SGK Health Insurance for Foreigners Living in Turkey
Without a doubt, health insurance is the biggest concern for foreigners living in Turkey. We all like the reassurance and comfort of knowing that in an emergency or case of major illness, insurance will cover the cost of treatment.
People over 65 living in Turkey don’t have to have health insurance, but anyone under this age applying for a residency permit needs to show proof of medical coverage. Unfortunately, many foreigners complain that private health insurance is just too expensive and with many hidden clauses in the terms and conditions, expats feel uncertain of guaranteed health coverage. For this reason, most sign up for Turkey’s government approved scheme known as SGK.
Turkey’s SGK Insurance for Foreigners
Foreign residents are eligible to apply for the SGK (Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu) system if they have lived in Turkey for one year. The coverage entitles holders to free treatment in Government Devlet hospitals, reduced payment for prescriptions and sometimes, discount at private institutions, subject to their distraction.
Holders pay a monthly premium which is 614 lira, and this is the same for married and single people. This amount also increases every year. Upon approval, you will receive a card to show when accessing medical and health care.
Some countries have a reciprocal agreement with Turkey ensuring citizens are already covered if they have paid premiums in their home country. The list includes but is not limited to France and Germany. The UK does not have a reciprocal agreement. SGK also does not cover pre-existing or current conditions like cancer or diabetes.
How to Apply for SGK
To start the process, visit your local SGK office to find out the exact details because the process differs from region to region. (Customers of Turkey Homes can contact us to find out where these are in your region.)
They will outline how to apply and what documents you need to provide. Your first application may seem longwinded because you can’t get a residency when you are under 65 without health coverage, and you can’t enrol on the system without a residency. So, initially the two processes will overlap.
Alongside the application form, submit copies of your passport, residency application and to join, you will have a health assessment, carried out by an approved doctor. You will also need proof of your address issued by the local Nufus office.
Once enrolled, the SGK department hands over a provisional document to show the residency permit office. Likewise, you will receive a temporary report from the residency office. Continue to pay your premiums every month, either online or at one of the major Turkish banks, but when renewing your residency permit, visit the SGK office again, to reinstate coverage and update your records.
As well as looking into Turkey’s SGK health insurance for foreigners, people thinking about moving to the country, also need to apply for a Turkish residence permit. Additionally, our expat guide to Turkey talks about banking, handling finances, useful apps, learning the language, working and what to do when problems arise.