Health Insurance and the Public Healthcare System in Prague
How does health insurance work in Prague?
What if you are going to visit or work there, can you get health coverage?
We will answer these questions here.
Healthcare in the Czech Republic is paid for on the basis of contributions from your salary (if you work for a Czech employer), and they are paid to a public health insurance company. If you are self-employed you can choose which health insurance company you want to deal with. Many employers and individuals have an arrangement with Všeobecná zdravotní pojišt´ovna České republiky (General Health Insurance Company of the Czech Republic) or VZP (www.vzp.cz ), as it´s normally referred to. It´s the largest health insurance company in the country, and is used to dealing with foreigners. It has offices throughout the Czech Republic.
Once you are registered in the system, either as an employee or on a self-employed basis, you will be issued with a card by your insurance company. You should keep it with you at all times and produce it every time go to hospital or see your doctor. Remember that public GPs have a contract with one of the health insurance companies, and when you sign up for a local doctor you may find that s/he does not have a contract with the same company. You should therefore check which insurance firm the doctor has an agreement with. If you have to visit a doctor who has a contract with a different healthcare company, then your provider would reimburse the doctor for any costs involved. However, this is the case only where ‘essential´ and ‘urgent´ treatment is required. You should also be aware that having public healthcare provision does not cover you if you visit private clinics or hospitals. source
Prague Health insurance and foreigners
If you are visiting Prague don’t assume that your health insurance will be good there.
Take the time to call and confirm.
The citizens of EU countries become entitled to participation in the public health insurance if:
- they have permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic,
- they do not have permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic, but are employed by an employer with a registered office in the territory of the Czech Republic,
- if they are governed by the Czech regulations based on EU Directive (this group includes wage-earners in the Czech Republic (employees and self-employed persons), as well as persons on benefits from previous earning activity, i.e. old-age pensions, and family members of all entitled persons, i.e. wife or husband and dependent children).
Having arrived in the Czech Republic, you must visit one of the health insurance companies and get registered there. The insurance company will then give you the insurer’s card that you will hand in at the doctor’s office.
Foreigners without permanent residence are not entitled to public health insurance, unless they participate in the sickness insurance as employees. The employer shall advise the health insurance company of the commencement (and end) of participation in the sickness insurance of an employee who is a foreigner without permanent domicile. The health insurance company issues a green card for this insured person. The public health insurance expires upon the employment termination.
Other foreigners with a long-term residence permit, who are not employed in the Czech Republic by an employer with a registered office in the territory of the Czech Republic, are required to conclude health insurance for settlement of medical expenses, for the minimum amount of EUR 30,000. These foreigners have a possibility to conclude commercial insurance that works based on market principles. The commercial insurance differs from public health insurance on principle, mainly with the existing indemnification limit, and the scope of the covered care is limited, as well. There are two basic types of insurance:
1) health insurance for cases of emergency care,
2) health insurance for cases of complex care.
The amended Act on foreigners’ stay in the territory of the Czech Republic became effective on 1 January 2010. As from this date, foreigners with long-term residence in the territory of the Czech Republic will have to present such valid travel health insurance, to be contracted with a health insurance company authorized to operate such insurance in the territory of the Czech Republic. They will also be required to present the insurance premium payment confirmation. source
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