Deadline for changing health insurance provider looms in Czechia

You can only change health insurance providers twice per year, and people in Czechia have until the end of September to start the process. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 25.09.2023 11:13:00 (updated on 25.09.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Clients looking to change their health insurance providers in the Czech Republic have until next Saturday to make a switch. This impending deadline has prompted insurance companies to engage in extensive advertising and outreach efforts at public events to attract potential customers. Individuals are permitted to change their insurance provider only once a year, and this year thousands of clients are exploring their options.

Three-month notice needed for switch

There are two designated periods for switching insurance companies, starting on Jan. 1 or July 1. However, an application must be submitted at least three months in advance. As a result, those wishing to switch on Jan. 1, 2024, must act promptly before the end of September. 

The motivation behind switching insurance companies often has to do with the appeal of more attractive preventive health programs and contributions from alternative insurers. According to the President of the Association of Health Insurance Companies of the Czech Republic Ladislav Friedrich, when it comes to one's healthcare, the impetus to change insurance companies is typically minimal.

The end of the VZP monopoly for non-EU foreigners in Czechia also means that thousands more people will be “shopping” for the best possible health insurance deal.

Some insurance providers attract clients with additional services, such as assistance in finding suitable doctors or scheduling appointments, which are common challenges in accessing healthcare.

Health insurance coverage set to increase

Many insurance companies are reporting increased interest in preventive programs compared to the previous year. In 2022, over 2 million insured individuals applied for support, with contributions for dental hygiene and sports activities being among the most sought-after benefits. VZP, the largest health insurance company in the country, paid out a quarter more contributions in the first half of the year compared to the same period in the previous year.

The allowance for dental hygiene is currently CZK 500, with potential increases on the horizon. Other offerings include contributions for children's stays and substantial support for diabetics, with VZP offering up to CZK 6,000.

Various insurance companies are also focusing on sports-related benefits. Some reimburse adults up to CZK 700 for regular physical activities, including swimming, and offer contributions for vaccinations, both for children and adults.

For a comparison of different health insurance companies, their prices, and what they offer, see this website (Czech only).

In addition to individual benefits, some insurers extend support to families. The Health Insurance Company of the Ministry of the Interior, for example, offers contributions to both individuals and families, allowing a family of four to earn up to CZK 32,000 in individual contributions.

While VZP held the majority of insured individuals last year – over 6 million in total – other insurers like the Health Insurance Company of the Ministry of the Interior and the Czech Industrial Health Insurance Company also have a substantial number of clients.

In terms of finances, health insurance companies recorded income of nearly CZK 433 billion last year, with expenses approximately CZK 5 billion lower. For the next year, insurance companies anticipate that the public health insurance system will manage more than CZK 489 billion, with around CZK 151 billion allocated from the budget for state-insured individuals, such as students and pensioners.

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