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Everything you need to know about SGK - Turkey

14th March 2017

What is SGK?SGK (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu) is the name of the Turkish state’s social security system. One division of SGK is GSS (Genel Sağlık Sigortası) or Universal Health Insurance.

In 2012, a new law came into force providing that every resident of Turkey must be covered by GSS, unless covered abroad or by a private medical insurance. The law also included foreign residents, so consequently foreign residents were obliged to sign up for GSS as soon as they had resided in Turkey for more than a year and provided that their own country’s state insurance did not cover them in Turkey.

This obligation raised a lot of protest in the foreign community, and eventually the wording was changed – it now says ‘foreign residents CAN sign up for GSS after having resided in Turkey for at least one year’. Thus, GSS/SGK is an option for foreigners who want to extend their Turkish residence permits.

Under the GSS health insurance you are entitled to healthcare in the state hospitals and clinics. Coverage includes most health services such as doctor’s examinations, drugs, radiological and laboratory tests, operations, dental treatment and pregnancy.
Plastic surgery is not covered under the GSS health insurance.

Some private hospitals have agreements with GSS, you will have to pay towards the cost of your treatment but at heavily discounted rates - typically 30% - 70%.

The monthly premium for GSS is linked to the gross minimum wage. If the official minimum wage goes up, the GSS premium increases as well. For 2017 the premium is 426,60 TL.

The financially dependent spouse of the insured and children under 18 are covered under one single policy. Even children over 18 can be covered if their education continues (student ID required). If the spouse has his/her own income he/she must have an individual GSS policy.

How do I sign up? Firstly you need to meet the following requirements:

- You must have had a Turkish residency permit for at least one year and must still hold a valid residence permit.

- You must not be entitled to any government healthcare scheme in another country (a document of proof is required for citizens of those countries which  have a social security agreement with Turkey)

You will need the following:--A full medical report from the State Hospital (heyet raporu)
-Residence permit with the YKN (Foreigner ID number)
-Your passport
-A translated and notarised copy of your marriage certificate if you want to sign up as a couple
-Translated birth certificates for your children

You can make your application to your local SGK office

Note:In principle, GSS will not cover you for any pre-existing medical condition (chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes etc) that has been diagnosed before you sign up.

So far, the information on the medical report you have to present when you first sign up, is not entered into the system online. So you may get cover for treatment/drugs etc even though it is linked to a pre-existing medical condition. But if SGK performs a research and finds out that the required treatment is related to a pre-existing condition coverage will be refused.

You will be covered for chronic conditions/diseases though if they have been diagnosed after you started GSS. In opposition to private providers you can’t be kicked out and your premium will stay the same.

After having signed up, will GSS cover me forever?No. A priori, your GSS insurance runs until the end of your residence permit. If you renew the residence permit you have to notify the SGK office that you want to continue your insurance, otherwise you may find that you are no longer insured. If you fail to notify SGK, you will not be able to pay your monthly premiums either – an indication that your insurance has been put on hold.

Can I opt out of GSS if I want? No, you can’t. As long as you are an official resident in Turkey you must continue your GSS insurance. Obviously the situation is different if you get married to a Turk and are covered under his/her policy.

When you decide to leave Turkey you should notify your SGK office and present some evidence that your residence status is cancelled (unless it has expired anyway). If you want to sign up again after an interruption the conditions for first-applicants apply (new medical report!).

Written by Annette HANİSCH - YellAli Consultant

Content by YellAli - (All Copyright is protected and owned by YellAli - This content may NOT be copied & distributed by another third party, unless appropriate accreditation is given).

Turkish Residence Permit


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