The provision of private health insurance is now a mandatory requirement, as part of the new regulations that came into effect in April of this year for foreigners applying for a residence permit in Turkey.Elvan Atalay, Güneş Sigorta Health Insurance Group’s Manager, is answering for questions regarding the scope of the requirements and the issues which should be taken into consideration.
As of last year, as part of the law for foreigners and international protection, it is now an obligation to have a private health insurance policy in order to apply for a residence permit. Can you tell us in detail who needs to have the insurance and what is the period of the policy?Actually, the law was published in April 2013 but some of the clauses did not come into effect until April 2014. One of the most important changes is the health insurance requirement for foreigners who wish to apply for a residence permit.A residence permit is necessary for foreigners who wish to stay in Turkey for longer than their visa, visa exemption period or ninety day period allows. In order to get a residence permit now, it is mandatory to have health insurance from an insurance company in Turkey. For a short term residence permit, it’s enough to get insurance for 1 year. Can you tell us about the scope of the policy and the minimum insurance requirements? The policy details, such as the minimum requirements that the insurance shall cover and the cancelation procedures, are as set out by the Undesecretariat of Treasury, Directorate General of Insurance document. According to this document, the value of in-patient treatment should be limitless if the insurance is valid for contractually bound health institutes. The limit should be a minimum of 20,000 TL for health institutes that are not contractually bound. The insured person shall be responsible for 20% of any/all in-patient treatment. Outpatient treatment shall have a minimum annual limit of 2,000 TL and the insured person shall be responsible for 40% of any/all out-patient treatments.These are the absolute minimum requirements, there are other alternative policies with will provide greater protection if desired. Where can we get a private health insurance policy? Private health insurance policies can be acquired from any of our agencies, Region Headquarters and our Head office.When buying insurance, it is important to ensure that the minimum requirements are fully covered within the policy. The minimum requirements are generally covered by every company. However, differences in costs may apply if different health institutes are covered by the policy. I would strongly recommend that this situation is fully examined, as the contracted health institutes may have different price structures and additional costs may be incurred. It is important that this is fully assessed before the policy is secured. Insurance companies, because of their risk acceptance policies, may not be in a position to insure people over a particular age or with a particular disease. In such cases, a legal letter from the insurance company outlining the reasons why cover could not be provided, should be presented to the general directorate of immigration. The immigration department will then make their decision based on all the information provided. How can health insurance be cancelled? What would happen if it was cancelled after taking the residence permit? Policy cancellations can only occur under the following circumstances: If a new private health insurance policy is put in place which covers the residence permit period in accordance with the new regulations.If the residence permit is cancelled.If a new legal document is presented which shows that the person is legally bound to General Health Insurance pursuant to law numbered 5510 social security and general health insurance law. It is not permitted to cancel a private health insurance policy that has been provided as part of a residence permit application. Any policy cancellation for whatever reason must be notified to the Ministry of Internal affairs general directorate of Immigration immediately