Story #12

My son has been diagnosed with a functional neurological disorder when he had an insurance with PVZP.
When it was time to prolong my son’s residence permit I went to the PVZP office to get an insurance contract for the next 2 years. From the employee of theirs I learned that my son is on their black list of non-profitable customers and they won’t insure him anymore, because if they do they will have to continue to pay for his treatment.
I had to go to a different insurance company, but with the change of health insurance company my son’s health condition, although discovered for the first time in the Czech Republic, became a pre-existing condition for the new health insurance contract. Neither of his treatments and medicines is now covered by the insurance and we have to pay out of pocket.

Story #11

I am Brazilian, me and my wife have been working in the Czech Republic for almost 2.5 years now. 2 months before relocating to Brno our daughter has been diagnosed with Turner’s syndrome – a genetic disorder which can be substantially improved by growth hormone therapy.

We got a health insurance contract with Uniqa which specifically excluded all Turner-syndrome related health care and medication. When we asked PVZP to calculate the price of the PVZP Exclusive – the only commercial health insurance on the market that actually covers pre-existing conditions and has no limits for prescribed medication – they informed us, that the insurance premium per year in our case will be close to the overall insurance limit of 1 800 000 czk, and we should pay the money upfront.

We managed to bring 2 packs of the growth hormone medicine from Brazil (there the medicine for my daughter was paid by the state), but that was barely enough for 3 months of therapy. Here the medicine alone costs us around 24 000 czk/month and we absolutely can’t stop the treatment as the quality of my daughter’s life is at stake. We tried to arrange shipping the medicine from Brazil – the first and the last shipment was seized by the Czech customs officers, who didn’t let it through claiming it was violating the EU import laws.

Besides hormone therapy my daughter needs regular checkups with a variety of health care specialists – all that we are also paying out of the pocket as it is not covered by the health insurance.

Story #10

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he had a private health insurance with PVZP.

The first thing I did was to call the insurance company for the information what health care directly connected to diabetes will be covered and to what extent. The assistance assured me that as long as the condition was discovered for the first time – everything including diabetes management will be covered up to the general overall limit of 1 700 000 czk.

Only later I found out how ignorant the PVZP assistance was – turned out only emergencies (like diabetic coma), hospitalization and checkups are covered up to the general limit, but not the diabetes management. Other children of the same age who have public health insurance are entitled to an insulin pump, free insulin, substantial amount of test strips – full list can be found here. Not our case: an insulin pump alone costs 100 000 czk, test strips/sensors/insulin for a year is another 30 000 czk of out of pocket expenses. PVZP will pay just 5000 czk for diabetes management for the whole period of insurance (which in our case means we are entitled to get this compensation only once in 2 years) – that is the typical limit of prescribed medication and medical devices for a Czech private health insurance.

The assistance has never apologized for giving me false hopes (not that it would actually change anything of course). To cite their specialist – we should consider ourselves lucky that PVZP has not terminated our insurance contract on the spot.

Story #8

My 5 year old son has a chronic condition which requires annual examinations.

As with every chronic condition and private health insurance in the Czech Republic – you can’t manage it through your health insurance provider, so we have to pay for all the examinations ourselves. And here is the unpleasant finding – it is absolutely legal to charge foreigners several times more for the usual examinations, actually it is up to the hospital how much it will ask you to pay. Yes, you got it right, there are 2 types of prices – Czech public health insurance companies pay the smallest one and foreigners from non-EU countries the greatest. From our practice: once we say we are Russian nationals seeking non-urgent outpatient services that our insurance company doesn’t cover – the price usually triples (not quadruples or is multiplied by 10, maybe we should be grateful for that).

The math of managing my son’s megaureter is cruel – return tickets Prague-Moscow, a week’s stay and examinations in a top-notch Filatov’s Hospital still cost us less than going to a doctor in Prague.

But with the coronavirus outbreak we don’t have the fly back option any longer.

For the time we have been living here I have payed more than 350 000 czk in taxes for my public health insurance with VZP (that I barely use) and about 60 000 czk for my son’s private health insurance with PVZP. And my little one still is not entitled to the care he requires. If that isn’t discrimination – what is?

Story #7

Daniil and his wife Mila were studying in Prague.

In 2017 Mila became pregnant with twins and the spouses got an expensive private health insurance for pregnancy and childbirth with Maxima. Unfortunately, a routine ultrasound showed that the baby boy had developed a life threatening condition and the twins had to be delivered early at 29 weeks.

