For several years, the Turkish health system has been undergoing a real transformation, and its modernisation and development have made Turkey one of the world's leading destinations for medical tourism. Thus, expatriates living in this country generally benefit from high-quality care, particularly in the private health sector.
Health insurance for expats in Turkey
The health insurance system in Turkey
Managed by the Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu (SGK), the universal health insurance system (Genel Sağlık Sigortası) provides for the full coverage of health expenses for nationals, and permanent foreign residents under certain conditions:
If they are employees of a Turkish company, civil servants, or self-employed.
If they fall into certain specific categories (modest household, refugees, etc.).
In other situations, if they wish to contribute voluntarily to the SGK.
In all cases, in order to be covered, residents must no longer be covered by the social security system of their country of origin, and must have contributed to the SGK for at least 30 days during the 12 months preceding their request for care.
The Turkish health system allows its insured persons to benefit from:
General practitioner or specialist consultations (in exchange for a small contribution from the insured)
Oral and dental care and orthodontic treatment for children under 18
Dental prostheses, covered at a rate of 20% for working people (the remaining cost cannot exceed 75% of the national minimum wage)
Medicines, generally covered up to 80%
Hospitalisation in the public sector, which is fully covered, and in the private sector under agreement, which is more limited
Private hospitals under agreement, having signed a contract with the SGK, generally charge premiums (except for emergencies), but these are capped. They cannot exceed +200% of the SGK reimbursement rate. Thus, for a procedure reimbursed at TRY 100 by the SGK, the hospital may not charge more than TRY 300 in total (TRY 200 remaining at the expense of the insured). In addition, each medical procedure requires a contribution of TRY 15, again not covered by the SGK.
As for hospitalisation in a non-approved clinic, it is excluded from the SGK's coverage basket (except in cases of vital emergency), and its rates can be 2 to 6 times higher than the maximum rates in the approved private sector.
How to choose health insurance in Turkey: local or international?
In order to supplement their reimbursements and limit their out-of-pocket expenses, residents in Turkey are therefore well advised to take out complementary health insurance.
Local private insurance companies offer policies, sometimes co-financed by certain employers, but their coverage is often limited to the establishments in their local network.
With an international health insurance plan, you benefit from more extensive coverage, which allows you to choose the establishment in which you will be treated, and which offers services adapted to your situation as an expatriate.