Czech lower house scraps VZP monopoly on foreigners' health insurance

The Senate claims that the monopoly, which took effect during the previous lower-house term, likely violated European law.


Written by ČTK Published on 12.07.2023 16:45:00 (updated on 12.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The long-standing monopoly held by Pojištovna VZP in providing health insurance for foreign residents in Czechia will likely come to an end. The Czech parliament's lower house, known as the Chamber of Deputies, voted today to remove the monopoly and pass the draft bill to the Senate for additional deliberation.

The lower house of the Czech parliament has approved a bill, initially proposed by the Senate, that increases the minimum health insurance coverage for foreigners with long-term residence in Czechia to EUR 400,000. This amount significantly exceeds the Senate's recommendation of at least doubling the coverage to EUR 120,000.

The lower house pushed through during a previous term the five-year monopoly of the Pojištovna VZP company, a subsidiary of the Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP) on commercial insurance for foreigners with long-term residence in Czechia.

In addition to the Senate, the ministries of the Interior and Health, the Czech Insurance Association (ČAP), and the Chamber of Commerce (HK ČR) opposed it. Under the current law, commercial health insurance could be offered by subsidiaries of any health insurance company after five years.

Proponents of the monopoly argued that it was necessary in order for doctors to avoid treating foreigners who arrive to work in Czechia without coverage and can't pay for services.

A new registry will be created

The Senate proposal calls for the creation of a register of health insurance for foreigners, which would be administered by the Czech Insurers’ Bureau (ČKP). In addition to including selected data on commercial health insurance for foreigners, the registry would be accessible to healthcare institutions and, if necessary, the police.

The amendment should allow foreigners to terminate their contract with Pojištovna VZP within three months and to insure themselves with the insurance company of their choice.

Additionally, insurance companies will have to renew travel health insurance for insured persons who wish to do so. This is to prevent situations where a sick foreigner remains uninsured on Czech territory.

The Czech Insurance Association welcomed the result of the vote in the lower house. "We believe that thanks to the abolition of the monopoly of the Pojištovna VZP company, the market conditions in the insurance of foreigners will be leveled out and clients will once again have a choice and thus a better quality service," ČAP director Jan Matoušek said.

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