This guide looks at short-term health insurance in Turkey (travel insurance), as well as health insurance for residents – going over options for state insurance and private insurance.
Will I be able to obtain health insurance in Turkey?
Fortunately, there are now many more products on the market than there were ten years ago. Just as fortunately, many offer good cover. Even better, many do so at a very reasonable cost.
Will Turkish health insurance cover my needs?
You will need to be clear about your requirements. You will also need to make full disclosure of your medical condition to the insurance company. If you don’t, they are very likely to refuse to make a payment.
In this field, each case is very different: particularly if you have an existing medical condition.
Can I keep my Turkish health insurance going for the rest of my life?
Always check to see whether you have an automatic right to renew the insurance – even if you are taken seriously ill. Fewer than half of available policies give you this. Of course, if you are taken ill you can expect your premium to increase, possibly substantially.
What will Turkish health insurance cost?
It all depend upon your individual circumstances and what kind of cover you choose.
Health insurance as a tourist to Turkey
You should always get this.
Unless you are travelling within an area where there is reciprocal recognition of healthcare rights (such as within the European Union or in Australia & New Zealand) you really should have health insurance.
This applies for even the shortest trip abroad. Disaster can strike at any time and it doesn’t make any difference that you were only going to be in the country for two days when it comes to the (often horrendous) cost of medical treatment after, say, a car crash or heart attack!
Even if you are travelling within an area (such as the EU) – where (as a fellow EU citizen) you will have full cover for urgent and emergency treatment – it is still a good idea to have health cover. It can cover you for a lot more than the automatic cover that you enjoy.
For example, it could cover the cost of repatriation by air ambulance if you suffer serious injuries and cannot otherwise travel. Repatriation from Turkey to the UK will cost you about €5,000!
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is not valid in Turkey. The EHIC scheme allows travellers to access to state-provided health care within member countries, so visitors are entitled to the same medical treatment that citizens of participating countries could expect to receive. Turkey is not part of the EHIC group of countries. Make sure you always have adequate travel health insurance and access to sufficient funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment in Turkey and the possible cost of repatriation.
If you need to make a claim, you must notify the insurance company at the earliest possible moment: certainly before you start authorising major items of expenditure. The best insurance companies will then take over responsibility for direct payment to the doctor or hospital in Turkey, but not all companies do so. Those companies may expect you to make some or all payments and then recover the money from them.
Is Turkey counted as part of Europe for travel insurance?
If you are buying Europe-wide travel insurance, make sure that Turkey is covered. While some companies treat Turkey as though it is part of Europe, other travel insurers class it as a ‘worldwide’ destination – so it’s vital that you check.
I have travel insurance or private health insurance at home – do I still need health insurance in Turkey?
Health insurance as a tourist is often packaged into a broader travel insurance policy, covering not just the cost of healthcare but also lost baggage, delay to your flights etc.
Alternatively, you may already have private health insurance in your own country. Check that it covers you for travel to Turkey and for some of the crazy things you might want to do whilst you are there. Many policies exclude ‘dangerous activities’ such as diving, paragliding – and a night on the town with my husband!
Do I need health insurance for other (non-tourist) short-term visits?
Short visits for business and other purposes are usually covered by your tourist policy, but check to make sure. As Turkey is not a member of the EU, an EU emergency medical card (The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)) is of no use here.
What healthcare insurance do I need for a long trip to Turkey?
Many annual multi-trip travel policies limit the length of any one trip, typically to 30 days. If you want to travel to Turkey for longer, make sure your policy permits this.