For expats under 65 planning to relocate to Turkey health insurance is compulsory. Without it, you won't be able to gain residency in Turkey.
If you’re over 65 you no longer have to have medical insurance in place.
The rules, as they currently stand, require any foreign citizen under the age of 65 to have health insurance if they want to have residency in Turkey.
The options open to each individual under the age of 65 are either buy your own private medical insurance or join Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK) which is the state insurance scheme category open to expatriates. You have to legally reside in Turkey for at least one year to be able to enrol.
To join SGK you have to have a health assessment, and monthly fees are fixed. They are currently 426.60 TL. This premium will cover a married couple and any dependents under the age of 18.
Note: there is no discount for a single person and couples not legally married have to pay separate premiums.
There are plenty of private insurers in Turkey and internationally which offer health insurance policies to expats as an alternative. And in Turkey, there are state and private hospitals and medical facilities. Depending on which type of insurance you opt for, you will be eligible for care at either a state or a private medical facility.
Note, however, if you take out SGK some private hospital treatment may be covered. Never assume, always ask in advance.
If you join SGK you can’t opt to unsubscribe unless you leave Turkey permanently and give up your residency.
If you’re over 65 you no longer have to have compulsory medical insurance in place in order to be able to receive or renew your residency.
This is because those responsible for introducing the entire scheme became aware that it was restrictively expensive for many over the age of 65 to get private health insurance, or even afford SGK.
If you’re over 65 and can afford to do so, join SGK. It will mean that no matter what, any health issues will be covered and you won’t be hit by spiralling costs as price increases are likely to remain within realistic and modest limits.
You can choose to pay as you go for treatment instead. However, bear in mind that a long-term, chronic or serious condition could incur seriously high costs that might become unaffordable, and leave you in an exceptionally vulnerable position at a time in your life when you can’t recover financially speaking.
What’s more, British expats are reminded that they will not be covered for such conditions by the NHS either unless they are in receipt of a state pension or qualify in other ways.
Britons relocating overseas often struggle to accept having to pay out for health insurance or health care. However, when resident in the UK every tax-paying individual funds the NHS annually via their wage packet.
Therefore, we strongly urge anyone moving abroad to accept the need to continue to cover the protection of their health by buying appropriate health insurance.