Health Care in Czechia under COVID-19: Insurance, Testing, and Vaccination

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. 

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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.

Leaving Czechia?

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.

Some foreigners in Czechia may get vaccinated in accordance with the roll-out plan.

General information about vaccination

According to the Czech Ministry of Health, foreigners in Czechia can get their COVID-19 jab in accordance with the national roll-out plan if they:

  • 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  

Slavia

Slavia pojišťovna is a private health insurance company. It offers a wide array of services, including Comprehensive Health Insurance for Foreigners, which you can get through our office.  

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.

 

Article sources: Covid.gov.cz, Ministry of Health website, Expats.cz, The City of Prague website, Infocizinci.cz, Cicops.cz
Photo source: pixabay.com

Tereza Walsbergerova

Howdy! I'm Tereza and I'm a wordsmith and literature nerd from Brno. Although I was born and raised in the Czech Republic, I know all too well from my time in Texas what it's like to be a "stranger in a strange land." I am excited to share all kinds of information with y'all!

10 thoughts on “Health Care in Czechia under COVID-19: Insurance, Testing, and Vaccination

  1. Hi Tereza,
    Hope you are doing well and staying safe.
    I just read through the portion about Public health insurance and I see it does not include permanent residents who are foreigners having acquired permanent residency via the 5-year rule.
    I suppose I can assume from the statement in 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… that if a foreigner has permanent residency status then private health insurance is not an option.

    How do the following 2 statements compare:
    1) 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.

    2)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;

    1. Hi Dwight!
      Thank you for these questions! Yes, permanent residence is included in that list, I should have specified it – will add it!

      That being said, I think that you can get private insurance if you want regardless if you can get public insurance or not, just like I could if I wanted to. Like I said in the article, some people prefer it, because it can give you access to more English-speaking medical professionals. I’ve never thought about making that switch myself, though, so it’s not something I’ve studied.

      As for the other question – typically, health insurance companies will cover the tests if you’ve been sent to get one by a doctor of a health station, but in the case of some foreigners, you’d need to have an above-standard package (if you’re with VZP, for instance) or pay for it in full. So the first sentence is a general rule, but the other one specifies the difference for some people. I hope that makes sense? Usually if you need to get the test, you will need to give the testing lab your insurance number – they will tell you if you’re covered or not for the test as it’s all in their system.

      Hope this clears things up!
      Best,
      Tereza

  2. Hi Tereza
    I have just read with interest the covid blog as I and likely many others it seems may have fallen through cracks , so to speak.In March my health insurance provider informed that I wasnt covered for Covid and I was shocked as to how it took a whole year to be informed of this.On top of this, the cost of the policy increased yet the total cover value did not. If I was a younger person I wouldnt be unduly troubled by this, yet am of an age now where I have friends up to twenty years younger than me in other countries.who have already received the vaccine.As it stands I cannot even register for it-how can it be that situations like this are not being addressed? Surely I cannot be alone in this ?

    1. Hi Ron,
      Thank you for sharing your story! Sadly our legislature often forgets about expats and, as you say, many of them slip through the cracks. I read an article recently that many expats have decided to get the vaccine in their countries of citizenship, because they don’t want to wait for such a long time for it to be available here. We’re hoping for some new info soon on this subject.

      Take care,
      Tereza

  3. I may well hope the discussion about foreign nationals being eligable for covid19 vaccination is closed soon, as of June the register is open to everyone!

    1. Hi Saryanto! It’s looking good according to the news sources. Self-payers might be able to get vaccinated soon. It just has not been confirmed yet by the government. Once it is, we will make sure to inform everyone on our blog.

      Best,
      Tereza

  4. Hi Tereza,
    I am from UAE and have received 2 doses of Sinopharm vaccine and 1 dose of Pfizer vaccine too . I am planning to join an university in Czehk by September.So, is it possible to get 2nd dose of Pfizer from Czehk? Can you please let know the updates of PCR testing ,the quarantine procedures and wearing of masks. Is a N95 mask compulsory?or any mask will do.Are there centres for Covid testing and is it payable or free?If payable , how much is the charge ?Your reply would be highly appreciated .
    Thankyou,

    1. Hi Sena,
      As far as I know, the Sinopharm vaccine isn’t accepted in Czechia, so to be able to use your vaccination status here, you’d have to re-vaccinate with an EU-approved vaccine (e.g. Pfizer or Moderna).

      As for testing and quarantine, all depends on where you’re travelling on and which color the country currently is on the traffic light map. The UAE is currently dark red/brown, so that means the conditions are pretty strict. Please check this website for details: https://www.mzv.cz/abudhabi/en/visa_and_consular_information/consular_information/covid_19_information/rules_for_entry_and_return_to_the_czech.html

      It is currently still compulsory to wear FFP2/N95 masks indoors /e.g. shops/ and on public transport.

      Covid testing is only free if you’re covered by public insurance. Otherwise you will be charged. PCR is around 800 CZK and antigen 200 CZK.

      Best,
      Tereza

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