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Is Medical Free in Turkey for Foreigners?

Is Medical Free in Turkey for Foreigners?

Healthcare Services are at a forefront of any healthy country and Turkey is especially known to have improved its healthcare services over the past decades. It has also diversified its medical facilities and transcended globally.

Turkish healthcare includes both private and public health services. And there are approximately 28,000 medical institutes in the country. However, though the country has become a largely respected top destination for medical tourism, healthcare for foreigners is not entirely free here. The country has some top-quality hospital and medical facilities available, a few of them are even US board certified.

There are some key factors that you need to keep in mind if you are from other states and have come for medical support in Turkey.

  • Research about the physicians and decide who will be the best for you, once you’ve done that call the doctor directly.
  • Make sure to get everything in writing, the advice, recommendations, medicines, and cost.
  • Please use a language you are comfortable with, to avoid miscommunication. There is no room for benefit of the doubt in medical issues.

But only the international citizens who are legally employed in Turkey or who have a Turkish spouse are eligible for publicly funded healthcare in Turkey. Unfortunately, others are not. Most international citizens with a residence permit, who live permanently in Turkey and do not hold relevant private health insurance, must make monthly payments into the Turkish state scheme. For most foreigners seeking healthcare, this helps them to get unlimited healthcare for approximately TRY270 a month. This covers you, your spouse, and children under 18 but not unmarried partners. The state scheme also provides dental care in some places.

Most of the hospitals offer certain accommodations or rooms by your needs. Some beds are adjustable, with internet connections, TV, safe boxes, nurse call buttons, and air conditioning in most rooms. You can also have a friend or family member with you, as they allow one guest to stay with the patient. There are other facilities like a translator, daily newspaper, etc as well according to your wish.

The International Social Security Agreement

This agreement has been signed by Turkey with several countries. These bilateral agreements determine legislation applicable to foreigners employed in Turkey and implementations of equal treatment between foreign and national workers. This agreement says if an individual comes to Turkey for work purposes from any country, he or she will be covered under social security and Turkish healthcare benefits. Their social security will be protected by the state.

Here is a list of the countries who signed the bilateral contract: Holland, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Luxembourg, Libya, Norway, the Czech Republic, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Albania, Germany, Austria, and Turkish Republic of Cyprus, France, Quebec, Macedonia, Switzerland, and Georgia.

Alternatively, you can also register for local or international private health insurance programs.

What happens in an emergency?

During an emergency, call 112. The ambulance service will assist you to the nearest hospital. You can be taken to a private hospital at first, considering you’re a foreign person. But if you let them know your preference, they’ll serve you accordingly.

You will immediately be received and seen in an emergency case, and there will not be a fee for attending to an emergency in public hospitals. Whether or not you are a Turkish citizen will not make a difference, you will be treated all the same.
For the foreign tourists, under Circular No. 2010/16 issued by the prime minister of Turkey, emergency health services for all individuals are free of charge. No insurance policy is needed for emergency treatment.

On the other hand, private hospitals in Turkey will charge you but those are significantly cheaper than in any other European countries, even less than half of them.

Expats who stay in Turkey

Expats who stay in Turkey for one or more years can apply to pay into SGK (Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu). The monthly fee increases regularly, but they cover all the expenses of the entire family, making your healthcare in Turkey affordable and balanced.

Every town or village has a family health center which is like a local physician’s surgery. Generally known as Saglik Ocagi or Aile Sagligi Merkezi, these consultations don’t charge at all at these family health centers on the production of a residency permit or passport in the case of tourists.

Besides, some polyclinics are competitively priced. These are often more prepared to treat foreign patients. The conversations there also happen in English. The state hospitals offer ambulance and walk-in emergency treatment for both tourists and residents alike but admissions are chargeable.

There are some holiday-insurances for tourists in Turkey. The tourists may check if their holiday insurance will cover them and residents with SGK will need to check what discounted rates are offered for what treatments.

The hospitals here are very high standards and with much lesser expense than the US.

Dental treatment in Turkey

Dental treatment is excellent in Turkey and cheap too. It is 50-70% cheaper than the UK and US.

Prescription

Turkish Residents above 18 years of age, who are registered with SGK, only pay 20-20% of the total price of the medication. However, Expats who are registered with SGK will find a new digital system that links doctor’s prescriptions with both residents’ and ex-pats’ Turkish ID (kimlik) numbers.

Turkish Pharmacies

Turkish Pharmacies are called Eczane and they are very frequently seen on the roads. The pharmacists are well trained and licensed. For lesser serious health issues, they can help you for the starting. If they realize if anything is serious and needs immediate attention, they would recommend you to the hospital.

So, we have read in detail about the Turkish healthcare for foreigners and their medical insurance policy. Undoubtedly, they are the cheapest in Europe and provide the best; the only problem which an international patient is probable to face is the language barrier. But as we have mentioned there are translators and many English-speaking doctors and nurses available especially in Private hospitals.

Hope you have a nice experience in Turkey and may you always feel better. For more information, you can contact any Healthcare Services in Turkey.