Guide to Healthcare System in Turkey for Foreigners

The Healthcare System in Turkey

This Ministry of Turkey structures Turkey's healthcare system into various plans and departments, all of which are governed by laws. Article 60 of the Turkish Constitution states that everyone has the right to get social security and health benefits. Whether citizens or foreigners, regardless of nationality, language, religion, gender, political stance, ideological belief, or social and economic rank are guaranteed by The Ministry of Health of Turkey to have access to medical care.

Each year, numerous patients from all across the globe visit Turkey for medical care. Especially it is well-known that the majority of medical tourism in Turkey centers on plastic surgery, dental work, and hair transplantation

Types of Healthcare Services in Turkey

There are two types of healthcare services in Turkey and they are private healthcare and public healthcare. The Turkish Ministry of Health is responsible for overseeing the quality of both public and private healthcare. In addition, numerous private associations, such as the Turkish Accredited Hospitals Association (TAHA), are also in charge of upholding internationally accepted standards at JCI-accredited Turkish hospitals. Due to meet these standards, both private and public hospitals are equipped with cutting-edge technology, professional staff, and contemporary facilities. Another reason that Turkey has a good healthcare system is that Turkey's healthcare profession has received training in advanced countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.

You should be aware that in Turkey the European Health Insurance Card is ineffective but foreigners and expats living in Turkey have two options for health insurance: universal health insurance or private health insurance. Therefore in order to obtain residency or work permits, you'll require health insurance.

Universal Health Insurance in Turkey

This provides most health concerns such as emergencies, pregnancy, and sickness. There is one requirement for applying for universal health insurance and that is you must live in Turkey for at least a year. After paying a negligible amount of money in a monthly fee, you can gain access to all medical services. Furthermore, if you apply for SGK your wife/husband and your children under the age of 18 can benefit from the healthcare services. This health insurance includes;Universal Health Insurance in Turkey

● Accidents and illnesses at work
● Pregnancy, childbirth, and other related costs
● Viruses and other infectious diseases
● Excluding chronic disorders, the expenditures on treatment for foreigners and their dependents
● Services for disease prevention
● Discounts on private medical services, as well as other benefits
● Outpatient and inpatient healthcare services

Private Health Insurance in Turkey

It has the same payment type that you need to pay a monthly fee to get the medical care services but compared to universal health insurance covers more extensive healthcare services such as fewer unexpected charges, shorter queues, and the finest quality of service. In addition, you may find more doctors or medical staff that can speak English rather than SGK. In order to apply for private insurance in Turkey, you must first locate a private insurance company, select the one that best suits your needs, and pay the quoted price. This type of health insurance includes;

● The cost of medication
● Expenses for diagnostic tests
● The expense of a medical examination
● All types of hospital services
● Dialysis, Chemotherapy, and radiotherapy
● During your stay in the hospital, you will not be charged for a room, a bed, a meal, and any other related charges.
● Transplantation of the cornea, kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, and lungs.
● Physical rehabilitation after surgery
● Intensive care treatments

Family Healthcare Centers in TurkeyFamily Healthcare Centers in Turkey

Every town and village also has a family healthcare center and it is commonly seen that most expats are registering in family healthcare centers in order to get free healthcare services. Access to family healthcare centers is really simple.

The only requirement is that you need to present your resident permit or passport to a consultant. Family healthcare centers are providing healthcare services by a family doctor who has a profession in basic disorders connected to internal, gynecological, child health, and mental problems, both curative and preventive health information for children, young and old people.

Cost of Healthcare in Turkey for Foreigners

In comparison to European countries, healthcare in Turkey is far more affordable. In order to get universal health insurance, you need to pay between 850 TL to 1200 TL on average. On the other hand, the average private insurance cost is between 1300 TL to 2400 TL. You should keep in mind that these average prices can change depending on your age.

Medication and Pharmacies in Turkey

Like healthcare services, medication is cheaper in Turkey. For certain medications, insurance holders do not have to pay a price. You can find numerous pharmacies in the same neighborhood and due to that medication is also more approachable. Most of the pharmacies in Turkey are open from 09:00 to 19:00 but there are always pharmacies on duty that are open 24 hours.

