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15 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in Turkey

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Apr 12, 2023

Summary: The quality of medical care in Turkey is generally considered to be good, with many hospitals and clinics offering modern facilities and equipment. However, the quality of care may vary depending on the region and the specific hospital or clinic. Emergency services in Turkey are generally reliable and efficient, with ambulances responding quickly to calls. To call for an ambulance in Turkey, you can dial 112 from any phone.

How are healthcare services Turkey?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Turkey, they replied:

"Healthcare services in Turkey are provided by both public and private institutions. The public healthcare system is funded by the government and is available to all citizens and foreign residents. The quality of public healthcare in Turkey is generally good, with modern facilities and well-trained staff. Foreign residents have access to the public healthcare system, although they may need to pay a fee for certain services. Expats in Turkey can use the public healthcare system by registering with the local health authority and obtaining a health insurance card. This card allows them to access public healthcare services at a reduced cost," said one expat.

"It's is essential that you have health care insurance. Axa as far as I know is the only company that will insure you over the age of 70. This is only possible if you had had a policy with them from I believe 65 years old," remarked one expat in Istanbul.

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What are medical services in Turkey like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Turkey, they replied:

"Turkey has a well-developed healthcare system, with a wide range of medical services available. The country has a network of public and private hospitals, clinics, and medical centers that provide quality care. Many of the public hospitals are equipped with the latest medical technology and staffed by highly trained medical professionals. Private hospitals and clinics offer a range of services, including specialized care, and often provide more personalized care than public hospitals. In addition, Turkey has a number of medical tourism destinations, where people from around the world come to receive medical treatment," said one expat living in Turkey.

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Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Turkey?

"Healthcare and health insurance in Turkey can be expensive, depending on the type of coverage and services needed. Generally, public healthcare is provided free of charge, but private healthcare can be costly. Health insurance is also available, but premiums can be expensive, and coverage may not be comprehensive. Additionally, many people in Turkey are not able to afford health insurance, leaving them with limited access to healthcare," said one expat living in Turkey.

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What are emergency services like in Turkey?

When we asked about emergency services, members in Turkey wrote:

"In Turkey, emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To call for an ambulance, you can dial 112 from any phone. This number is free of charge and connects you to the emergency services. The operator will ask for your location and the nature of the emergency, and will then dispatch an ambulance to the scene," said one expat.

"There are several hospitals near where I live. These however are private ones. I myself use Baskent University hospital, which I have found very good. Also their prices are more reasonable than some of the others. The care I received there has been first class. Also there is no long waiting time if you require an operation. As for emergency services, my wife received treatment with only a short wait to see a doctor, apart from that I cannot say," remarked one expat in Istanbul.

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Will I need to travel to see a specialist?

"Istanbul is widely regarded as having the best selection of medical specialists in Turkey. The city is home to some of the country's most renowned hospitals and clinics, such as Memorial Hospital, Ac?badem Hospital, and American Hospital. Ankara, the capital of Turkey, is also home to a number of excellent medical facilities, including Hacettepe University Hospital and G├╝ven Hospital. Other cities with a good selection of medical specialists include Izmir, Bursa, and Antalya. Additionally, the coastal areas of Turkey, such as the Aegean and Mediterranean regions, are known for their excellent medical care," said an expat in Turkey.

"Before living in Istanbul I lived near Kemer with my going to Antalya for treatment. I have had two operations there and was well pleased with the medical services received," commented one expat living in Istanbul, Turkey.

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Are common prescription medications available in Turkey?

"Yes, common prescription medications are available in Turkey. Most medications can be purchased at pharmacies without a prescription, although some require a prescription from a doctor. The Turkish government regulates the sale of prescription medications, and all medications must be approved by the Ministry of Health before they can be sold. In addition, the government has implemented a system of price controls to ensure that medications are affordable for all citizens," said one expat.

"Yes. You can purchase most prescription medicines in the pharmacy's that are easily found. In general you do not require a prescription except for dangerous class drugs like morphine. The cost of medicines are far cheaper than in various other Euopean countries. I have never had a problem buying medicines here in Turkey where I have lived for over 20 years," remarked one expat in Istanbul.

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Do you have anything more to add about local medical facilities in Turkey?

"Medical facilities and medical care in Turkey are generally of a high quality. The country has a well-developed healthcare system, with a wide range of modern hospitals and clinics providing a range of services. The country also has a number of highly-trained medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and specialists, who are able to provide excellent care. In addition, the cost of medical care in Turkey is generally lower than in many other countries, making it an attractive option for those seeking medical treatment," said one expat living in Turkey.

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As a foreigner living in Turkey, will I have access to public healthcare? What is it like?

"Yes, foreigners living in Turkey have access to public healthcare. The quality of care is generally good, with many hospitals and clinics offering a wide range of services. The cost of care is also relatively low compared to other countries, making it an attractive option for those looking for affordable healthcare. Additionally, the Turkish government has implemented a number of initiatives to improve access to healthcare for all citizens, including foreigners," commented one expat living in Turkey.

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What have your experiences during the pandemic with the local healthcare system been like?

We asked expats in Turkey if they have access to public healthcare in Turkey. And, if they do have access, what is it like. They wrote...

"The pandemic has had a significant impact on the healthcare system in Turkey. The government has implemented a number of measures to ensure the safety of healthcare workers and patients, including the introduction of telemedicine services, the provision of protective equipment, and the implementation of social distancing protocols. Despite these measures, the healthcare system has been overwhelmed by the influx of patients, leading to long wait times and overcrowding in hospitals. Additionally, the pandemic has caused a shortage of medical supplies, such as masks and ventilators, which has further strained the healthcare system. Despite these challenges, the healthcare system in Turkey has been able to provide quality care to those in need," commented one expat living in Turkey.

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What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Turkey?

We asked expat moms who gave birth in Turkey about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:

"It is important to research the healthcare system in Turkey before having a baby. Make sure to find a doctor or midwife who speaks your language and is familiar with the healthcare system in Turkey. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations regarding maternity leave and childcare in Turkey. Additionally, it is a good idea to join a local expat group or forum to connect with other expats who have had babies in Turkey and can provide advice and support. Finally, make sure to take time to relax and enjoy the experience of having a baby in Turkey," explained one expat.

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Are healthcare services good in Turkey?

We asked people if they have access to good medical care in Turkey. They wrote:

"Turkey has a comprehensive healthcare system that provides quality medical services to its citizens. The country has a network of public and private hospitals, clinics, and medical centers that offer a wide range of medical services, including preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment. The government provides free healthcare to all citizens, and there are also private health insurance plans available. Turkey also has a number of specialized medical centers that provide specialized care for specific conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders. Additionally, Turkey has a number of medical research centers that are dedicated to researching and developing new treatments and technologies," said one expat in Turkey.

"Yes, there are many excellent hospitals in Turkey, with there being no waiting to see a doctor, or to have an operation. An ever growing amount of people come to Turkey for operations as the costs here are very reasonable compared to those in the UK. I personally have had two operations here with no problems at all. As I am covered by private health insurance I do not know what costs are. But have been informed by friends costs here are very reasonable. These do however, vary, especially here in Istanbul. I have found the Baskent Hospital to be excellent for both service and costs," remarked one in Antalya.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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