Healthcare in Prague



The national healthcare system of the Czech Republic provides reliable insurance for all residents of Prague, including expatriates who need all the security they can get away from home.

Everybody in Prague, including citizens, legally documented expats and those who work for Czech companies are required to participate in the national public healthcare system. Inclusion is through monetary contributions to a chosen statutory health insurance company.

These companies have existing agreements with physicians and health care institutions. Thus, it is important to ensure that you find a doctor registered with the insurer. When an individual is financially incapable of paying the contributions, the government bears the costs. Businessmen also make the same mandatory contributions but pay no more than 35 percent of their income, while those who make very little profit can pay a fixed basic fee or opt for a contractual plan.

Individuals who are covered under the public healthcare system have the freedom to choose their own primary care doctor and may change doctors every three months. However, they need to make sure the physician is registered with the system. A visit to a specialist without a referral from another doctor is also allowed. 

Private or international health insurance is also an option. However, it is usually more complicated in terms of documentation and conditions. There are times when a healthcare institution or even a doctor will not recognize a certain insurer, which tends to become a problem. In this case, the patient has to make the payments out of his own pocket.

For citizens of European Union countries, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles patients to all kinds of medical treatments without any upfront payments. Expenses will be paid by the individual's insurer in his country of origin but will exclude repatriation and non-emergency treatment.

Prescription drugs are either covered by the system in whole or in part. When coverage is not complete, the patient pays for the percentage not paid by the insurer. Insurance coverage of prescribed medication expires after a certain time period so be sure to be prompt and keep track of your administration.

Insurers also only cover the cheapest of the different groups of drugs unless a doctor is able to prove that there is no alternative to a more expensive medicine that a patient may be required to take.

In Prague, all emergency calls are made through 112, although there are separate hotlines for various types of emergencies such as 155 for medical emergencies, 150 for the fire department and 158 for the police. Expats who may have to dial any of these numbers are in luck because operators also speak English and a little German.

There are hardly any required vaccinations for traveling to Prague. However, due to the increased number of Hepatitis A incidences, a vaccination is recommended before coming to Prague or any other region in the Czech Republic. Tick borne encephalitis is another disease prevalent in the summer. There are no restrictions on food and water and the only time you should avoid drinking tap water is when plumbing systems contaminate the general water supply.

Whether you are a citizen or an expatriate in Prague, a fully functioning healthcare system works for you and lets you focus on the new, welcome challenges that moving to this Czech capital may bring.


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Healthcare in Czech Republic