Healthcare in Turkey for Expats and Foreigners

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Understanding healthcare in Turkey is critical if you are an expat or foreigner residing in the nation. Turkey’s healthcare system is well-developed, with many English-speaking medical professionals, but it may be challenging to navigate, especially if you are unfamiliar with the language and culture.

This article about healthcare in Turkey for expats and foreigners will give you essential insights and information on several areas of the Turkish healthcare system, such as the quality of care, the cost of medical procedures, and health insurance alternatives.



The Healthcare System in Turkey

Turkey’s healthcare system is robust, with universal health insurance coverage available to all citizens and legal residents. The Ministry of Health (MOH) manages the country’s national health insurance program through the Turkish social security system governed by the Social Security Institution (Turkish: Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK).

Turkish citizens and legal residents are eligible for free health care or subsidized health services the public sector offers under this program, including primary care, outpatient clinics, and hospitals. Nonetheless, problems of equal access are evident, which are compounded, for example, by a countrywide doctor shortage.

The Ministry of Health is in charge of monitoring and managing Turkey’s healthcare system. It creates healthcare policies and regulations, advises healthcare practitioners, and guarantees the quality of medical services supplied to patients. The MOH also manages public hospitals and clinics while licensing and regulating private health services providers.

In addition to the public sector, Turkey has a well-developed private healthcare industry that provides a variety of services to both domestic and foreign patients. Private hospitals and clinics offer high-quality medical services, preventive health services, cutting-edge technology, and individualized attention. All inhabitants, including expatriates and foreigners, must have health insurance, which may be bought through private insurance firms.

Generally, hospitals in Turkey are well-developed and comprehensive, offering high-quality care to all inhabitants, thanks to MOH monitoring and the SGK’s universal insurance coverage.

Universal Health Insurance in Turkey

The following benefits are included in Turkey’s Universal Insurance coverage:

Outpatient services– include doctor appointments, specialist appointments, and laboratory testing.

In-patient care– hospitalization, operations, and emergency treatments.

Medications– the National Health Insurance program covers the cost of prescription medications.

Pregnancy and childbirth– Turkey’s Universal Health package covers prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care.

Rehabilitation– In Turkey, Universal Insurance provides rehabilitation therapies for people who had surgery or were injured. 

healthcare in Turkey

The monthly cost for this insurance in Turkey for expatriates varies according to income level and other criteria, but it is typically almost 2 percent of the monthly minimum wage. The minimum salary in Turkey in 2021 was 3,577 TRY per month. As a result, the monthly premium for Universal Health Insurance for foreigners in Turkey was roughly 71 TRY or around $9.43.


How to apply for universal health insurance in Turkey?

You must have health insurance coverage as an expat in Turkey. If you are a legal resident of the country, you can apply for this insurance through the Turkish Social Security Institution (SGK). The following are the processes to apply for universal health insurance as a foreigner in Turkey:

Get a resident permit: A residence permit is required before applying for universal health insurance. You can apply for a residency permit at your city’s Provincial Directorate of Migration Management.

Register with your local SGK office: You must register with your local SGK office. To register, you must provide your residence permit, passport, and tax identification number (TIN).

Select healthcare provider: You can select a healthcare provider when registered with the SGK office. You can obtain healthcare services from any of the public hospitals or clinics that are part of the universal health insurance scheme.

Pay your premiums: You must pay universal health care coverage premiums. Your income level and other criteria will determine your premium amount. You can pay your premiums online, through bank transfer, or at your nearest SGK office.

Get your health insurance card: You will receive your health insurance card when you have paid your premiums. This card entitles you to free or discounted healthcare services at public hospitals and clinics participating in the national health insurance scheme.

Universal Health Insurance

Private Health Insurance in Turkey

Private health insurance in Turkey is a choice for those who want to obtain private medical treatment and services in addition to what the public health system provides. Private insurance providers offer a variety of policies with varying degrees of coverage, premiums, and perks.

The Insurance Supervisory and Regulatory Authority (SDDK) regulates private health insurance policies in Turkey and must adhere to specific standards and rules. 

These health insurance policies encompass more medical procedures and health services than public health. In many nations, typical treatment procedures covered by private insurance include outpatient treatment, in-patient care, emergency care, prescription medication, maternity care, mental healthcare, and alternative medicine.

Private health insurance in Turkey can supplement the coverage provided by the Social Security Institution (SGK), the state health insurance scheme that covers all Turkish citizens and permanent residents. Private health insurance plans can offer additional benefits and options for medical care and health services beyond what is provided by the SGK.


Family Healthcare in Turkey

In Turkey, Family Health Care Centers (Aile Sal Merkezleri or ASM) are primary care centers that provide basic healthcare to the local population. They are administered by the Ministry of Health and are part of the state health system.

