Understanding the health care system in Czechia can be difficult even for Czechs, especially during a worldwide pandemic. For expats living in Czechia, things might get even more complicated and difficult to comprehend. This article explains what the deal is with COVID-19 testing, vaccinations, and which insurance companies cover which kinds of services if you’re a foreigner.
In Czechia, all residents must have health insurance, including foreigners staying for more than 90 days. If you’re a non-EU national and need to apply for a residence permit, you’ll probably need proof of comprehensive health insurance with a company registered in the country. It is, therefore, vital, that you arrange one.
You should also remember to pay for your health insurance for the whole period of the expected residence (up to 2 years).
There are two types of medical insurance in Czechia – public and private/commercial.
Public health insurance
According to the law and in accordance with the European Social Security Coordination Rules, the Czech public insurance covers:
- all Czech citizens;
- foreigners with permanent residence in Czechia;
- employees of employers based in the territory of the Czech Republic;
- self-employed people from other EU countries – active in the territory of the Czech Republic and covered by the Czech social security legislation;
- employees from other EU states working in the Czech territory for employers that are based in other EU country, if they are covered by Czech social security legislation;
- non-active family members of migrant workers from other EU states insured in the Czech Republic
Do you fall under these categories? Great – you will be able to get covered by public health insurance. However, keep in mind that public health insurances only cover the basics. You will still have to pay for your health care in private clinics and hospitals or if you use special services that aren’t typically covered by the basic plan (e.g. white fillings at the dentist). You should also make sure your doctor has a contract with the medical insurance company of your choice. Especially if you are seeking mental health professionals.
Additionally, if you’re an EU citizen, it is still recommended that you get comprehensive health insurance for foreigners anyway if you can afford it. Especially if you’re planning to stay in Czechia for a long time.
Private/commercial health insurance
Do you not fall under any of the categories covered by public health insurance – i.e. if you are a third-country citizen and have neither permanent residence nor employment? You must buy private comprehensive health insurance for foreigners.
Private insurance is quite popular with foreigners in Czechia anyway. This is because it often offers more above standard care and can provide more English-speaking health care professionals than public health insurance.
Aside from PVZP and Slavia (which we will discuss in more detail below), you can get private insurance for foreigners in most health insurance companies in Czechia. These include e.g. ZPMVCR, Uniqa, ERGO, and Maxima.
Good to remember
Again, when choosing a health insurance company, make sure to check if your chosen medical professional (e.g. your GP or dentist) has a contract with it. If you come to a medical professional who does not have a contract with your health care company, you will have to cover the full price of the service out of your own pocket.
If you have private health insurance, you pay upfront and it is not possible to cancel or suspend while it’s covering you. If you’re leaving Czechia and want to cancel/suspend your public health insurance, however, this is possible if you’re consistently staying outside Czechia for longer than 6 months. That being said, you will have to prove that you are insured wherever you choose to stay.
What about COVID-19?
Typically, public health insurance companies will cover the cost of the PCR test if you’ve been told to get one by your doctor or a public health station. The same rule typically applies to antigen tests.
If you’re insured by a private health insurance company (e.g. Slavia), you should always check with them to see what is covered and what isn’t by your insurance. This is because private health insurance companies make their own rules.
Some foreigners in Czechia may get vaccinated in accordance with the roll-out plan.
General information about vaccination
- are insured in Czechia by the public health care system (typically through your employer). All you need to register is your insurance/policyholder number (i.e. your national identification number);
- are an EU national living and/or working in a different EU country than your own. You will also need an insurance/policyholder number, though, which you will get after an auxiliary registration (at any Czech health insurance company);
- are insured in another EU country but are currently living in the Czech Republic. You will also need to obtain an insurance/policyholder number, which you will receive after an auxiliary registration
According to COVID.gov.cz, vaccination for other groups of foreigners according to their status is the subject of negotiations – you should keep an eye on your insurance company’s website as well as the Ministry of Health’s website.
Pojišťovna VZP – “General Health Insurance Company”
The VZP is the most widely used public health insurance company in Czechia. It also offers health insurance for foreigners.
If you’re a foreigner covered by the VZP:
- your PCR COVID-19 test would be covered from your above-standard services. Your limit is 2 400 CZK / 12 months as a part of these services;
- antigen tests are not covered;
- as for vaccinations, the company has said that they are waiting for the Ministry of Health to inform them about whether the vaccine will be voluntary or not
If you’re covered by Slavia:
- your PCR COVID-19 test will be covered only upon your doctor’s or the public health station’s indication;
- antigen tests ARE NOT covered at all;
- the cover of the COVID-19 vaccination is an open question according to our information and is currently the subject of discussion by the health insurance company
Pregnancy in Czechia
Aside from COVID-19 and testing, the other most sought-after information in relation to insurance in Czechia for foreigners concerns pregnancy. Are you a foreigner living in Czechia who’s also pregnant? You need to get a special pregnancy package when you’re buying your health insurance. This is because the regular cover of health insurance does not cover costs connected with pregnancy. If you do not get this package, you will have to cover all costs connected to your pregnancy out of your pocket.
Comprehensive health insurances with pregnancy packages typically cover all costs connected to both mother and the baby. It also covers pregnancy check-ups and postpartum check-ups. The baby should get its own insurance once it’s been released from the hospital.
Slavia, PVZP and Uniqa all offer these special pregnancy packages – make sure to compare them amongst each other to see which type will suit your needs best. You should also make sure to ask about the waiting periods for the cover.
Are you anxious about finding the best health insurance for your specific needs? We can help you with that! As a part of our services, Foreigners offer help with Comprehensive health insurance in all major Czech cities.
Are you still abroad and in the process of visa application? Arrange the insurance distantly and we’ll send you the insurance contract by express delivery.