Some foreign residents could save a small fortune and gain peace-of-mind with the new Turkish government backed voluntary Universal Health Insurance scheme as Fethiye Times has recently discovered.

Foreign residents, it appeared, breathed a collective sigh of relief a few weeks ago when it was announced that compulsory membership of the Turkish Universal Health Insurance scheme (UHI) was being postponed for a couple of years.

At a cost of 2,196 TL (1,000 GBP) per year some may have seen it as another tax on top of the already ‘expensive’ residence permit fee.

But foreign residents should maybe take a closer look at the scheme, according to, before dismissing it as another ‘tax’ as it could produce significant savings or save you from financial ruin depending on your circumstances.

We explain why. If you can read this the article has been copied (stolen) without permission from and should be deleted from the site you are currently reading. Please LINK don’t copy!

The key benefits of the UHI scheme are as follows:

 – Unlike private medical insurance which only cover for future conditions members are entitled to full cover even for existing conditions. So if you have already been diagnosed with an illness you can receive drugs and medical services for treatment under the scheme (only applies we understand if your country DOES NOT have a reciprocal health agreement with Turkey);

 – Treatment at state hospitals (Devlet) is free;

 – A variable but significant discounted rate is offered at private hospitals;

 – Only a proportion of the cost of medication for non chronic conditions is payable under the scheme i.e. the over the counter cost is discounted;

 – If the medication is for a chronic condition that medication is FREE;

 – Children under 18 with eligible members are free.

– The UK does not have a reciprocal health agreement with Turkey so British Citizens should benefits from the full range of health services. reader Ardith, who incidentally is the first ‘foreigner’ to be registered to the scheme in the county of Mugla, illustrates the savings and peace-of-mind she has achieved by voluntarily joining the scheme:

“I have to buy drugs for a condition I have and they cost me 150 TL per month. However, when I went to renew my prescription under my new UHI policy I was told by the pharmacist that the drug I was requesting was designated for epilepsy and that they would need a report from a university hospital if the insurance was to pay.

No one in Fethiye can complete such a test/report so I called Antalaya Akdeniz Medical School and have an appointment next week. I was given a choice of the professor for 145tl, or the assistant for free. There is a lovely Australian lady who handles English speakers on the phone which is very reassuring.

I reckon a 40TL return bus fare to Antalaya plus a same day appointment, beats a £300 plus air fare, accommodation, a possible 3 month wait in the UK and the worry that I may be challenged by the hospital administrator about my ‘real’ place of residency.”

Ardith continues: If you can read this the article has been copied (stolen) without permission from and should be deleted from the site you are currently reading. Please LINK don’t copy!

“This is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time in terms of peace of mind. My daughter in the States is perhaps even more relieved than I am that I am now covered for any medical costs in the future.”

How Do You Apply?

The easiest way is to contact and insurance agent or broker who will complete the process for you (in return for a fee – you should negotiate over this) and should save you a great deal of wasted time and money than if you attempted to do it yourself.

You will need your passport and your residence book to get the paper work completed.

The process can take a few weeks to go through the various government offices for approval but once approved payment will be required or currently 183 TL per month. The broker will confirm the exact figures and when cover commences. You should of course double check all the figures supplied!


For those residents who are currently buying drugs for their chronic conditions the monthly fee for the scheme could easily be outweighed by the savings on buying drugs and medical check-ups.

For those people who fear a major health scare in Turkey without the free care of the NHS, and for those people who may have considered retirement to Turkey in the past but have been put off by expensive private health insurance, the new UHI should put their minds at rest.

So thinks UHI is something that many of our readers will want to look at more closely and consider joining on a voluntary basis if the circumstances fit.

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