The Czech Republic is a modern and developed nation in eastern Europe that is well known for its tech industry. The nation successfully reshaped itself after emerging from behind the Iron Curtain.
Prague is a lovely city with majestic architecture and a vibrant cultural life. Also, the nation enjoys a less extreme climate during winter than Germany or Scandinavia, making it quite easy to live in. It is also not as chaotic as Italy or Greece.
Before you relocate to the Czech Republic, you need to purchase expatriate medical insurance. The nation has successfully implemented an efficient public healthcare system, but it is always good to have a backup.
Czech Public Healthcare System – A Shining Example
The Czech Republic was rebranded in 1993 (after the fall of communism), and though a young nation, it has succeeded quite well in implementing a public healthcare program. Its standard of healthcare is one of the finest in the European Union, and it consistently receives praise from the World Health Organization.
The Czech public healthcare system is mandatory and participation-based. Like the rest of the EU, healthcare is free. The cost is met through taxation and budget provision. An employee has to remit about 9% of his income, and the remaining 4% is handled by the employer.
Foreign nationals who live and work in the Czech Republic are required to buy state-based health insurance. Some employers may be willing to contribute the entire required amount.
The state health insurance system is broken into nine zones with an insurance regulatory body for each zone.
Upon arrival, you have to register yourself with a local GP. Their service is free and paid for by the state. With their referral, you can visit specialists in Prague hospitals. The Czech Republic being a rather small country, most of the specialized hospitals are centered around Prague.
Czech Private Healthcare System – Expensive But Effective
Like almost all other EU nations, though the public healthcare system is the main avenue for seeking medical treatment, there is a thriving private sector, too.
There are quite a few private hospitals and clinics in Prague. They treat not only Czechs but also wealthy Ukrainians, Romanians, and even Russians. The personal camaraderie between old Soviet satellite states is alive and well in modern Europe.
The standard of care is exceptional, and most doctors at these facilities are trained in neighboring Germany and Austria.
However, this level of care comes at a rather steep price. But private healthcare is meant only for the upper middle class throughout much of Europe.
Czech Expatriate Health Insurance – A Must-Have for Expats
Though the Czech public healthcare system is excellent, there is a flaw that plagues all state healthcare models. There are never enough doctors and a long waiting period for any non-essential surgery. Obviously, this also includes dental care.
Though it is not as bad as Greece, you would have to wait at least a week for an appointment and a couple of months for non-essential surgery.
Private health insurance is essential if you are an expat. But do you know what factors to watch out for when buying a plan? Here, we share a short guide.
- Geographical Area – The Czech Republic is a small country. You would likely be spending weekends in neighboring countries like Austria or Greece. It makes little sense to buy travel insurance every month. A good expat health insurance policy would serve you in several countries at the same time. You could roam about all of Europe without any worry.
- Translation – When you fall ill in a foreign land, your first worry is whether you should stay or return to your home country. How do you make this decision? Usually, you would depend on test reports. But if you can't read Czech and are unable to have a conference with doctors, how can you make this crucial decision? This is why it is best if your insurance policy allows translation at no extra cost. You get to have complete information in order to reach a resolution you won't regret.
- Not Covered Charges – There is a common misconception that medical insurance pays for everything. Yes, it does. But it omits small items such as injection syringes – so-called throwaway products. These cost very little, and clients do not mind. But if you have been hospitalized for a long period, the cost of diapers, molly sheets, syringes, IV cannula, and other assorted items adds up to a considerable sum. Scrutinize this part of the policy and ask the insurer to allow you some leeway.
- Sub-Limits – In some insurance plans, the whole insurance amount is not yours to spend as you please at the hospital. It is subdivided into categories like bed charges, ICU charges, doctor fees, physiotherapy, operating room rent, and so on. You get to spend all of your allotted insurance, but broken across broad categories. For example, your daily bed charges can amount to no more than 1-2% of your total insurance sum. Seek to have a larger sub-limit. These smaller details are essential to negotiate.
- Critical Illness – You may or may not need critical illness coverage such as cancer and stroke treatment, depending on your age and general health. Of course, this add-on is the most expensive, since treatment is quite costly. The best path is to evaluate your health in your home country through a visit to a doctor, and based on your risk profile, buy critical illness coverage if needed. This is a balanced approach.
Remain in Good Health with Expat Health Insurance
In spite of the brief description above, it is not at all difficult to buy Czech Republic expat health insurance. All you have to do is enter some basic information, compare several policies, and select the plan that best fits your needs.
Select the plan you want along with any necessary add-ons, and you are well set to enjoy life as an expat in the Czech Republic.