The Czech Republic has a system of statutory health insurance based on compulsory membership in a health insurance fund. The health insurance funds must accept all applicants who have a legal basis (based on the constitution) for entitlement; risk selection is not permitted.
Eligible residents may freely choose their health insurance fund and health care providers. Pharmacies and diagnostic laboratories, as well as almost 90% of outpatient facilities, are in private hands.
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), when you are temporarily staying in the Czech Republic. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, agree with the treatment provider beforehand on the arrangement of treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. It is advisable to carry copies of your European Health Insurance Card with you, along with the card itself. If you didn’t have your EHIC with you or it was not accepted, and you were required to pay all the costs of treatment yourself, you might be able to apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
Before accessing care, you should make sure that the service provider has a contract with one of the public health insurance funds.
In the Czech Republic, patients are charged a customer fee as a deductible for the use of public healthcare services. The contact information for the funds is available on the website of the Health Insurance Bureau.
Make an appointment with a general practitioner who has an agreement with the Czech health insurance system (most doctors do). Contact information for the doctors is available at the local offices of the health insurance funds. Doctors’ practices are usually open on weekdays between 7:00 and 17:00. Show your valid European Health Insurance Card and your identity card at the practice. If you do not have these documents with you, be prepared to pay full price for your treatment in cash.
The doctor will issue a Czech certificate of entitlement to healthcare (Potvrzení o nároku) on the basis of your European Health Insurance Card. For the purposes of the certificate, the doctor will ask how long you intend to stay in the Czech Republic and will ask you to choose one of the health insurance funds. You can choose the fund freely and it will cover your medical costs in the Czech Republic. By signing the certificate prepared by the doctor, you confirm the duration of your stay, the selection of the fund and the fact that you have not travelled to the Czech Republic for the express purpose of receiving treatment. Outside of office hours, there may be an additional customer fee.
You can see a specialist after receiving a referral from a general practitioner. You can see a paediatrician or a gynaecologist without a referral. If the doctor orders further examinations, they should provide you with a corresponding number of copies of the Czech certificate of the right to healthcare. This copy must be shown to the doctor who performs the additional examination.
You can see a dentist (zubni lekar, stomatolog) without a referral. The procedure is the same as with the general practitioner. There may be additional charges for urgent treatment and for treatments and materials that exceed the standard level (for example, teeth filler materials).
When a doctor prescribes medicines, they will accompany the prescription with a copy of the Czech certificate of the right to healthcare. This certificate entitles you to a discount on medicines at the pharmacy. The reimbursement for different medicines varies.
A doctor’s referral is required for hospital treatment. In case of urgent illness, you can go straight to a hospital that has a contract with a Czech health insurance fund. At the hospital, you need to present your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card.
Ambulance transport is free when you present your European Health Insurance Card at the facility providing the treatment.
If you were required to pay in cash for your treatment, the health insurance fund cannot reimburse you for your costs during your stay in the Czech Republic. In this case, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
If your illness requires you to use special transport when returning to Finland, you will be liable for the travel costs in their entirety. You are recommended to take out a travel insurance that covers these costs.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to the Czech Republic for the purpose of using healthcare services, you can find general information on our site concerning seeking treatment abroad. Some useful sources of information are also listed below. You should direct your questions about healthcare in the Czech Republic to the Czech National Contact Point.
The Czech Republic’s National Contact Point maintains a search service where you can find information on healthcare service providers who welcome foreign patients. The service providers have voluntarily registered themselves in the search service. You can search for a place of treatment according to location or medical specialisation.
Quality and safety of treatment
Healthcare service providers operating in the Czech Republic are required to fulfil specific criteria (training, quality of treatment and tools, standards of hygiene etc.) but the country does not have a compulsory quality assurance system or quality classification. If you are unhappy with the treatment you received in the Czech Republic, the instructions for complaints available from the national point of contact will provide assistance.