The Czech Republic has excellent public services, but navigating the system when you are not a fluent Czech speaker can be daunting. Brno Expat Centre aims at making the process of settling into Brno easier for foreign nationals.

Your first order of business when settling in a new country should be ensure that you are covered in case of an accident, and while rumors abound, Brno Expat Centre can provide you with the facts on how and where to get affordable health coverage.

To be insured for medical expenses is not only a legal obligation in the Czech Republic, but also a life necessity. Every foreigner who wants to stay here for more than 3 months must be medically insured. There are two types of health insurance – public and commercial.

As the public health insurance is a public service not intended for profit, it is of a much better value, as well as security for your health. There are basically no limits to the coverage of medical expenses and the insurance company cannot cancel your insurance or refuse to extend it.

This is different from commercial health insurance. This type of insurance is not under such strict public control and gives insurance companies more room to benefit from the people insured. The monthly premium could be less than with the public insurance, however, the coverage has lower limits. Doctors have more difficulties keeping the cost of medical services under the limits, and there is more paperwork to do as well. The biggest risk with commercial health insurance is that the company can ditch the policy holder when he/she becomes too expensive and not extend the insurance when requested.

Therefore, it would be more convenient to be covered by the public health insurance. Unfortunately, the current legal framework does not allow all foreigners to do that.

Candidates for the public health insurance include:

  • citizens of the CR permanently residing in the CR;
  • foreigners with EU/EEA/Swiss passport residing in the CR;
  • foreigners with the permanent residency in the CR;
  • employees whose employer is registered in the CR;
  • foreigners who have been granted asylum or supplementary protection or visa for leave.

On the contrary, commercial health insurance is mandatory for:

  • foreigners (non-EU) with a long-term visa/residency (and not employed by a company residing in the CR)
  • foreigners (non-EU) with a temporary residency of an EU-citizen family member (unless they fall into a special category and are then obliged to enter the public health insurance system)

Read more about both types of insurance in Brno Expat Centre’s infosheet “Health Insurance”, which you can find on their website. Learn how to become a participant in public insurance, as well as how and when to pay the premiums, or learn how to get a commercial policy: read about the main types and the possibilities.

This is the second article in a new series from Brno Expat Centre and Brno Daily about various aspects of living in Brno. You can look forward to a new practical written guide for expats in Brno every Thursday.

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