Healthcare System and Medical Tourism in Turkey
Türkiye has become a global leader in the field of medical tourism. Over the previous decade, the country has seen an increase in medical tourism, with almost a million people getting treatment each year.
This increase is the result of a strong healthcare system backed by prestigious universities, research institutes, major investments in innovative technologies, and expansive health infrastructures.
How does the Turkish healthcare system work?
Approximately 55% of 1500+ hospitals in Türkiye are owned and operated by the Turkish Ministry of Health, with the remaining held by universities, private enterprises, and international organizations.
The majority of hospitals are accredited both domestically and internationally by organizations such as the Joint Commission International (JCI), the Joint Commission on Healthcare Organizations Accreditation (JACHO), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Türkiye offers public health insurance to all citizens. Free medical treatment is a right for all citizens who have registered with the Social Security Institution (SSI). It is Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu (SGK) in Turkish. The majority of services are covered by SSI, except for cosmetic surgery and a few specialized treatments like IVF or dental care. Residents gain greatly from this public service as it significantly reduces healthcare costs.
Foreigners are qualified to apply for public healthcare after one year of residency. First, you need to go to your local SGK office and register with the Turkish Healthcare System. For the application, you will need copies of your passport, your residency application, an address verification from the Goc Idaresi, and a medical report from a licensed physician.
You can obtain private health insurance if you would rather not deal with the application. Under your policy, you can increase your rights. You can benefit much more from private healthcare in Turkey.
What are the advantages of getting medical treatment in Turkey?
Saving money is one of the main advantages of healthcare tourism in Turkey. The cost of healthcare in Turkey can be 60–70% less expensive than in the US or Europe. This makes the country a desirable choice for those seeking top-notch care at a significantly lower cost.
The high quality of healthcare in Turkey is another advantage. Many hospitals and clinics in Turkey are outfitted with the newest medical equipment as a result of recent large investments in the healthcare system. In addition, Türkiye is one of the countries with the highest number of robotic surgery systems. These systems provide more accurate surgeries and quicker recovery periods.
In addition to excellent technology, there are highly qualified doctors with extensive experience treating a wide range of medical diseases. Many are fluent in English or other languages. So, patients can get great medical care from doctors who speak their language.
Moreover, patients can receive highly luxurious care from private hospitals. There are several additional services offered, such as hotel reservations and airport transfers. Some even do a city tour. Everything is being considered for you. In a way, you can take a holiday while also receiving medical treatment.
Last but not least, Türkiye has a strategic geographical location that appeals to almost 1 billion people and 57 countries within a 4-hour flight time. That’s why the country is recognized as the perfect region for health tourism due to its easy accessibility by airlines.
What are the visa requirements for visiting Turkey for medical treatment?
Patients may apply for a medical visa in Türkiye. The Turkish Embassy offers a medical visa for 30 to 90 days during 180 days.
If the visa is about to expire, the applicant can request an extension or a residence permit through the local immigration office. The general required documents for a medical visa:
- Biometric photos. Photographs should not be used in any Turkish visa application before.
- An original passport that is valid for at least 6 months.
- At least 2 blank pages for visa issuance
- Copies of current and old passports
- Bank statement or proof of the financial statement
- Confirmation of Hotel reservation
- Confirmation of return ticket showing travel itinerary
- Medical and travel insurance
- A letter inviting medical treatment from a Republic of Turkey-accredited official medical tourism company or hospital. These institutions should have an accreditation for medical tourism.
Another option is to get a tourist visa in Turkey. It grants you a short-term residence permit for 6 months a year. The required documents are more or less the same as a medical visa, and contrary to popular belief, no extra fee is required. You can read the blog No Limit for Residence Permit in Turkey to learn more.
What medical treatments are available in Turkey?
All treatments are available. This is possible because all the required medical equipment and expertise are available in Türkiye. In general, Türkiye has established a solid reputation for itself in the fields of dental care, hair transplantation, plastic, and aesthetic surgery worldwide. But, treatments are undoubtedly applied successfully in various disciplines, including cardiology, ophthalmology, and cancer treatment.
In detail, the most preferred treatments in aesthetic treatment are:
- Hair transplantation
- Dental aesthetics
- Eye aesthetics
- Breast aesthetics
- Tummy tuck surgery
- Nose aesthetics like Rhinoplasty
- Ear aesthetics
- Facial bone aesthetics
- Liposuction, facelift
- Body aesthetics
- Laser treatments, etc.
These are just a compilation of the best-known. Türkiye offers various treatment methods in all branches of medicine.
What are the average costs for different medical procedures in Turkey?
Several factors can affect the cost of healthcare in Turkey for foreigners. These include the kind of surgery or procedure, the city in which it will be done, and the content of health policy.
However, Türkiye is known for providing competitive and low-cost healthcare services. So, you can be sure that you will pay at least 70% less compared to the prices in the UK, the EU, and the USA.
FAQ about Medical Services in Turkey
You can find the most frequently asked questions about the Turkish healthcare system by foreigners and expats below.
Q: Is Turkey's healthcare system good?
A: Yes. Türkiye is a popular destination for medical tourism. Hospitals have expert medical staff, the latest technology medical equipment, and, of course, affordable prices. Additionally, national and international organizations routinely inspect and accredit them. In addition to receiving international accreditations such as Joint Commission International (JCI), the Ministry of Health examines all hospitals.
Q: Do I need to speak Turkish to receive medical care in Turkey?
A: No. Especially in the private sector, it is not difficult to find a doctor who speaks multiple languages, particularly English.
Q: What hospitals offer medical tourism services in Turkey?
A: Medical tourism services are offered by numerous hospitals, institutions, and organizations in Türkiye. İstanbul, Izmir, Antalya, Ankara, and Bursa are major hubs for health tourism.
Q: How much cheaper is healthcare in Turkey compared to other countries?
A: The average prices are 70% lower than prices in the UK, EU and USA.
Q: What kind of accommodation options are available for medical tourists?
A: Some private hospitals arrange hotel accommodation for you, included in the price. If you do not have such an option, you can stay in a hotel or rent a house for a short time.
However, a significant number of patients fall in love with the country and its culture and eventually decide to make Türkiye their permanent home. When taking into account the post-transaction checks, it makes more sense to invest the money in your home instead of paying rent.
If you plan to purchase a property in Turkey, contact TEKCE real estate consultants to learn the process and examine the most affordable hot deals.
Q: Do Turkish hospitals accept my health insurance?
A: The European health insurance card is not valid in Türkiye. Foreigners can benefit from private or universal health insurance.