N.B. The information in this article is correct as of 9 April 2020.

There is nothing more disturbing than being in a country where you are not confident or competent in the language when you need to access essential and possibly life-saving services. Fethiye Times is working very hard on your behalf with the local administrative services to clarify the range and breadth of services implemented during the COVID-19 outbreak and how to use them effectively. If you think you may need medical support, this is how to go about it.

According to the WHO, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some patients may also have a runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion and aches and pains or diarrhoea. Some people report losing their sense of taste and/or smell. About 80% of people who get COVID-19 experience a mild case – about as serious as a regular cold – and recover without needing any special treatment but if you feel that you need medical advice, please follow the steps below to protect your health and the health of others:

Stay at home and call 184, Turkey’s special helpline dedicated to COVID-19. Do NOT just turn up at a hospital.

Follow the instructions provided by the helpline who will recommend that you:

  • Continue to monitor your health and call back if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms
  • Stay at home and await further instructions
  • Report to a designated hospital for testing and possible treatment. 

COVID-19 hospitals in Fethiye are the Fethiye State Hospital (Devlet) and Lokman Hekim Esnaf Hospital, a private facility designated as a Pandemic Hospital. The Letoon private hospital is NOT a COVID-19 hospital.

Please note: If patients are attending any state hospital or any private health institution for treatment for non COVID-19 conditions and it is suspected that they may have COVID-19, those health institutions are obliged to treat patients until the diagnosis of COVID-19 becomes definite, after which patients will be transferred to a Pandemic Hospital, if applicable.

Does my Health Insurance cover me?

As COVID-19 has been designated as a Pandemic by the World Health Organisation, all testing will be paid for by the Government.

Fethiye State Hospital (Devlet)

If you have SGK, diagnosis and treatment is free.

If don’t have SGK – you WILL be charged for any treatment you receive.

Treatment is NOT generally covered by private health policies*. If you have private health insurance, there WILL be some charges.

*Some private insurance providers are now saying they will pay for Coronavirus treatment. Please check with your provider for details.

COVID-19 critical/emergency patients will be treated free of charge.

Please note: we have no information on the pricing structure for COVID-19 treatment at this time. We will bring you further updates as we receive them.

Lokman Hekim Esnaf Private Hospital

If you are admitted to the Esnaf, you will be tested at the discretion of the doctor and Ministry of Health. If applied, the test is free of charge.

If you are found to be positive for COVID-19 and have a Turkish ID number (including 99 ID’s), you will be categorized as an emergency and WILL NOT have to pay for treatment, regardless of whether you have SGK or not.

If you are found NOT to have COVID-19 but something else is discovered upon attendance – YOU WILL BE CHARGED.

If an emergency arises and the doctor assesses you as critical, you will not be charged if you have SGK. Patents without SGK will be charged for the clinical consultation.

Please note: we have no information on the pricing structure for COVID-19 treatment at this time. We will bring you further updates as we receive them.

Please be absolutely sure that you need to go to hospital by calling 184 and following their instructions. Medical services are under severe strain.

Any information you may need about other health concerns should be addressed directly to your insurance company.

If you are over 65 and subject to curfew

Some of you will be subscribing to SGK and be unable to leave the house to pay your contributions.  We have been advised that there is a two month period of grace on your payments at the moment so, if you are unable to make the payment, your SGK will remain valid for another two months without penalty.

Going Forward

The measures being taken here in Fethiye and indeed, all over the world are unprecedented. There is confusion and uncertainty – not only in the community but in the very institutions that are trying to help you. Please be responsible and more importantly, patient with the organisations and local government departments here in Fethiye who are doing their very best to help you at this very difficult time.

Grateful thanks go to Çağri Nebioğlu of Insurance Turkey for providing clarification of information issued by the Sağlık Bakanlığı

This article was co-researched and co-written by Jan Jones.