The end of the VZP insurance monopoly for foreigners means more choice for consumers

We spoke to insurance experts on how the insurance market is changing for foreigners and what to keep in mind as you shop for a new policy. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.12.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 02.03.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

Earlier this year, Czech President Petr Pavel signed a new bill into law ending the monopoly of the insurance company Pojišťovna VZP (PVZP) for non-EU foreigners with long-term residence in the Czech Republic. The law came into force on Sept. 20, 2023, giving foreigners who were previously insured by PVZP three months to discontinue their policies and select a new insurer.

For many expats, it’s welcome news. As has reported in the past, some policyholders have claimed that the monopoly limited their ability to receive quality healthcare and saddled them with considerable financial burdens. The Czech Senate argued that the monopoly was inconsistent with European law.

As you wade into the brave new market of insurance shopping, here are a few key points to remember when selecting a new policy.

Prices may be lower, but you should still shop around

Now that PVZP is no longer the only game in town for non-EU foreigners with long-term residency, competition among other companies is rising—which means policy prices are dropping. 

Jan Vlček, Managing Director for the fintech Fabrika platform, stressed the magnitude of the change. “The end of the monopoly was reflected almost immediately in the price of health insurance,” said Vlček. “Prices have fallen by up to 40 percent in some age categories, and this is only due to the greater number of insurers in the market.” 

But it’s still important to keep in mind the quality and breadth of an insurer's services, Vlček advises, and to select the policy that best suits your individual needs.

What kind of foreigner's insurance do you need?

  • Necessary and immediate care – This type of coverage is intended for short-term stays (study, tourism) not exceeding 90 days. It includes only basic healthcare in emergency situations.
  • Comprehensive healthcare – This type of coverage is intended for longer stays. It covers comprehensive and preventive healthcare with a minimum statutory limit of EUR 400,00.
  • To calculate how much coverage will cost you based on the type and length of your stay use this handy online calculator.

Availability of and access to care may depend on location

There are currently six insurance companies for foreigners. These companies have all been around for more than 10 years, and all have their own benefits. All are regulated by the Czech National Bank.

Before you choose, however, keep in mind that different areas of the Czech Republic offer varying degrees of access to different insurers. Vlček advises those living in smaller towns and rural areas to stay away from smaller insurance companies to avoid potential inaccessibility.

Choosing a larger company, like AXA—the largest insurance company in the world—is a safer option for clients living outside of the major cities.

Do your research but rest assured the new law is on your side

Research is key to choosing the right insurer. But so is asking a friend or family member for a recommendation. What worked for them may work for you, too, especially if you live nearby or have similar lifestyles and needs.

Using personal experience as a jumping-off point, it’s easier to evaluate the availability, quality, and cost of the right policy. 

“I am always most interested in personal recommendations from family or friends,” Vlček added. 

But whatever you do, don’t fret about making the wrong choice. 

“The amendment to the law that abolished the monopoly from September 2023 has taken care of significantly higher coverage of medical expenses of clients,” Vlček said. “In terms of limits, it is thus no longer possible to buy a 'bad' policy.”

This article was written in cooperation with AXA ASSISTANCE CZ, s.r.o. Read more about our partner content policies here.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more