Turkey has a high number of accredited healthcare institutions that are accessible to both residents and tourists alike. Medical professionals are also very proficient in English in Turkey. In fact, the quality of healthcare in Turkey has thousands of patients from across the world traveling to the nation every year to receive the excellent treatment provided by its medical professionals.
The Healthcare System in Turkey
Healthcare services in Turkey are provided by the Turkish Ministry of Health (MOH), university hospitals, and the private sector. Anyone living in the nation, who is under the age of 65, has to be covered by a health insurance policy, regardless of whether or not they have a Turkish passport, or whether they choose the private or public healthcare system.
Foreigners with a European Health Insurance Card will not be able to use theirs as it is not operational in Turkey. However, they can get Universal Health Insurance or private health insurance. It is important to note that medical coverage is necessary to receive work permits or residency.
Universal Health Insurance in Turkey
Universal Health Insurance in Turkey, otherwise referred to as Sosyal Guvenlik Kurumu (SGK), covers most matters of health for free in public hospitals, including emergencies, illnesses, childbirth, and fertility treatment.
Sometimes even dental care services are covered by Universal Healthcare, and certain discounts are offered at private hospitals. You’ll only have to partially cover some of the cost of certain prescription drugs and outpatient services.
How can you apply for Universal Health Insurance?
Anyone who has lived in Turkey for an entire year becomes eligible for SGK and can register for it at any social security center in the country. There are around 600 centers, so it should be easy. Medical care under this policy can be accessed for a monthly fee of around €47 to €66 on average and can include coverage for your spouse and children under 18. You may contact the local application centers for healthcare for more details regarding the policy.
Healthcare benefits covered by SGK include:
- Outpatient and inpatient services
- Occupational accidents and diseases
- Pregnancy, childbirth, or other related health expenditures
- Discounts in private clinics and hospitals
- Treatment of infectious diseases
- Preventive health services
Private Health Insurance in Turkey
While public healthcare services cover a wide range of treatments, foreigners and residents often prefer to have private health insurance, as it offers more benefits than SGK. You can access the highest quality of care and have shorter waiting times and fewer unexpected expenses through private healthcare. You will also find more English-speaking medical professionals in a private hospital.
Healthcare benefits covered by private insurance include:
- Medical and diagnostic examination costs
- Hospitalization costs – room, meals, hospital beds, etc.
- Medication costs
- Hospital services – operation, radiology, anesthesia, microbiological tests, imaging tests, postoperative physical therapy, organ transplantations, etc.
- Medical treatments for less than 24 hours – food poisoning, IV drips, simple burns
- Treatments in intensive care
Benefits provided under the private health care system may vary depending on the policy of your insurance company. You may want to contact more than one company to see which offers the most coverage and the best insurance premiums.
Family Healthcare Centers in Turkey
Healthcare is quite affordable and accessible in Turkey, even for a family, and it is a reason why the nation is one of the best places to retire in Europe. The public healthcare system charges a married couple the same as an individual and treats children under 18 for free. Whereas the private healthcare system provides discounted offers, where you can expect to pay anywhere between $45 to $80 a year as a family of four.
Regardless of your choice, you can access healthcare centers in every city, town, or village, which is perfectly convenient if you’re considering buying property in Turkey. You only need to show those clinics your residency permit or passport to have a free consultation. Do note that some doctors have their own practices, and therein, their own schedules and consultation fees.
Costs of Healthcare in Turkey for Foreigners
The cost of healthcare is generally very affordable for locals and foreigners alike and is one of the reasons why the cost of living in Turkey is so low. In fact, Turkish healthcare is much more affordable in comparison to that of other countries in Europe.
Often patients from across the world prefer to seek specialist operations, hair transplants, or cosmetic surgery in Turkey than in their home country. This rise in medical tourism and patient satisfaction has only helped improve the level of medical services in Turkey.
Medication and Pharmacies in Turkey
Medication in Turkey is both cheap and accessible. You can generally go to any pharmacy for a consultation regarding your illness, and they would either prescribe you medication or refer you to a specialist to treat you.
Pharmacies in Turkey can be found on almost every street, and are open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 am to 7 pm, however, there are certain pharmacies that are open 24 hours. Depending on your insurance policy, you may only pay a small fee for your medication.
Getting an Appointment or in Cases of Emergency
To get a medical appointment in Turkey, you may call the Central Physician Appointment System on 182 and they will schedule one for you. Alternatively, you can visit a local healthcare center and wait your turn to receive treatment. Do note, that the latter option may require a longer waiting period, depending on the doctor’s availability.
In cases of emergency, treatment is free in Turkey, however, private hospitals may charge you admission costs – which will still be a lot lower than you would expect to pay in the US or UK. You may call 112 and ask for an ambulance to arrive at your location. In severe cases, you may consider calling either a public or private ambulance. Keep in mind that private ambulances tend to arrive at a faster time.
You can find a lot of alternative medicine in Turkey aside from modern-day medicine. Turkish citizens are actually known to incorporate natural treatment methods in their treatment of illnesses. They usually blend different plants and natural products together or use traditional practices such as cupping and homeopathy.
That being said, only certified physicians are allowed to practice such treatments. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the doctor or clinician is licensed.
The cost and quality of healthcare services provided in Turkey are two of the many reasons people choose to visit the nation or live in it. Not only does the Turkish population have access to incredible benefits provided by the Turkish government, including free healthcare, but they also attain a high quality of life for a low cost of living. These benefits, among other things, are why many individuals who are interested in buying property in Europe relocate to Turkey via the Turkish Citizenship by Investment program.
Frequently Asked Questions about Healthcare in Turkey
Is healthcare in Turkey free?
Healthcare is generally free under the Turkish public health system, however, you are required to make out-of-pocket payments for certain medications and consultations even in state hospitals. Private healthcare, on the other hand, requires a higher annual fee, however, it covers a lot more services and treatments.
Is the European health insurance card valid in Turkey?
The European Health Insurance Card is not valid in Turkey. This means you will have to register in the local healthcare system by either signing up for Universal Health Insurance in Turkey or private health services.