What is health insurance for foreigners and who needs it?

Health insurance options for foreigners have expanded following legislative amendment. Here's what you need to know.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 29.05.2024 17:00:00 (updated on 27.05.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

This article was written in cooperation with MAXIMA pojišťovna, a.s.. Read more about our partner content policies here.

The Act on the Residence of Foreigners in the Czech Republic was amended last year, bringing an end to Pojišťovna VZP’s monopoly and allowing foreigners to choose which health insurer they’d like coverage with, explains Roman Jandík, director of the retail department of Maxima pojišťovna.

We have pulled together a list of the most frequently asked questions about who needs commercial health insurance and how to choose the best plan.

Do all foreigners residing in the Czech Republic have to be insured?

Yes. Foreigners have the option to choose from two types of insurance: public health insurance or commercial health insurance. Czech public health insurance applies to people, regardless of nationality, who have permanent residency in the Czech Republic. It also applies to people who do not have a permanent address in the Czech Republic but are, for example, employed by a company based in the country.

If a person does not meet any of these conditions, they are obliged to take out commercial health insurance. Both types of insurance are acceptable for visa purposes.

What health insurance is available to foreigners?

If you do not fall into one of the categories of foreigners with access to public health insurance – access based on employment, permanent residency or as a child under the age of 18 – you will need to take out commercial insurance.

Health insurance for foreigners is intended for people who are not covered by the public health insurance system of the Czech Republic.

There are two distinct groups: People planning a short-term stay of up to 90 days or people planning a long-term stay of more than 90 days.

Foreigners are covered by two types of commercial health insurance. The first type is basic insurance covering necessary and urgent health care during a stay of up to 90 days – so-called travel insurance – for holidays and tourist trips. The second type is comprehensive health insurance for people planning a long-term stay of more than 90 days.

What should you know before choosing an insurance company?

When purchasing commercial health insurance, it is important to carefully read and understand all terms and conditions. You should also compare benefits and access to local healthcare facilities.

Commercial health insurance companies issue insurance cards the same way public health insurance companies do. If you did not receive an insurance card, you can use the health insurance contract and proof of payment instead.

An insurance card or a health insurance contract with proof of payment both act as proof that you have valid health insurance in the Czech Republic. You should always have these documents with you in case you need medical help or are checked by the foreign police.

As of Sept. 20, 2023, the minimum coverage limit per claim is required to be EUR 400,000 excluding the deductible part.

A sample offer

Maxima offers two types of comprehensive insurance – Standard and Exclusive – which differ mainly in the scope of insurance coverage.

The Standard variant, which meets the legal requirements, provides insurance coverage limits of up to EUR 400,000 and covers medical expenses within the Schengen area up to EUR 30,000.

The Exclusive variant has an increased limit of insurance coverage totaling EUR 600,000. This option covers medical expenses within the Schengen countries up to EUR 100,000 and covers pre-existing health risks.

The MaxCare program with a limit of CZK 3,000 can be added onto your plan. It supports, for example, optional vaccinations, plastic surgery, hormonal contraception and aids for the disabled, as defined by the General Insurance Conditions.

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