Czech Parliament Scraps VZP Monopoly On Health Insurance For Foreign Nationals

A five-year monopoly for Pojistovna VZP on commercial insurance for foreigners was introduced in the previous election term. Credit: KB / BD.

Prague, July 13 (CTK) – VZP’s monopoly on health insurance for foreigners with long-term residence in the Czech Republic is likely to be abolished, as the Chamber of Deputies yesterday voted to scrap it and sent the bill to the Senate for further debate.

In the bill, originally proposed by the Senate, the Chamber raised the limit of health insurance coverage for foreigners with long-term residence in the Czech Republic to 400,000 euros, even though the Senate had only recommended doubling the limit to 120,000 euros.

The introduction of a five-year monopoly for Pojistovna VZP, a subsidiary of the General Health Insurance Company (VZP), on commercial insurance for foreigners with long-term residence in the Czech Republic, was passed by the lower house in the previous election term.

In addition to the Senate, it was opposed by the ministries of the interior and health, the Czech Association of Insurance Companies and the Chamber of Commerce. After five years, commercial health insurance could again be offered by subsidiaries of any health insurance company, under the proposed law.

Proponents of the current status quo pointed out that it was necessary to solve the problem of doctors having to provide medical care to foreigners who come to the Czech Republic to work, but without being sure of reimbursement.

Senators said the monopoly contravened European law.

The Senate proposal envisages the creation of a register of health insurance for foreigners, which would be administered by the Czech Insurance Office. The register would include selected data on commercial health insurance for foreigners, and would be accessible to health care institutions and, if necessary, the police.

The amendment should allow foreigners to terminate their contract with Pojistovna VZP within three months and insure themselves with the company of their choice.

According to the amendment, insurance companies will have to renew travel health insurance for insured persons who wish to do so. This is to prevent situations where a sick foreigner remains uninsured on Czech territory.

The Czech Association of Insurance Companies welcomed the result of the vote in the lower house, said director Jan Matousek. “We believe that thanks to the abolition of the monopoly for Pojistovna VZP, the market conditions in the insurance of foreigners will be levelled out and clients will once again have a choice and thus a better quality service,” he added.

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