilities in Turkey are making a name for themselves in the medical tourism industry, as well. People from across the world are flocking to Turkey to take advantage of private healthcare facilities. This is largely for dentistry, fertility treatments, and cosmetic surgeries. The high quality of care combined with the low cost is the driving factor here.
There is no doubt that the cost of even private healthcare in Turkey is comparatively low. Yet, paying out of pocket is not a wise choice. If you’re a citizen of another country planning to live in Turkey, you should have Turkey expatriate health insurance.
Is Insurance Necessary in Turkey?
First things first: Health insurance in Turkey is mandatory. It is compulsory for expats to have health insurance to get residency or work permits. If your insurance plan from your home country is compatible with Turkish law, you may be able to use that plan. France, Germany, and other countries have reciprocal agreements with the Turkish government.
This means that if you have paid the required premiums in your home country, then you get coverage in Turkey, as well. The UK, however, does not have any such agreement. If your country does not have an agreement, you will need to have Turkey expat health insurance.
My country has a reciprocal agreement with Turkey. Do I still need expat health insurance?
Before we can answer that, it is necessary to understand the public healthcare and insurance systems in Turkey. Only then will we be able to decide if it is sufficient, or if you will need an add-on in the form of Turkish private health insurance.
Turkey’s SGK Insurance for Expats
The government-approved insurance system of Turkey is called Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu (SGK). Once you have lived in Turkey for over a year, you are eligible to make use of this system by paying a fixed premium. If you are working with a company, your employer might enroll you with this plan.
SGK covers the following:
- Inpatient and outpatient services across all public hospitals and clinics
- Pregnancy and related expenses
- Occupational injuries and diseases (temporary incapability allowance included)
- Discounts in private hospitals and clinics
Sounds like a fair deal, doesn’t it? Well, don’t be too quick to decide. While the SGK does cover a lot, there is also a lot that it doesn’t cover. The problems in the system are too huge to ignore. The downsides of SGK include the following.
- SGK does not cover pre-existing or current conditions like cancer or diabetes. If you suffer from any such condition, Turkish public health insurance would not be an effective choice.
- The level of facilities offered in public facilities under SGK is not top-quality. It is much less than European and North American expats may expect.
- Turkey’s public health insurance does not offer as much peace of mind as Turkey private health insurance would. If you cannot feel assured that all your expenses will be covered with your policy product, it defeats the purpose of buying insurance.
How to Choose Turkey Expat Health Insurance?
If you are looking for expat health insurance in Turkey, your biggest woe would be that there are almost too many choices. The healthcare facilities and insurance providers are many. You will have to make the right choice for complete coverage and mental peace.
The premium is undeniably the most important factor. The question of “How much are you willing to pay today, and what kind of coverage does it offer you tomorrow?” is an important one. You will come across many local options while scanning the market for policy providers. Local insurance providers do have attractive deals, and they can offer quite a lot of benefits with a not-so-high premium.
But, again, before you choose a local policy, think it through.
Your local policy coverage will desert you as soon as you step out of the national boundaries. If you ever need a treatment that is best offered in a nearby country, your coverage would not include those costs. By purchasing a local plan, you will have to restrict yourself.
Consider going for Turkey expatriate health insurance. The premiums might be a little higher, but it’s worth it. The coverage will follow you wherever you go. You will get private care without having worry about the expense—the ultimate satisfaction.
Buying Turkey Expatriate Health Insurance
No matter what policy provider you choose for your expatriate health insurance in Turkey, you should compare plans. Check the premiums, the coverage, the terms and conditions, and the exceptions. You can also look for policies that offer repatriation and medical excavation services so that your expenses for traveling to other countries for medical care are also covered.
The best way to decide on a policy is to understand how much peace and assurance it can offer. The better the peace of mind, the better the policy!