Health insurance prices for foreigners in the Czech Republic are on the rise

After warnings that a new regulation on foreigners’ insurance could cause an unhealthy monopoly, prices are already rising.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 11.10.2021 19:00 (updated on 11.10.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

As a result of an amendment to the Act on Health Insurance for Foreigners passed by the Czech parliament earlier this year, all third-country nationals staying in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days to work or study can only be insured with Pojišťovna VZP.

Back in July, Expats.cz reported on how this change could negatively affect foreigners living in the Czech Republic, causing a potentially harmful monopoly while resulting in instances of discrimination.

Now, the new system is leading to a cancellation of discounts, meaning higher prices for foreigners living in the Czech Republic.

PVZP’s monopoly over the foreigners’ insurance market will last for the next five years. Only two months after the change in the regulations, insurance for foreigners is already becoming more expensive.

Idnes.cz reported that companies helping foreigners process visas are reporting the reduction or cancellation of discounts from PZVP. One company said the annual insurance for an adult in the 15 to 44 age bracket has increased from CZK 42,050 in July, to CZK 48,640 today: the result of lowered discounts from the insurance provider since the regulation came into effect.

The amendment was introduced due to concerns that foreigners were taking out cheap and unreliable insurance policies which did not cover costs for necessary treatment. This situation was detrimental for both foreigners with inadequate policies, and hospitals giving treatments without being paid by insurance providers. Since 2000, the University Hospital in Prague Motol has given treatments for which it is owed around CZK 50 million from foreigners, while the University Hospital in Brno is owed CZK 7.4 million due to lack of payments from unscrupulous providers.

“Human lives were being gambled with in the foreigners’ insurance market, so the state intervened. For example, it now requires a wide range of healthcare provision with a sufficient network of healthcare facilities,” said Klára Bílá from PVZP's press department.

Critics quickly pointed out the dangers of the new PVZP monopoly, though. News that discounts for foreigners are now being cut back seem to suggest such fears were indeed justified, although the provider denies it is limiting the provision of insurance for third-country nationals.

“PVZP has increased the limit for basic comprehensive care to CZK 2 million crowns without raising the price of the insurance. Only discounts have been removed,” said Bílá.

The introduction of the new rules for foreigners has been controversial from the very beginning. The Health Ministry, the Czech Insurance Association and the Chamber of Commerce argued that the regulation would result in a monopoly. Others have noted that, with health insurance a prerequisite of remaining of staying in the Czech Republic, PVZP now appears to exercise de-facto control over third-country nationals‘ right to remain.

It remains to be seen whether the cancelation of discounts for foreigners is the start of more painful price hikes for foreigners living in the Czech Republic. But it appears adverse effects of the controversial change in health insurance regulations are already emerging.

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