Your guide to health insurance in the Czech Republic
Relocating to the Czech Republic? The Czech Republic has one of the best healthcare systems in Central Europe. With over 25,000 hospitals, clinics, and private medical practitioners, it is an incredibly popular destination for medical tourism! How does the healthcare system work in the Czech Republic, and what can you expect as an expat living there?
Here, we will give you the nuts and bolts on the types of medical care and health insurance plans available in this beautiful country.
About the Czech Republic
Types of insurance
Health insurance is compulsory for all individuals living in the Czech Republic, be it state insurance or private insurance. If you stay in the country for over 90 days, you are required to show proof that you are covered under statutory or private health insurance. However, if you are staying for less than 90 days, you will need to show proof of your travel insurance.
For those who are new to the Czech Republic, here are several ways to get your bases covered.
Statutory health insurance
Citizens, residents, and anyone working for their Czech employer are automatically insured under the country’s public healthcare system. This means most treatments - including the notoriously expensive dental treatment - is free as long as you pay your monthly contributions.
This is done through a joint monetary contribution by the employer and employee, usually to the Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP), the largest and state-owned insurer in the nation. Here is a list of other health insurance companies offering the Czech Republic’s health insurance scheme. You will then receive a card to prove your membership, which you will provide at hospitals and clinics whenever you seek treatment.
Expats are also required to pay a small stipend for the treatment received to this fund.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you’re in luck! Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) have signed reciprocal agreements to provide all EHIC-holders covered by statutory health insurance to receive medical treatment in other EEA countries for free or at a reduced cost. All individuals possessing an EHIC have access to the Czech Republic’s superb public healthcare system.
However, if you are planning to stay in the Czech Republic for longer, we strongly encourage you to enroll in either the public health insurance scheme or an international private health insurance scheme to get comprehensive coverage.
Private Health Insurance
If you are staying in the Czech Republic without an EHIC, and not working for a Czech company, then securing an international private health insurance plan is your best option. To stay in this country, all citizens must be covered by insurance.
- It must provide comprehensive health insurance
- The cover level must be at least €60,000
- The cover must be provided by an approved Czech health insurer
- Whoever you purchase your insurance from should be an official agent registered with the Czech National Bank
We recommend speaking to our expert insurance advisors today to find a personalized plan before you begin your adventure in the Czech Republic!
Healthcare system in the Czech Republic
The healthcare system in the Czech Republic is segregated into the public and private sectors, both of which are comprehensive and high in quality. However, depending on your needs, you may opt for one over another. It’s important to note that pharmacies also function very differently than what you are accustomed to back at home. Learn more about the medical facilities in the Czech Republic below!
Heavily subsidized, the hospital standards are high and likely similar to what you are accustomed to back at home. Many doctors are also Western-trained and able to speak English. However, don’t be offended if your medical staff are curt. The turnover rate of patients is incredibly high at Czech public hospitals, and consultation times can be short as a result. There are more doctors per head in the Czech Republic than there are in the whole of the United States. However, the waiting period before treatment tends to be long since doctors are always in high demand.
Treatment at private hospitals in the Czech Republic is excellent but expensive. Doctors are highly qualified and experienced. There are even more English-speaking staff at private hospitals. You can also expect much shorter waiting times and a service-oriented approach when it comes to dealing with their patients. Make sure you are covered by an international private health plan or be prepared to see a startlingly more expensive medical bill.
(Please note that some private facilities will ask you to pay upfront before seeing a physician.)
Dentists operate in both the public and the private healthcare system. The Czech statutory health insurance covers basic, preventive dental procedures, such as check-up, basic fillings, and extractions. Orthodontic treatment is also covered for children up to the age of 18. However, for more complex procedures, we recommend going to a private dental clinic.
With over 2,000 large pharmacies or “lékárna” scattered across the Czech Republic, you will never fear running out of medications and not being able to restock them. However, all prescriptions in the Czech Republic come with a time limit depending on who issues them, or what they are issued for.
Here are a few unique rules to follow:
- Prescriptions from a doctor are valid for 1 week.
- Prescriptions from the emergency services are valid for 1 day.
- Prescriptions for antibiotics are valid for 3 days.
If your prescription times out after its validity period, you will have to see your doctor again for a replacement. This will cost you the standard consultation fee of 30 Czech Koruna again. While medicines are usually covered by most insurers, there are certain medicines where your insurers will only cover a percentage of the cost.
How to find the best private health insurance in the Czech Republic
Choosing the right private health insurance plan can be a daunting task as there are numerous options available in the Czech Republic. One of the best decisions you can make as an expat is to chat with our insurance experts at Pacific Prime.
We have over two decades of experience in the industry and are committed to finding the perfect insurance plan to suit your budget and needs. Most importantly, our highly-trained experts at Pacific Prime provide free quotations, leverage our close partnerships with all major insurers, and have an extensive portfolio that consists of all the best plans. Contact us today so we can help!