Many countries has taken precautions in the fight against Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak emerged in Wuhan, China. The virus was declared as "Pandemic" by the World Health Organization as of March 11, 2020. Turkey also canceled all domestic flights as of March 27, 2020 23:59 hours in this context. The cancellation of flights also adversely affected foreigners coming to Turkey for commercial or touristic purposes.
In this study, in the context of Coronavirus, we will examine the situation of the foreigners who are now in Turkey for commercial or touristic purposes or the situation of the foreingners who are residing in Turkey with a residence permit. And it will be examined how they can get benefit from the health sevices rendered in Turkey.
Can the foreigners who are in Turkey with commercial or touristic purposes and diagnosed with Coronavirus benefit from the health services in Turkey?
It is possible to benefit from health services within the limits of the policy if the foreigner has “Travel Health Insurance” and if the insurance also covers the epidemic disease.
In cases where the foreigners does not have Travel Health Insurance, article 9 of the International Health Tourism and Regulation on Tourism Health titled “Services within the Scope of Tourist Health” states in which cases the foreigner in Turkey for commercial and tourism purposes will benefit from health services.
If a foreigner's need for health services occurs while in our country for commercial or touristic purposes, the foreigner; Benefits from health care service without any conditions and without delay in public, university and private health institutions and organizations. It should be understood that the health services and treatment to be provided within the scope of coronavirus must be evaluated as emergency intervention and care. The service fee will be collected from the foreigner after the emergency intervention and care is provided.
Is it compulsory for foreigners who have a residence permit in Turkey to have Health Insurance?
In accordance with Article 19 of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection; foreigners who will stay more than ninety days in Turkey or will stay longer than the time shown at his/her visa are required to obtain residence permit.
Pursuant to article 22 of the Regulation on the Implementation of Foreigners and International Protection Law; “Foreigners are required to have valid health insurance covering the period of residence permit they demand. Those who are covered by General Health Insurance are considered to be valid health insurance. Otherwise, residence permits are not issued, or residence permits are canceled if the insurance of residence permits does not continue. It should also be noted that this insurance can be either Private Health Insurance or General Health Insurance.
Does the General Health Insurance include Coronavirus (Covid-19) coverage?
Following the emergence of coronavirus, by making various regulations, health services and medicines were included in the scope of General Health Insurance for the treatment of pandemic cases only during the pandemic
Can foreigners get General Health Insurance, and what are the conditions for them to get it?
It is possible for foreigners to apply for General Health Insurance if certain conditions are met. In accordance with Article 60/1-d of the Social Insurance and General Health Insurance Law; (Provided that the principle of reciprocity also taken into account) foreigners with residence permits in Turkey will be able to apply to the General Health Insurance if they are not insured for any reason in another country.
In addition, pursuant to article 52 of the same law; individuals who have lived less than a year in Turkey are not allowed to apply for the General Health Insurance.
When the above explanations are evaluated together:
it will be possible for foreigners to benefit from general health insurance in existence of the following conditions:
Reciprocity between two countries,
Having a residence permit in Turkey,
Not being insured under the legislation of a foreign country and not having the right to benefit from health insurance,
Having lived more than a year in Turkey.
The principle of reciprocity states that favours, benefits, or penalties that are granted by one state to the citizens or legal entities of another, should be returned in kind.
Is it possible for individuals with a student residence permit to apply for General Health Insurance?
In accordance with the article 60 of the Social Security and General Health Insurance Law titled “Those who are considered to be general health insurance holders”; there is a 3-month time limit for individuals with a student residence permit to apply for General Health Insurance. If an application is not made within this period, the general health insurance provisions cannot be applied to these individuals during their education.
Can dependants of foreigners (Foreigners who are covered by general health insurance) benefit from health services?
Following dependants who are residing in Turkey (except for those studying abroad) and not insured under the legislation of Turkey or another country, can benefit from health services in Turkey.
Children under the age of 18,
In case of high school and equivalent education, children under the age of 20 and not married
In case of higher education, children who have not reached the age of 25 and are not married,
Unmarried children, who are determined to be disabled regardless of age,
Mother and father (must have been determined by the Institution that their livelihood is provided by foreigner)
This extraordinary situation will bring with it many legal disputes. In order to avoid loss of rights in all these processes, it will be appropriate to get legal support from a lawyer.
Amendment: Please not that a new amendment has been published April 14th 2020 (today). Regardless of whether or not there is health insurance, as of the date of March 1st 2020 everyone can benefit from protective equipment, test and medical services within the scope of coronavirus, free of charge. Coronavirus Helpline "Alo 184"
Att. Taha Hüseyin ÇEBİ
Att. Ömer ÇEBİ
ÇEBİ LAW & CONSULTANCY