Czech Senate officially passes bill ending PVZP insurance monopoly for non-EU foreigners

The new law allows long-term non-EU residents in Czechia to take out health insurance with a range of providers. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 23.08.2023 15:00:00 (updated on 23.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czechia’s Senate has officially passed an amendment aimed at dismantling the monopoly held by the Pojištovna VZP (PVZP) insurance company over health insurance for non-EU foreigners with long-term stays in the country. This will enable foreigners to choose other health insurance providers. 

Terminate your contract within three months

If approved by President Petr Pavel, the law will likely come into force in September. The key provision of the amendment allows foreigners to terminate their existing contract with PVZP and select an insurance provider of their choice within three months of the new bill becoming law.

However, PVZP holders are not entitled to a refund of the one-off premiums they already paid. This newfound flexibility aims to provide foreign residents with greater agency over their healthcare coverage and be able to, ultimately, pay less for healthcare.

One pivotal aspect of the amendment relates to the limit of health insurance coverage. The Chamber of Deputies, in alignment with the Senate, has raised the coverage limit for foreigners with long-term Czech residence to EUR 400,000 (about CZK 9.6 million), from EUR 60,000. This step is aimed at enhancing the comprehensiveness of insurance protection, offering peace of mind to foreign residents.

The 2021 establishment of a five-year monopoly on commercial insurance by PVZP, which is part of state insurance company VZP, had been contentious and encountered opposition from various quarters, including the Senate, the ministries of Interior and Health, the Czech Association of Insurance Companies, and the Chamber of Commerce.  

"We believe that, thanks to the abolition of PVZP's monopoly, 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"

Director of the Czech Association of Insurance Companies, Jan Matoušek

Advocates for change highlighted the need to ensure medical care for foreigners arriving in the Czech Republic for work, while guaranteeing reimbursement.

Previous legal obscurity and new fairness

The monopoly's inconsistency with European law was emphasized by the Senate, lending further weight to the amendment's goals. To supplement these changes, the amendment proposes the formation of a foreigner-focused health insurance registry to be overseen by the Czech Insurers' Bureau. This registry will contain pertinent data on commercial health insurance, serving as a resource for healthcare institutions and law enforcement if required.

The Czech Association of Insurance Companies has welcomed the parliamentary approval of the amendment, anticipating a level playing field in the insurance market for foreigners.

The Czech Republic's legislative effort to dissolve the insurance monopoly for foreigners' health coverage heralds a positive shift towards enhanced options, improved quality of service, and cheaper costs. The passage of this amendment signifies the country's commitment to aligning its policies with broader European standards and fostering a more competitive insurance environment.

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