Turkey has a national health insurance plan, managed by the Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu, (Social Security Administration, or SGK). Once you have legally resided in Turkey for at least one year, you can enroll.
After you pay the first premium, you are covered. You will get an SGK health insurance ID card which you can present at any state hospital and be treated, without charge.
Some private hospitals also accept SGK insurance, but since treatment at private hospitals is more expensive than at state hospitals, there may be additional charges you will need to pay in cash, or have them covered by supplemental insurance that you can get from one of the Turkish insurance companies.
SGK Insurance Premiums
The premium for SGK insurance is currently 426.60 TL per month (2017). This price is for legally-married couples and their children (if they are under age 18) and for single persons (the price is the same for both--there is no discount for a single person).
Note: If a person receives income from a government pension, that person will not be eligible to be a covered as a dependent under their spouse's SGK policy.
First-time Application for SGK Insurance
Because enrollment in the SGK plan requires you to be a resident of Turkey, and becoming a resident of Turkey requires health insurance coverage, you will have to go back and forth between the SGK office and the foreigners' bureau. Here's what you need to do:
- Go to the SGK office, and verify exactly what you need to do according to your situation. Rules can change or vary according to province.
- Get a physical examination. You can go to a private or state hospital for this (state hospitals are cheaper. You can pay by cash or credit card at either type of hospital.
- Go to the SGK office and submit an initial application for SGK insurance. You will need your residence permit, passport, and proof of address (such as a property deed or rental contract, or a stamped and signed address registration document from the Nüfus [Citizenship and Population Directorate]). The SGK will provisionally enroll you and give you a document called a Provizyon Sorgulama Cevap (Provisional Inquiry Reply) which shows you have been provisionally registered in the SGK system. Then, pay the premium for the first month of coverage.
- Go to the DGMM with your copy of the Provisional Inquiry Reply. Submit it with your residence permit application package. You will get a confirmation of application from the foreigners' bureau showing that you have applied for your residence permit.
- Go back to the SGK office with the confirmation document you received from the DGMM, and complete the SGK application process.
You will then have medical insurance coverage in Turkey, and a completed and submitted application for your Turkey residence permit.
Note: After you receive your residence permit, return to the SGK office, show them your residence permit card, and make sure that you are registered with the SGK as a resident of Turkey.
Extending Your SGK Insurance
Once you reach a date 60 days before the expiration of your residence permit, it is a good idea to apply to extend your SGK coverage as soon as possible, to make sure you have no gaps in your insurance coverage.
If You Are Over 65 Years Old
If you are over 65 years old, you do not need to have health insurance to get a residence permit, unless you are applying for a long-term residence permit.
If you need health private Turkish insurance, contact our English-speaking agent of Ankara Sigorta, which provides health insurance packages for residence permits (in English and Turkish), using our Health Insurance Inquiry Form.
Health Insurance Forum: A forum dedicated to the health insurance requirement to live in Turkey. Please post any questions or comments you have there.
Turkey Residence Permit Law (PDF): The Law on Foreigners and International Protection, Dated April, 2014. In English, this is the Turkish law which governs residence permits.
Republic of Turkey, Social Security Institution: In English. Covers just about anything you need to know about SGK Universal Health Insurance.