A foreigner's guide to private health insurance in the Czech Republic

Czech law requires anyone staying in the country to have health insurance, but not everyone qualifies to receive coverage from the state.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 23.08.2021 15:54:00 (updated on 24.08.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

A new amendment to the Foreigner's Act took effect on August 2, 2021, requiring foreigners with long-term residence in the Czech Republic to buy a health insurance contract with the commercial branch of Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP), officially known as Pojišťovna VZP (PZVP), for five years.

In cooperation with PVZP, we’ve put together an FAQ with questions covering the difference between public and commercial health insurance and how this new legislation will (or won't) affect you.

What is commercial health insurance?

Commercial health insurance is a private contract between the insured person (the foreigner) and the insurance company. It is available to foreigners staying in the Czech Republic (or those applying for residence) who are not included in the public health insurance system.

Who qualifies for commercial health insurance coverage?

Foreigners staying in the Czech Republic based on a long-term visa or a long-term residence permit with the purpose of business are not included in the public health insurance system and must buy commercial comprehensive (also called “contractual”) health insurance from PVZP. That includes:

  • Foreigners with resident permit or long-term visa (for business, study, family reunification)
  • Foreigners who are self-employed
  • Third-country nationals living in the Czech Republic three months or longer

Who is not obligated to buy PVZP insurance in accordance with the new law?

The new obligation does not apply to foreigners who use public health insurance or are reimbursed for health care on the basis of an international agreement. The exemption also applies to holders of valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and GHIC (British Global Health Insurance Card) cards. EU citizens and their "close family members" are also exempted from the obligation.

What is the time frame for making this change?

For foreigners who already live in the Czech Republic on the basis of a long-term residence permit or visa, nothing will change. In cases where someone has commercial comprehensive insurance with an insurance company other than VZP, the change of the insurance company is compulsory only upon submitting an application for the extension of an existing or the issuing of a new residence permit. The same rules apply to foreigners with the status of a family member of an EU or UK citizen.

What are the different types of commercial insurance coverage available?

There are two types of commercial health insurance that concern foreigners – basic insurance covering necessary and urgent healthcare for shorter stays (also called “travel insurance”) for vacations and tourist trips, and comprehensive health insurance.

Comprehensive health insurance means that healthcare will be provided to the insured person without direct payment of costs of treatment. For comprehensive insurance for long-term stays PVZP offers Plus and Exclusive packages, which provide better coverage and are very close to what is offered by the public system.

What types of coverage does PVZP offer?

Basic – This covers the costs of necessary and urgent treatment and hospitalization at all healthcare facilities in the Czech Republic and provides necessary coverage for shorter stays of up to 90 days (Schengen Visa) and is good for both the Czech Republic and member states of the Schengen area. It can be purchased for a period ranging from 1 day to 36 months and covers payment of essential examinations and required procedures including acute dental care, outpatient medicine.

Comprehensive – This medical insurance for foreigners with longer stays corresponds with public medical insurance. It can be arranged for a period ranging from four to 60 months. It covers payment for preventative and dispensary healthcare, including care related to pregnancy and childbirth, acute dental care, outpatient medicines and medical devices prescribed by a physician, preventive examination to determine the current state of health, exams, and check-ups to determine a particular illness, and dental hygiene.

How much does private health insurance coverage cost and how do you pay for it?

Prices for insurance depend on a number of factors, including age, limit of indemnity and the duration of the policy. There are also discounts for students or for groups. Comprehensive health insurance is paid upfront for the whole agreed period (usually, for the expected period of stay). You can calculate how much you’ll pay here using PVZP’s online calculator tool.

What does private health insurance cover that public healthcare doesn't?

While clients of the PVZP and the public system receive the same care, the advantage of commercial insurance is the assistance service, where the client calls and they can get a doctor, arrange a date for treatment, guarantee payment for health care, and arrange everything necessary.

Those in the public system have to take care of these things by themselves. There are also no co-pays on medicines, for example.

Another item is a bit grim, but something that must eventually be considered for many foreigners living abroad. Private insurance must cover the repatriation and transport of the insured's remains, should they pass away while living in the Czech Republic. This is not covered by public insurance, as a Czech citizen usually would not need this service.

For comprehensive insurance contracts with PVZP, there are some benefits that are not covered by public insurance, such as optional vaccination for influenza, tick-borne encephalitis, over-the-counter drugs and vitamins, dental hygiene, and transport to the hospital, for example.

Will PVZP change its prices and policies now that the new law is in affect?

PVZP says that there will be no significant changes made to the policies offered under their Comprehensive Health Insurance for Foreigners – the scope of the insurance will remain the same and the insurance conditions won't change.

According to PVZP, however, some changes have been made to the policies to ensure that they "Deliver a high standard of protection and also meet the requirements of the recently approved amendment to the Insurance Act for Foreigners."

For the Comprehensive Foreigner's Insurance PLUS, the limit of indemnity per claim will be increased from CZK 1,800,000 to CZK 2,000,000, and the limit of CZK 3,000,000 will be discontinued. The product is extended by a health questionnaire.

For their Comprehensive Foreigners' EXCLUSIVE product, the client will now be able to choose from three options of indemnity limits for one insured event: CZK 2,500,000, CZK 4,500,000, or CZK 6,500,000. This product also applies to illnesses that the client had before the insurance and is entirely without health exclusions.

This article was written in cooperation with the PVZP. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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