Health insurance is an important topic for many expatriates living in Turkey and in this weeks guide we will be discussing the pros and cons of both SGK (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu) and Private Health Insurance.
Please note: Health Insurance is a mandatory requirement for the Turkish Residence Permit for those UNDER the age of 65.
What is SGK?
SGK (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu) is a non-compulsory government health insurance scheme in Turkey. To benefit from SGK, expatriates must pay a premium of approximately 270 TL per month. (This price increases every year)
Once you have joined SGK, you are entitled to healthcare in Turkish state hospitals and clinics. Coverage includes most health problems including; operations, treatments, and pregnancy.
SGK Pros- A married couple with dependents under the age of 18 can join the SGK scheme under 1 policy. The cost is approx. 270TL per month and is an inexpensive health insurance option for many families.
- Married couples are also eligible to join the SGK Health Scheme under 1 policy. (Conditions apply - you cannot both be in receipt of a state pension)
- Full Treatment - You are entitled to full treatment from Turkish State Hospitals.
- No age restrictions - You can apply to join the SGK Health Insurance Scheme at any age. (A full set of doctor’s reports from a state hospital showing that you do not have any pre-existing chronic condition must be presented on application)
- Some private hospitals accept SGK, however you will have to pay towards the cost of your treatment but at a heavily discounted rate - typically 30% - 70% (Please check with the private hospital before you visit)
SGK Cons- There is no discount for a single person and couples not legally married have to pay for separate premiums. (Approx. 270 TL each per month)
- For married couples that both claim a pension, individual policies will be required.
- You cannot op out of the SGK Health Insurance Scheme. There are exceptions to leaving SGK – Please see here
- When you calculate the cost of SGK over the course of 1 year, it is more expensive compared to some private health insurance policies. Approx. 270 TL x 12 Months = 3,240.00 TL
- Your health care is limited to Turkish state hospitals. (Some private hospitals will accept SGK, but will not cover the full cost of treatment)
- Joining SGK - You must hold a Turkish Residence Permit and living in Turkey on a permanent basis.
- When your Residence Permit expires you are automatically de-registered / suspended from SGK. You need to visit your local SGK office to continue your policy.
- During official holidays and on Sundays (ONLY) SGK will not cover expenses of patients at ANY private hospital. (Excluding Emergencies) (State Hospitals are unaffected)
- If you do not speak Turkish, it may be difficult to communicate with SGK staff, as most SGK offices do not provide support in the English language.
(Documentation may not be provided in the English language)
- Pre-existing conditions may not be covered .
Find out more about SGK here; SGK Health Insurance Turkey
Private Health Insurance
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.
Private Health Insurance Pros- Health Insurance premium is cheaper and can be paid over a period of 9 months (More Information Here)
Ex. Female aged between 31-35 non smoker = 667.96 TL PER YEAR Covering Inpatient & Outpatient Treatment
(74 TL every month for 9 months – based on Groupama Sigorta FIT policy)
- Immediate cover – Once your policy has been agreed and payments are made, you will be covered immediately.
- Private hospitals in Turkey – Private Hospitals are more superior and offer a high quality of service compared to many state run hospitals.
- Premium Renewed on a Yearly Basis – You can renew your policy on a yearly basis and you are not obligated to stay with the same insurance provider.
- Waiting lists for treatments are shorter.
- Private Health Insurance may be better for those foreigners who do not live in Turkey all year round.
- 60 - If you join at the age of 60 or earlier, you can remain with your insurance provider as a permanent renewal.
- Choose your own level of courage – You can choose the level of coverage you need. (For the Turkish residence permit you have to abide by the minimum health insurance requirements)
- Full support provided in the English language – Some private health insurance companies provide English-speaking staff
(Health Insurance documents are also provided in the English & Turkish language)
Private Health Insurance Cons- Age restriction – Most private health insurance companies will not provide cover for new comers over the age of 60.
- Coverage - There may be a minimum contribution requirement for non-contracted hospitals (Check the full coverage of your policy with your provider)
- No Family polices – Some Private health insurance companies do not provide family policies.
- Pre-existing conditions may not be covered.
Get an online quote for private health insurance here; Private Health Insurance Calculator
Conclusion:SGK health insurance appears to be a good option for families living permanently in Turkey, but for singletons and unmarried couples, private health insurance is the best option.
So which is better for you? We welcome your comments below.
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