How to Enroll in the Public Healthcare System in Turkey

A primer on how to enroll in the public healthcare system in Turkey.
How to Enroll in the Public Healthcare System in Turkey

If you’re planning to enroll in the public healthcare system in Turkey, this article covers the requirements for foreigners to be able enroll in the public healthcare system, the steps involved and more.

The public healthcare system in Turkey is known as the General Health Insurance (GHI) system, managed by the Social Security Institution (SGK). The system is designed to provide comprehensive healthcare services to all residents in Turkey, including foreigners who meet certain eligibility criteria. The quality of healthcare in Turkey is generally high, with many hospitals and clinics equipped with modern facilities and staffed by well-trained medical professionals. The cost of public healthcare is relatively low compared to many other countries, making it an attractive option for many residents.

Enrollment in the GHI system is mandatory for all residents in Turkey, including both Turkish citizens and foreigners. The majority of people in Turkey use the public healthcare system, although some also choose to supplement it with private health insurance for additional coverage or for services not covered by the GHI system.

Eligibility for Foreigners

Foreigners are eligible to enroll in the GHI system if they have been legally residing in Turkey for at least one year, excluding time spent on a tourist visa. They must also not be covered by social security in their home country or any other country.

Steps for Enrolling in the Public Healthcare System

  1. First, you will need to obtain a residence permit from the Turkish government. This can be done by applying at the local immigration office in your area.
  2. Next, you will need to register with the Social Security Institution (SGK). This can be done at any SGK office. You will need to bring your residence permit, passport, and proof of address.
  3. Once you have registered with the SGK, you will need to apply for General Health Insurance (GHI). This can be done at the same SGK office. You will need to fill out an application form and provide any additional documents requested by the SGK.
  4. After your application has been processed and approved, you will be issued a health insurance card. This card will allow you to access healthcare services at public hospitals and clinics.

It’s important to note that there may be a waiting period before you can start using your health insurance, so it’s a good idea to apply as soon as possible after obtaining your residence permit.

Alternative Options

If you are not eligible for the GHI system or if you prefer to have additional coverage, you may choose to purchase private health insurance. There are many insurance companies in Turkey that offer a wide range of health insurance plans, so you can choose one that best fits your needs and budget. Private health insurance can provide faster access to specialists and private hospitals, and may cover services not included in the GHI system.

Overall, the public healthcare system in Turkey provides a solid foundation of healthcare services for residents. By understanding the enrollment process and your options, you can ensure that you have access to the healthcare services you need while living in Turkey.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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