One day of NICU at the Podoli hospital cost on average 28 000 czk, so the insurance limit of 100 000 czk for the kids’ hospital stay ran out in the first couple of days (the maximum available limit on the market at that time was 300 000 czk or 10 days of hospitalization max). All private health insurance companies refused to insure the preemies, the expenses for the postnatal care from 20/1/2018 to 14/2/2018 quickly escalated to 1 622 548 czk.

InBaze organization helped to organize a fundraiser to partly cover the hospital bill.

Story #6

Ukrainian citizen O.B. has been working in Prague since October 2007 and as every working foreigner was eligible for public health insurance with VZP.

Later that year O.B. got pregnant, but unfortunately her son arrived early and required extensive care in the NICU of the Podoli hospital. O.B. didn’t have permanent residence permit so her son couldn’t be insured by VZP, and the only option for him to get any insurance was through a private insurance provider. But every single private health insurance company refused to insure the newborn because of the existing medical complications.

Hospitalization from birth till 5/5/2008 resulted in a total of 682 158 czk.

Source: Pl. ÚS 2/15

Story #5

Ukrainian citizen O.K. has been employed in Czech Republic since 2008. During 2012 she found out she was expecting a baby, but due to pregnancy complications she had to take sick leave since 17/12/2012. Her medical condition didn’t allow her to work so the employer didn’t prolong her work contract which ended on 31/1/2013.

As O.K. didn’t have permanent residence permit, along with losing her job she lost right to participate in public health insurance system. Her high-risk pregnancy didn’t allow her to find another job and get back the public health insurance with VZP that she has been dutifully paying for the previous 5 years, neither could she fly back to her home town nor get a private health insurance. O.K. applied for the permanent residence permit on 18/3/2013, her application was approved on 19/6/2013 and she and her newborn son became eligible for public health insurance. But the costs of prenatal care since 1/2/2013, delivery and hospital stay for both herself and her son O.K. had to pay herself.

Source: Pl. ÚS 2/15

Story #4

J.A.Y. had private health insurance with PVZP. He had a sudden mental breakdown, and as his condition was considered harmful for others he was hospitalized for 40 days in Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital against his will. The insurance company rejected the claim of 64 000 czk for the hospitalization saying that mental health management is excluded from insurance coverage.

The case went to court, 6 years later Constitutional court of the Czech Republic ruled in favor of the hospital and PVZP.

Source: I.ÚS 3536/14

Story #3

K.S. was officially employed, thus she was entitled to a public health insurance and had one with VZP. Unfortunately, her baby girl was born several months early and stayed in Motol hospital NICU from 6/8/2009 till 2/10/2009. K.S. didn’t have permanent residence permit yet (which foreigners from non-EU countries obtain after 5 years of residing in Czech Republic) so her daughter wasn’t automatically eligible for public health insurance with VZP and all private health insurance companies refused to insure the preemie.

K.S. applied for all possible residence permits for her kid on 26/08/2009 – long-term residence, permanent residence for reasons worth special consideration and international protection. Her daughter has been granted asylum and with it public health insurance, but the Motol hospital still sent her the bill of 223 161 czk for neonatal care for the period 6/8/2009 – 25/8/2009 as the public health insurance company VZP refused to pay the costs for the timeframe before K.S. applied for international protection.

It took 7 long years till High Court of Justice finally declared, that as long as K.S. applied for permanent residence permit for her daughter, although she was declined it in 15/4/2011 under reasons of being granted asylum, her daughter should have been publicly insured from the moment of birth till 15/4/2011 and the bill goes to VZP.

Source: 33 Cdo 2039/2015

Story #1

A coffee break gone wrong resulted in half a cup of freshly brewed coffee landing on my newborn’s leg. Me and my husband have immediately put the baby under cold running water and called 155 to ask for further instructions – 4 minutes later an ambulance was standing in front of the house. We called the insurance company (we have signed the most expensive contract on the market with PVZP) the same day and the assistance told us we are good.. only to call us back 2 days later saying that they had changed their minds and we will be denied any compensation because the insured person (4 months old baby) hasn’t done everything possible to prevent the insured event.

The Vinohrady hospital took our side and wrote a letter where it disagreed with the insurance company, appealing to common sense and asking them to reconsider the case. We wrote another official request, mentioning that not only there is no such paragraph in the contract saying that the compensation can be denied because it was the insurer’s fault, but there simply can’t be one as The Immigration Law §180j article 6 clearly states that proper medical health insurance for foreigners must have full unconditional coverage for trauma.

Don’t know what worked but 4 days later we got another call from the assistance saying that my baby girl’s treatment will be fully payed for, no explanations or excuses for stealing one week of our lives given.