International healthcare, medical insurance in Prague


Medical Insurance is both a practical and necessary concern. If the worst is to happen, it is vital you are protected. The Czech Republic also requires foreigners to have medical insurance for the duration of their stay. In addition, issuance of visas is contingent upon having approved health insurance.

Basic health insurance in the Czech Republic is extremely inexpensive. However, that coverage may be inadequate if disaster does occur so pay accordingly. Unfortunately, signing-up for foreigners can be difficult. Almost all forms are in Czech and it is unlikely anyone at the offices will speak anything but Czech. It may be in your best interest to bring along a friend to translate if you are not 100% comfortable with your language skills.

State Insurance

Until 1948, Czechoslovakia had a Bismarckian health protection system. Following the fall of communism in 1992, a new social security system was introduced.

Vseobecna zdravotni pojistovna Ceske republiky (General Health Insurance Company of the Czech Republic) or VZP has more than 6.5 million clients. VZP is also accustomed to dealing with foreigners and has offices throughout the Czech Republic. The private firm Hamilton Hudson has recently signed a contract with VZP, whereby it will act as an exclusive agent selling VZP policies to English-speaking foreigners.

Under Czech law, you must be covered by VZP if you have permanent residence or are working for an employer that has a registered business address in the Czech Republic.

    Steps to Gain Coverage with VZP
  1. Go to the VZP office (Vitezne namesti 9, Praha 6) to collect your physical exam form
  2. Go to local hospital/medical center for a medical exam with the VZP paperwork. Bring your passport and ask about a fee. Take receipt
  3. Pick up your exam results. usually takes about 1 week
  4. Take your results, exam receipt, passport and the amount that you are required to pay according to age and sex group to the insurance office
  5. Give all documents to the broker. She/he will then give you a receipt, which you take to the GE Capital Bank where you must pay for your 6-month or 1 year insurance.
  6. Go to the bank pay the amount and then return to the insurance office with the receipt of payment
  7. At the insurance office, turn in your receipt to pick up your insurance
  8. Make at least 2 photo copies of your insurance. Keep 1 with you, and save another in a safe place

General Practitioners have a contract with one of the health insurance companies. You should check which your insurance to find a doctor in your plan. If you have to visit a doctor who has a contract with a different healthcare company, your provider will reimburse the doctor for any costs involved. This is only in the case of emergency care. Public healthcare does also not provide for private clinics.

In the past, VZP has offered much less coverage for visitors or people in the Czech Republic on visas. This changed with the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the European Union. Now, even temporary residence (prechodny pobyt) allows you to enjoy the same care as Czech citizens.

Employer Insurance

As a benefit, private insurance may be offered through the employing company. This may or may not require you to pay into the system (which would be automatically deducted from your salary). Most companies arrange to contribute to the national scheme with VZP.

Private Insurance

If you prefer to set-up your own insurance, there are many companies to choose from. Note that is you work for a large international or Czech company, you may have to contribute to the Czech system, even if you don't use it.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is intended to cover medical expenses incurred while travelling. It does tend to be less inclusive than insurance offered by insurance companies. Travel insurance often offers coverage for a variety of travellers including business, students, travellers, and more.

Update 27/01/2011


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