In Turkey, Family Health Care Centers provide various healthcare services, such as preventive care, evaluation, therapy, and recovery. ASM provides the following typical services:

General health checks: ASM offers available health exams, which include physical evaluations, blood tests, and screenings for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension.

Immunizations: ASM provides a variety of vaccines for infants and adults, including influenza, hepatitis, and measles vaccinations.

Maternal and child health services: These are provided by ASM, including pregnancy and postnatal treatment, family planning, and child health check-ups.

Chronic disease management: ASM provides therapy and control for chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma.

Minor surgeries: ASM offers minor surgical treatments such as wound suturing, cutaneous lesion excision, and biopsy.

Rehabilitation: ASM offers recovery services such as physiotherapy and vocational therapy.


Costs of Healthcare in Turkey for Foreigners

Foreigners’ healthcare costs in Turkey can differ based on the sort of treatment and the medical facility. Private healthcare services in Turkey are typically less expensive than in many western nations, and state healthcare services are even less expensive. It is essential to note, however, that foreigners who do not have Turkish state or private health insurance may be forced to pay for medical care out of pocket.

For example, a medical visit with an expert may cost 100-150 Turkish lira ($12-18 USD), whereas a dental check-up may cost 80-100 Turkish lira ($10-12 USD). The expense of medical treatment, on the other hand, can differ significantly based on the sort of service and medical facility. 

Medication, Pharmacies, and Health Services in Turkey

In Turkey, pharmacies are known as “eczane” and can be located in most neighborhoods and cities. In Turkey, pharmacies are strictly controlled and must be registered by the Ministry of Health. They are manned by certified pharmacists who can provide medication and over-the-counter product information.

health care in turkey

Prescription medications in Turkey can only be purchased with a legitimate prescription from a registered Turkish practitioner. Except for some over-the-counter drugs accessible without a prescription, prescription medications are generally unavailable for purchase online or over the counter.

Turkey’s pharmaceuticals stock a wide variety of brand-name and generic medicines. Pain relievers, cold and flu medicines, and antihistamines are some of the Turkish pharmacies’ most prevalent over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.


Getting an Appointment or in Case of Emergency

Patients may need to schedule an appointment with public medical centers by calling 182 or visiting the facility. Patients can walk in and see a doctor without an appointment sometimes, but waiting periods can differ and may be longer.

People can dial 112, Turkey’s emergency medical services line, in an emergency. The operator will inquire about the location of the emergency and will send the necessary medical professionals to the scene. It is essential to remember that emergency medical services are provided free of charge to all citizens of Turkey, regardless of insurance status.

Patients can also attend a Family Health Care Center (Aile Sal Merkezi or ASM) for primary healthcare services for non-emergency medical problems. Patients can receive treatment without an appointment, and ASM sites are situated in most of Turkey’s neighborhoods and cities.


Alternative Medicine in Turkey

In Turkey, alternative medicine techniques such as herbal remedies and natural products are accessible, including Lokman, an ancient medicine that uses herbs and natural products. Despite the fact that there is little scientific proof to back the use of Lokman remedies, they are still extensively used, especially in rural regions.

Patients should be cautious when pursuing Lokman practitioners and confer with their primary care physician before engaging in alternative medicine practices to ensure they are safe and successful. Public or private health insurance policies may not support alternative medicine practices in Turkey. The expense of these remedies can differ significantly based on the practitioner and the type of treatment used.

Turkey Healthcare

Conclusion

Turkey is a common expat location, and the country’s healthcare system plays a significant role. Turkey has public and private medical institutions, and healthcare costs are comparatively low compared to other nations. Expats can obtain healthcare through public or private insurance policies, and the standard of treatment is usually satisfactory.

Furthermore, Turkey provides alternative medicine practices such as Lokman, but patients should use prudence and confer with their primary care physician before engaging in these practices. Overall, Turkey’s healthcare system offers expats a wide variety of services. Its dedication to offering affordable, high-quality healthcare makes it an appealing destination for those seeking high-quality medical treatment or planning to live there long term.


Frequently Asked Questions about Healthcare in Turkey for Expats and Foreigners

Is healthcare good in Turkey?

In general, healthcare in Turkey is excellent, with a mix of state and commercial providers.


Does Turkey have good hospitals?

Turkey has a number of excellent institutions, both state and private.


How much does healthcare cost in Turkey?

Healthcare expenses in Turkey may be cheaper than in many other nations, depending on the therapy and the provider.


Is the medical treatment expensive in Turkey?

Medical care in Turkey can be expensive, particularly in private institutions, but it is usually less expensive than in many other developed nations.


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