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Universal Health Insurance for Australian Citizens holding Residence Permits in Turkey
The Australian Embassy staff attended a recent briefing given by the Social Security Institution (SGK) in Ankara. During this briefing, SGK officials advised that Universal Health Insurance (UHI) is not mandatory but that foreign nationals with a residency permit (who have been resident for more than 12 months) have the right to benefit from UHI.
SGK officials also stated that foreign nationals resident in Turkey for more than 12 months will not be fined if they are registered with the SGK within 1 month after the completion of their 12 months continuous residency period. If they fail to register within the timeframe set by the SGK, then they will be subject to an administration fine which will need to be paid at the time of their registration.
Advice from SGK is that foreign nationals without UHI coverage could still receive treatment at Turkish hospitals but would need to pay the total amount for treatment themselves. We were advised that those who wish to benefit from UHI at a later date would be required to pay an administrative fine as well as the backdated contributions at the time of registration and would then be able to benefit from UHI.
According to SGK officials, the documents required for registration are :
1. Universal Health Insurance entry declaration
2. Residency permit document (after the completion of 12 months period)
3. Original or a copy of a letter written by the social security institution of the country or the Labour Attaché of the diplomatic mission stating the social security and coverage conditions. (We have sent this letter to the SGK and asked for circulation to all offices regarding Medicare's policy on not covering Australian nationals and permanent residents in Turkey)
We understand that information will also be posted about the above on the SGK website (www.sgk.com.tr) soon.
Different procedures than stated above may be applied by SGK depending on your individual circumstances. Therefore, we recommend you to inquire directly with the SGK. English-speaking operators are available on their ALO 170 central hotline number.