All You Need To Know About SGK Health Insurance

The Social Security Institution of Turkey (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu) handles the country's social security system. It was established in 2006 by the merger of several social security institutions, and it is responsible for providing health benefits, pensions, retirement and disability services, unemployment insurance, and other social security benefits to individuals, citizens, and residents of the country.

Employees and business owners in Turkey are required to make Social Security Fund contributions under the SGK system, which are computed depending on the employee's salary. These contributions are used to pay for Social Security benefits such as Medicare, retirement, disability, and maternity benefits.

SGK also provides access to medical services through the public health care system. Individuals who qualify for social security benefits under the SGK system are entitled to receive medical treatment and other health care services at no or reduced cost, depending on the type of service provided and the type of contribution and job position.

In addition to managing social security benefits, the SGK system in Turkey also plays a role in implementing labor laws and regulations and ensuring the rights of workers and employees. Business owners are required to register their employees in the SGK system and comply with various labor regulations and laws, including minimum wage requirements, rules regarding working hours and overtime, and others.

Through comprehensive health insurance, it is ensured that everyone in society receives the necessary health services in a fair, accessible, and effective way to protect them from the risk of disease, regardless of their financial situation or personal preferences.

There are several types of SGK health insurance coverage in Turkey, depending on the individual's employment status and other factors. Here are the most common types of SGK health coverage:

  1. SSK (Social Security Corporation for Employees): This type of coverage is for individuals who work as employees of a private company or organization.
  2. BAĞ-KUR (Social Security Institution for the Self-Employed): This type of coverage is for individuals who are self-employed or run their own business.
  3. Emekli Sandığı (Pension Fund): This type of coverage is for individuals who work in the government or public sector.
  4. Askeri Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (Military Social Security Institution): This type of coverage is for individuals serving in the Turkish Armed Forces.
  5. Genel Sağlık Sigortası GSS (Comprehensive Health Insurance Institution): This type of health insurance is intended for individuals who do not work in Turkey or have a simple and unstable source of income. This insurance includes the father, mother, and children up to the age of 18, and students up to the age of 24, and covers all health expenses with special coverage for treatment in most cases.

On the other hand, Tamamlayıcı Sağlık Sigortası TSS Supplementary Health Insurance is a type of private and supplementary health insurance with which people can pay for any additional costs associated with outpatient clinics and private hospitals with dedicated insurance from other health insurance companies in agreement with the SGK system.

How to obtain healthcare services in Turkey for foreigners

The Republic of Turkey's Constitution safeguards foreigners' social security rights. The Social Insurance and General Health Insurance Act addresses this issue as well, with the clause reading, "With the exception of nationals of countries with which international social security contracts have been concluded on the basis of reciprocity, that is, a bilateral social security agreement, foreign nationals are considered to be insured according to Clause 4/a (SSK)." Bilateral or multilateral social security treaties govern the signatory countries' social security rights and obligations. As a result, if you are from a nation with which Turkey has signed an agreement with, you will enjoy several mutual social security entitlements, subject to the conditions of the agreement.

Turkey has signed agreements with the following countries: Germany, Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, South Korea, Georgia, Croatia, the Netherlands, England, Iran, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, and Canada. Montenegro, Kyrgyzstan, TRNC, Libya, Luxembourg, Hungary, Macedonia, Mongolia, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Tunisia.

Note: Ambulances and emergency medical services are free of charge for foreign tourists who make a short-term visit to Turkey in private and public healthcare institutions. Even if you are not covered by any insurance, you can access health services for free in emergencies at government hospitals.

Foreign tourists who make a short-term visit to Turkey can receive emergency medical services and transportation via ambulance free of charge. However, this coverage is limited to emergency situations, and non-emergency medical services may not be covered. Additionally, if the tourist requires hospitalization or other medical treatment beyond emergency services, they may be required to pay for those services out-of-pocket or through their travel insurance. Foreign tourists are advised to obtain travel insurance that covers emergency medical expenses, including transportation and hospitalization, before traveling to Turkey or any other foreign country. This can help ensure they are adequately covered in the event of a medical emergency during their trip.

The prerequisite for obtaining a residence permit is that you have private health insurance, so before anything else, you need to make sure that you are covered for health emergencies. However, suppose you are under 18 years old and will be enrolled in a Turkish educational institution or language course, or you are over 65 years old. In this case, you do not need to get health insurance right away, but the state can cover your health expenses.

If you are 65 or older, it is highly recommended that you have supplemental health insurance, especially since 2017, when the SGK said it would not cover the costs of treatments and medications for pre-existing conditions.

Several insurance companies operate in Turkey, offering multiple health insurance plans, that differ in coverage and premiums. Just like with Genel Sağlık Sigortası Comprehensive Health Insurance (GSS), you will need to pay a monthly premium to the insurance company, and in return, you will be able to use health services for free. After obtaining the residence permit, you can apply for a GSS by canceling your previous private insurance.

When you are granted GSS comprehensive health insurance, each of your partners and kids under the age of 18, unmarried children under the age of 25 who are enrolled in a higher education institution, any unmarried children who are considered by law to be disabled regardless of their age, and your mother and father can all benefit from health services in Turkey if you are sponsoring them and can provide financial proof of this.

After living in Turkey for a year or when you start working for a company in Turkey, you will be registered in the Turkish SGK system, i.e., Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, where the SGK consists of two components: health care and social security benefits (pension, etc.). Once you enter and register with the SGK system, you are entitled to health care in Turkey, and all of your health problems, operations, and pregnancy will be covered.

Along with the application form for registration on the required type of health insurance, provide a copy of the passport and residence application, a health assessment approved by the doctor, and a proof of address paper issued by the local Population Directorate of your area (Nüfus Müdürlüğü).

Upon completion of the application process, you will be immediately eligible for Medicare. You must continue to pay the insurance premiums every month, either online or in a Turkish bank, and at each residence permit renewal, you must visit the SGK office and update your records. If you are applying with your spouse, you will be required to provide a translated and notarized copy of your marriage license and the birth certificates of your children if you are using it for them.

OmranTrk Company, which is a developer company based in Yalova, offers its customers a healthy lifestyle through residential complexes designed with the highest standards of safety and luxury, residence and Turkish citizenship services, including health insurance and health care arrangements, and other services required in preparing papers for the Turkish residence file or real estate citizenship files.

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