Medical care in the Czech Republic

30. 9. 2019 | Student Life

Doctor with a stethoscope in the hands and hospital backgroundThe standard of medical care in the Czech Republic is generally high. In fact, the country’s healthcare scheme has been considered one of the best in the EU. Health care in the Czech Republic is provided by state-run and private medical facilities all over the country, including emergency departments in hospitals which are open 24/7. In the event of sudden serious illness or injury anywhere in the Czech Republic, one should dial 112 to be connected to the EU emergency line.

Many doctors in public hospitals can speak English, although this is not always the case. Czech private medical care is also excellent and the staff at private hospitals are highly qualified. Private healthcare tends to be more expensive than public healthcare in the Czech Republic, but some private hospitals might be better equipped to cater to expat patients thanks to a more service-oriented approach.

Some medicines and pills can be purchased in pharmacies without a prescription from the doctor, for example preparations to relive flu, stomachache or a cold. Pharmacies are widely available in the Czech Republic with some open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One should keep in mind that prescriptions are only valid for a certain period of time. Prescriptions from emergency services expire after two days, antibiotic prescriptions expire after five days, and all other prescriptions expire after two weeks.

It is compulsory to have health insurance in the Czech Republic, whether through a public or private health insurance provider. Students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland who have a valid health insurance in their home country should apply for the EU health insurance card (EHIC). This free card gives them access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost as Czech nationals.

Based on international agreements, medical travel insurance is not required from citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Japan, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey, Serbia, and the United States of America. The same exception applies to participants of the Erasmus Mundus programme, Fulbright scholarship programme, European Voluntary Service of the EC Youth in Action programme. Students from other foreign countries who apply for visa to stay in the Czech Republic for more than 90 days are required to purchase comprehensive health insurance coverage for the entire period of stay.

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