By The Foreigners Act every foreigner in Czech Republic must have a health insurance.
By the Czech laws only foreigners from EU countries, holders of permanent residence permit and officially employed can be insured by a public health insurance company (like VZP, OZP, VoZP etc). For kids and non-working spouses of third-country nationals the only available health care plan is a private health insurance from one of the 6 local providers (PVZP, Uniqa, Slavia, Maxima, Ergo, AXA Assistance). While a foreigner is obliged to have an insurance by law, the insurance company has no obligation to insure him and even if it does it can terminate the insurance contract at any time keeping up to 100% of the unearned premium.
Apart from this obvious disbalance between foreigner’s legal obligations and insurance company’s legal rights, a typical private health insurance contract accommodates a long list of exclusions. For instance, no conditions that existed before the start of the insurance period are covered, and in case of any genetic disorders/congenital problems/high risk pregnancies/oncology/AIDS/HIV/several other potentially life-threatening states the insurance company can often ignore the claim even if the client has been diagnosed with the condition for the first time during the insurance period.
What makes matters even worse is the “just business” way of deciding whether or not the client receives a compensation, with insurance companies aiming to minimize the payout by implying that the client has violated the contract. When the insurer denies rightful claims under various reasons, additional financial and emotional efforts are needed from the client’s side to make the insurer reconsider the case.
The Czech Republic is the only country in the EU who doesn’t allow children of a legally employed parent to access public health insurance system.
Third-country nationals with chronic diseases have no way to manage their condition not paying several times more than the insurance company or foreigners from the EU would have payed – this mode of operation is guaranteed by the Czech laws. When an insurance company denies paying for any preventive measures – the price automatically triples for a third-country national.
In case of “uninsurable persons” – preterm babies, people with severe chronic conditions or who got seriously ill from the disease on “exclusions from coverage” list – their family is left with a devastating financial burden of hundreds of thousands Czech crowns.
The Czech authorities have been pointed at this outrageous discrimination since year 2001, but all attempts to include at least foreigners’ children into public health care have been in vain, with the authorities not seeing any serious problem with the way of things.
Heads of private insurance companies regularly give public statements falsely claiming that “private health insurance for foreigners often exceeds the scope of public health insurance”, their websites advertise insurance products as “providing the scope comparable to public medical insurance”. All this gives foreigners, who are often not ready to read the fine print of a Czech insurance contract, the false assumption of being protected; while bystanders have the feeling that the system works not much worse than a private health insurance system in the USA.
It is easy to miss a problem if you have never walked in someone’s shoes, right? Would you like to see how messed up is getting medical help for a foreigner without permanent residence? Just read on.