Getting an Appointment in Case of an Emergency

If you are in an emergency situation you don’t need to get an appointment for it. Both private and public hospitals have emergency centers that open on 7/24. In Turkey, emergency care is free, yet admission to private hospitals may be charged. If you would like to choose a family healthcare center, they are open Monday through Friday from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Also for family healthcare centers, you don't need to get an appointment but you need to wait in your queue. Call 182 to book an appointment. In case of emergency, you can call 112 for ambulance services.

Alternative Medicine in Turkey

By combining various plants and natural ingredients, Turkish people developed natural therapeutic methods. You need to be careful about alternative medicines because there are also fraudsters. That kind of medicine and treatments need to be performed by certified professionals. Despite pharmacists' extensive knowledge of medications, they are unable to manufacture them. However, they can produce medicinal products that can assist in the treatments such as creams and ointments. Thermal springs can also be found in SPA centers across the country.

FAQ About Healthcare Services in Turkey

Q: Does Turkey have a good healthcare system?
A: Both commercial and governmental hospitals are equipped with cutting-edge technology, professional staff, and modern facilities in order to satisfy international criteria. Also in Turkey healthcare professionals have received training in advanced countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.

Q: Is healthcare free for foreigners in Turkey?
A: According to Prime Minister's Circular No. 2010/16, emergency healthcare services for all persons are free, regardless of whether they are delivered by private or public healthcare organizations. As a result of that circular, foreigners who are not covered by any insurance system designed specifically for their visit can receive free medical care in the event of an emergency.

Q: Can a foreigner get health insurance in Turkey?
A: The European Health Insurance Card is not valid in Turkey, but foreigners and expats living in Turkey have two health insurance options: universal health insurance or private health insurance. Also, health insurance is required in order to get residency or work permits.

Q: How much is a medical treatment in Turkey?
A: In Turkey, medical procedures are 40-50% less expensive than in the EU and the US. For instance, nose surgery costs 6500 dollars in the UK but it is 3500 dollars in Turkey. As another example, a coronary angioplasty costs 15000 dollars in the UK while it costs only 6000 dollars in Turkey.

Q: What kind of healthcare does Turkey have?
A: There are two types of healthcare services in Turkey and they are private and public healthcare. In public healthcare services, you can benefit from universal health insurance and family healthcare centers. In private healthcare services, there are several types of private insurance depending on the age and contents.

Q: How does the Turkish healthcare system work?
A: The Turkish Ministry of Health is in charge of overseeing both public and private healthcare quality. In addition, a number of private organizations, such as the Turkish Accredited Hospitals Association (TAHA), are responsible for ensuring that JCI-accredited Turkish hospitals adhere to internationally accepted standards.

Q: Is healthcare cheap in Turkey?
A: Turkey's healthcare is far more affordable than that of European countries. On average, it costs between 850 and 1200 TL in a monthly fee to obtain universal health insurance. The average cost of private insurance, on the other hand, ranges from 1300 to 2400 TL in a monthly fee.

Q: Is health insurance mandatory for tourists in Turkey?
A: In order to obtain residency or work permits, you'll require health insurance.

Q: How much does international health insurance cost?
A: The monthly charge ranges between 850 and 1200 TL on average.

Q: Is health insurance compulsory in Turkey?
A: Health Insurance is compulsory for expats and foreigners in Turkey in order to get residency and work permits. You may be eligible to utilize your home country's insurance plan if it is compatible with Turkish law.

Q: As a foreigner, do I have to pay for a hospital in Turkey?
A: If you don’t have any health insurance such as universal or private health insurance you will be charged for medical treatment.

Q: Is Turkish healthcare good?
A: According to the Lancet Academic Journal, Turkey's healthcare system ranks 60th out of 195 countries because of the country's growing number of medical schools and specialists. Furthermore, more than 40% of Turkish medical staff have received training in advanced countries like the US and UK.

Q: Can I buy health insurance in Turkey as a foreigner?
A: Both universal and private insurances have monthly fee payment methods. An expat or foreigner must apply for one of these insurances in order to get a work permit or residency.

Note: All of the prices and numbers mentioned in this article are estimated and may vary due to time and place. Last updated: 06.05.2022