Health Tourism & Foreign Health Insurance in Turkey

The clinical scene in Turkey is constantly expanding. The country went under a transformation with a set of new policies regulating the medical sector. The wide variety of medical services available in Turkey, makes the country a tourist destination for 12 months.

In simple terms, health tourism is the act of travelling to a foreign country in search of a cure or a treatment. Therefore, the person who is travelling for this purpose is called a health tourist. Health tourism is not limited to just visiting the hospitals of a foreign country. Any service and treatment offering the betterment of life quality, care and a healthy life can be included in the broad category of health tourism.





We can separate health tourism into 3 main categories;

1. Medical Tourism proper: Treatments, surgeries and other operations conducted in hospitals.

2. Thermal Tourism: Rehabilitation, relaxation and recreation in thermal facilities.

3. Seniors & Disability Tourism: Long duration stays and activities in geriatric facilities or uplands with clean, natural setting.


Why do people prefer Health Tourism in Turkey?

In terms of the number of international patients, Turkey is ranked among the top 5 countries in the world. Turkey has more than 48 JCI (An international institution that certifies health care quality globally) accredited medical institutions. The country’s resilient infrastructure, easy access to medical devices and the well educated medical doctors make Turkey a key player striving for becoming the ultimate destination for health tourism.

Alongside with these factors in play, the main reasons of course include the desire to have a vacation alongside with an ongoing treatment. This not only improves the recovery period but reduces the recovery times as travelling has a positive effect on the mood of the patient. Another factor is the high quality of medical services compared to the medical services in the home country of the visitor. Turkey benefits highly from highly talented medical personnel, doctors and surgeons. This ends in a very high percentage of successful operations and happier people.

The price is also a defining factor when picking Turkey as a health tourism destination. It is not uncommon to have great discounts and promotional offers which combines certain type of operations with a holiday package as well as a real estate in Turkey. The price of which can usually be cheaper if the operation took place in the home country of a health tourist. Shorter waiting times for a procedure also plays an important role for choosing Turkey as a destination for health tourism.

Sometimes, a patient can require or want to have a certain type of operation but does not want it to be inscribed into the health records in their home country. So, when discretion is needed health tourism in Turkey can also provide secrecy and privacy for the visitors. Of course, every factor stated above has one common purpose and that is to receive a health service with better conditions. Which in the end serves to the ultimate purpose of having an overall healthier life.



Top Destinations for Health Tourism in Turkey

More than 640.000 visited Turkey for the sole purpose of medical tourism and the visits benefitted Turkey with more than 1 Billion USD. The top cities chosen as a health tourism destination was unsurprisingly Istanbul, followed by Antalya and Ankara. It is safe to say that Istanbul was not the choice of many health tourists because the city has the most valuable real estate in Turkey as well as the top-ranking medical institutions in the country. The city was chosen also for the historical and cultural value it possesses. People seeking for dental treatment & hair implant favoured Istanbul the most and because these treatments does not require mandatory bedtime in a hospital, the guests also visited the attractions of the city.

Antalya was the top choice for people looking for plastic surgery, dental treatment and eye treatment. Antalya offered the visitors a great combination of health tourism with holiday and leisure tourism. The city also is home to the top choices for foreigners acquiring real estate in Turkey.

Numerous social security institutions of foreign countries included some of the medical treatments recieved in a foreign country. So, people of one country can recieve treatment in a foreign country and their public health insurance will cover it. This aspect of the public health insurance underlines the benefits of acquiring a health insurance when travelling abroad regardless of the duration of stay.



Health Insurance for Turkey

Turkey requires every foreigner who wants to travel to or reside in Turkey to have an insurance coverage. If you are just visiting Turkey as a tourist or have a short term trip a widely available travel insurance policy will be more than enough. However, if you are planning on not just travelling but living in Turkey you must acquire a compulsory health insurance.


What is a Compulsory Foreign Health Insurance for Turkey?

According to a regulation numbered 7/2014 on private health insurance, every foreigner who wants to live in or acquire real estate in Turkey is obliged to have a private health insurance in order to their residence permits to be approved. Additionally, every foreigner who is applying for a work permit and to study in Turkey are also obliged to have a compulsory foreign insurance in Turkey. This type of insurance must cover the whole period of the permit or study period. That is why students with long study periods must renew their insurance policy annually.  


Let’s have a look at some details of the Foreign Health Insurance


What services & treatments does the Compulsory Foreign Health Insurance cover?

1.       Treatment expenses that may occur in the event of an accident and illness

2.       hospitalization expenses

3.       home care service

4.       Doctor, test, drug and physical therapy expenses

5.       Intensive care expenses

6.       Chemotherapy

7.       Radiotherapy

8.       Dialysis

9.       Endoscopy procedures

10.   Companion expenses

11.   Angiography expenses

12.   MRI and radiographic procedures

13.   Other expenses such as medical dressing and plasters


For families, if one of the spouses is a Turkish Citizen and has a public health insurance coverage (SGK) a private Compulsory Foreign Health Insurance will not be mandatory. Children aged under 18 y/o do not need a separate policy and can be included under the policy of their parents. Important to note that some procedures such as birth care and dental treatments will not be covered by this insurance but can be included if desired.

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