The Health Insurance System in Turkey
Understand which medical costs are covered by insurers and patients, how to pay for medical care and how to get private health insurance...
Turkey has a comprehensive public healthcare system, which is available to foreign residents paying social security contributions. However, the system lacks funding and many hospitals are overcrowded. Many doctors working under the state health system also work in the private sector, where waiting lists may be shorter.
All residents in Turkey are issued with a Turkish Identification Number (TIN), which is also their social security number (Sosyal Güvenlik Numaras? - SGN). Employers request a social security number from the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry Directorate for their foreign employees who do not have a TIN.
- Tckimlik have more information about the TIN (in Turkish)
Universal Health Insurance
A system of Universal Health Insurance (Genel Sağlık Sigortası) is currently being implemented in Turkey (as of February 2012). Most foreigners with a residence permit and living permanently for at least one year in Turkey, and who do not hold health insurance under the legislation of their home country, must make compulsory monthly payments into the scheme. For some foreigners this scheme is voluntary, but other nationalities have to pay into this scheme or pay a fine. For most foreigners, this entitles them to unlimited healthcare for approximately TL 200 a month. Payments into the scheme are made monthly at a bank.
Treatments covered by health insurance
Residents registered with the social security system can get medical care free of charge from contracted hospitals. In the following cases, medical treatment is granted without conditions:
Residents with a social security number can get medical care free of charge from contracted hospitals. In the following cases, medical treatment is granted without conditions:
- Work accidents and vocational illnesses
- Infectious diseases
- Preventive health services (drug and alcohol abuse)
- Extraordinary events (war, fire, earthquake)
The following treatments are not covered by social security in Turkey:
- Fertility treatment for women older than 39
- Cosmetic surgery unless medically necessary
- Cosmetic dental work
Most hospitals which are contracted to social security do not offer dental care. Patients are transferred to private dentists and pay for services themselves.
The private health sector in Turkey is growing rapidly, and many expatriates choose to have private cover, as waiting lists for treatments are shorter, and the standard of healthcare in private hospitals is generally higher. Supplementary healthcare insurance with private health insurers is not obligatory. Many employers of expatriates provide supplementary private health insurance cover for their employees.
The maximum age at which a person can enter the private health sector in Turkey is 65.
Most banks and insurance companies offer various pension and health insurance packages. Insurance companies provide a list of hospitals and doctors where people insured with them are covered for treatment.