Health insurance in Turkey is a concern for many people considering buying a Turkish property, or looking to settle and spend their retirement here. Here are Oceanwide Properties list of most frequently asked questions and answers to help all those concerned;
Do I need health insurance when I visit Turkey on holiday?
It is always a good idea to be covered by a health insurance policy as you never know what could happen. If you are visiting Turkey on a 90 day tourist visa, a holiday insurance policy normally suffices. These can be arranged easily and cheaply via many tour operators, private companies, even banks just check the policy small print and take note of any excesses should you make a claim. Be sure that your policy covers any pre-existing illnesses or conditions you may have and note that most normal agreements don’t cover accidents as a result of sports like paragliding, white water rafting or any other activity that may be deemed dangerous or extreme.
Does a foreign resident living in Turkey need health insurance?
Since April 2014, Turkish health insurance for foreign residents in Turkey under the age of 65 is compulsory. The only exceptions to this rule are those from countries that have a reciprocal agreement with Turkey. Unfortunately the UK has no such agreement as yet therefore taking out a Turkish insurance policy is a must.
There is SGK, a popular government run scheme costing around 270TL a month for a policy covering an individual or family, or you can choose to arrange private health care from one of the many Turkish insurance companies.
I’m over 65. Do I need Turkish health insurance?
At present (February 2015), foreign residents over the age of 65 do not need a health insurance policy when applying for a short term residence permit. It is however advisable to be covered in case of an emergency and this rule may change in the future.
What is SGK?
SGK (Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu) is a government run health care system in Turkey. It entitles those under the system to free healthcare and treatment in state hospitals and clinics. Under the system, you are also entitled to treatment in many participating private hospitals at heavily reduced rates, often receiving discounts of between 30% and 70% on treatments.
How much is it to join the Turkish SGK healthcare system?
The prices do change. At present, to join SGK you are looking at around 270TL per month. Although seemingly unfair, it is the same price for an individual as it is to cover a married couple or a family with dependents under the age of 18.
How do I apply for SGK?
You can apply for SGK health insurance if you live in Turkey and hold a Turkish resident permit and are not entitled to government healthcare in any other country.
You apply to the local SGK office and supply them with the medical paperwork and doctors reports issued following a SGK health check. This check must be done at a state hospital and clearly show any pre existing conditions you may have. You then submit these along with your residency permit, passport and Yabanci Kimlik Number to the SGK office.
On renewal of my residency permit, do I need to reapply for SGK insurance?
Your SGK insurance normally applies for the duration of your residence permit. If your permit expiries, your SGK is usually suspended. If you are renewing your permit, take your permit with you to the SGK office and have the dates adjusted.
Can I opt out of my SGK policy?
If you joined the system before May 29th 2013 you are able to opt out by making a written declaration to your local SGK office. Those that joined after this date are able to cancel their SGK by leaving Turkey or joining another official health care system. For best advise please consult your local SGK office.
Disclaimer: To the best of Oceanwide Properties knowledge, the information provided on heath insurance in Turkey is accurate at the date of publication. Policies, laws and prices in Turkey do change frequently though so please check with your local SGK office or insurance provider for up to date information.
If you have any other questions, please comment below and let us know so we can add them to the list and help others. If you want to read more about living and retiring to Turkey, please read our fascinating case study on Mike and Dilys where they speak frankly about their life in Turkey and the SGK system.