Health insurance in the Czech Republic

Professional counselling in a nutshell #3

In the last article from our professional counselling series, we will explain how does health insurance in the Czech Republic work.

This article is designed for third-country nationals residing in CZ on at least a long-term visa. 

For starters, we’d like to point out that as a foreigner residing in the territory of CZ for more than three months, you must have a health insurance subscription for the entire duration of your stay. 

Public health insurance

If you have access to public health insurance, you may utilize health care the same way as Czech nationals. You may receive treatment in any hospital and from most doctors.

1) Who has access to public health insurance?

Apart from Czech nationals, the following categories of foreigners have access to public health insurance:

  • Foreigners with permanent residence
  • Foreigners without a permanent residence, employed under an employer who is registered or has permanent residence in the Czech Republic. Only applicable if you have primary employment, agreement on performing work (DPČ “Dohoda o pracovní činnosti” with monthly income over 4000 CZK), or agreement on completing a job (DPP “Dohoda o provedení práce” with monthly income over 10 001 CZK)
  • Some foreigners with a temporary residence permit for a family member of an EU citizen, but only if certain conditions are met.
  • Starting from January 1, 2024, foreigners under the age of 18
  • Foreigners granted international protection
  • Other specific categories of foreigners

If you are unsure whether you’re eligible for public health insurance, dial +420 252 543 846 to make an appointment for our free of charge social counseling.

2) I have access to public health insurance. Which health insurance companies can insure me?

There are 7 public health insurance companies. You can find them on this link (page is in the Czech language only). The biggest and most well-known is the VZP (Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna).

3) How to prove that I have valid public health insurance?

Your health insurance company will issue a so-called insuree card, which you must always carry with you. You’ll present this card when receiving a medical check-up. Printed on this card you’ll find your not only your identification data but also the telephone number for the insurance company’s call center, which you can dial in case you’ve got questions or are experiencing difficulties. Call centers can communicate in Czech or English. 

4) Which forms of medical care are covered by public health insurance?

Public health insurance covers various forms of medical care, including preventive medical examination at a general practitioner, gynecologist or dentist, some medicaments, some medical procedures related to pregnancy and birth, some medical supplies, and/or transfer to a hospital in case of serious health complications. For a complete list of medical care covered by the insurance, click here (page is in the Czech language only).

Complex commercial insurance

Under complex commercial insurance, you’re limited to those hospitals and doctors who’ve signed a contract with your selected commercial insurance company. If you don’t find such hospitals and doctors, you may also register as a self-payer with them, i.e. pay for all medical procedures on the spot and then seek the coverage with your insurance company (in that case, it is necessary to agree on this with your insurance company in advance).

1) Who does complex commercial insurance concern?

If you do not fall under any of the categories of foreigners with access to public health insurance (e.g. access based on employment, permanent residency or, as of January 1, 2024 being a child under the age of 18), you will have to purchase commercial insurance.

If you are unsure about which type of insurance to purchase, dial +420 252 543 846 to make an appointment for our free of charge social counseling.

2) At what insurance companies may I purchase commercial insurance?

Many insurance companies are offering commercial health insurance. Some of the best known are Pojišťovna VZP, a.s., Maxima, ERGO, Axa Assistance, Slavia, Uniqa. 

3) How to prove that I have purchased commercial health insurance?

Commercial health insurance companies will issue insuree cards, just like public health insurance companies. If you did not receive an insuree card, you’ll instead use a health insurance contract and proof of payment. Insuree card or health insurance contract with proof of payment both serve as proof that you have valid health insurance in the territory of the Czech Republic. You should always carry this proof with you in case you need medical assistance or are checked by Foreign Police. 

On your insuree card or in your contract you’ll find your insurance company’s call center contact information, which you can dial in case you’ve got questions or are experiencing difficulties. You can usually communicate with them in multiple languages.

4) What health care is covered by commercial health insurance?

Commercial insurance’s health care scope depends on the limit of your insurance fee and the insurance contract. Even a more expensive complex commercial insurance is not equivalent to public health insurance, and the insurance contract usually contains a number of exclusions (i.e. cases not covered by the insurance, usually chronic illnesses or existing medical conditions).

As of September 20, 2023, the minimum coverage limit per insured event is required to be EUR 400 000 excluding the deductable part .

When purchasing commercial health insurance, it is important to carefully read and understand all terms and conditions. 

CARE: In case you’ve purchased commercial health insurance and are expecting a baby, we advise you to make an appointment for our social counseling at +420 252 543 846. Such a situation is very specific and best consulted with a professional.

Health insurance covered by government

In some cases, a person’s (foreigner’s with permanent residence) access to public health insurance is covered by the government.

May be applicable if you:

  • are receiving an old-age pension or disability pension
  • are on maternity leave or parental leave
  • are listed as a job applicant in the Labor Office register (in the case of EU citizens, this only applies if they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits)
  • are a recognized refugee or an applicant for international protection

A detailed list of persons whose health insurance is covered by the government can be found here (page is in the Czech language only).

How to look for a doctor?

You should be registered at a general practitioner’s clinic, where you’ll go for a preventive health check-up or if you are feeling unwell. If necessary, GP will refer you to a medical specialist.

In case you have access to public health insurance, we recommend visiting the website, where you can search for GPs based on location, reviews, contracted insurance companies, and/or whether they currently register new patients. On this website, you can also search for GPs who can speak foreign languages and thus can provide assistance without an interpreter. For interpreting services, you may also employ the services of our intercultural workers.

In case you have purchased commercial health insurance, please contact your insurance company’s assistance center. They will help you find a contracted GP.

Pay special attention to whether your chosen GP has signed a contract with your health insurance company. Furthermore, always inform yourself whether the medical treatment you require is fully covered by your health insurance or whether you’ll have to pay a portion yourself. You may also visit a GP who isn’t contracted by your health insurance company. In case they receive you, you’ll have to cover the medical expense in cash or by an invoice (via VZP, a.s.)

If you are having trouble finding a GP, ask your health insurance company to send you a list of their contracted GPs.

Opting out of the general health insurance

Opting out of the Czech public health insurance system is only possible if you have been staying abroad for a long period of time, i.e. at least 6 months. In order to opt out, in addition to staying abroad for more than 6 months, it is also necessary to have valid insurance in the country where the insured is traveling for the entire duration of this stay and also to bring to the VZP branch a written statement of long-term stay in the country, which you can find here:

After eight days from the start of your stay abroad, you also need to hand in your insurance card. A person opt out from VZP does not have the obligation to pay insurance in the Czech Republic, but also loses the right to reimbursement of medical services from the public health insurance. After returning from abroad, it is necessary to re-register with VZP and the obligation to pay insurance begins on the day of re-registration.

ATTENTION! If the insured person returns earlier, and the condition of six months has not been met, the insured person must pay the insurance for the entire period of absence in the Czech Republic, including a possible penalty. From 1st January 2024, the new rule of 6 months abroad also applies to holders of temporary protection, and the possibility of opting out of VZP retrospectively has also been cancelled. Citizens of Ukraine can use the online form for opting out of VZP and re-register here:

Got more questions?

Each situation is unique, so we’d always recommend visiting our organization, where we can answer your questions in depth. Call +420 252 543 846 and make an appointment for counseling.

We’d like to point out that all information is valid as of the article publication date. The information may change with time. You may always inquire about the current situation in a personal meeting with a social worker.

We’ve also prepared a short video on this topic. Check it out!