Update on Turkish Health Insurance Regulations as of 30 January 2012

21st, 2012
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This is an update to our notices of 25 January.  

As we confirmed on 25 January, the Turkish SGK healthcare scheme is not compulsory for British nationals.  We are aware that some local SGK offices claim to be unaware of this change.  We have passed these offices a copy of the confirmation letter from SGK and we have asked the SGK authorities in Ankara to reissue their circular notice about this change.

For those wanting to register for healthcare, we are aware that some SGK offices are still asking for individual letters from the NHS confirming that you are no longer eligible for NHS cover in the UK.  This is unnecessary as we have already provided the SGK authorities in Ankara with a statement from the NHS that covers all British nationals.  Again, we have asked the SGK authorities to recirculate this letter to all of their offices around Turkey.

For those who want to join, please contact your local SGK office by 31 January 2012.

For those of you who are still considering your options, we have been told that you can join at a later date. But as things currently stand, you would have to pay a fine and pay the back months from 1 February 2012.

For those who prefer to pay for treatment as they need it or to use their own private health insurance, you do not have to join.  You can continue doing as you do currently.  However, if you change your mind and choose to join later, see the paragraph above re: fines and back payment.

We know that there are still a lot of unanswered questions.  This is not UK legislation and we are not the authority leading on it.  This is not only affecting British nationals, almost all foreign nationals are expected to join.  We are keeping in touch with the relevant Turkish authorities, and have urged the SGK in Ankara, both directly and through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to provide more information on your most commonly asked questions, in English, so that you can make informed decisions.

We have also asked the Turkish authorities about a number of issues in all this that affect British nationals, both those joining before 31/1 and afterwards.  You will understand that we cannot go into the details of these discussions at the moment. Nor can we predict the outcome. As soon as we have more information, we will provide an update here.

The British Government attaches the highest priority to protecting the interests of British Nationals overseas. In Turkey, consular services to British and certain other nationalities are provided by the Embassy in Ankara, the Consulate General in Istanbul and our other Consulates.

The services include the issue and replacement of British passports, registration of births and deaths, voter registration, acceptance of notice of marriage and issuance of Certificates of No Impediment. With few exceptions, consular services attract statutory fees.

Occasionally, British people living in or visiting Turkey get into some form of trouble. When British nationals are arrested or imprisoned, consular staff will visit them and offer whatever assistance they properly can. We will also offer help and advice to British nationals in other cases of need.

So, in summary; if you are currently eligible to join and would like to do so, you are advised to visit the SGK office before the 1st February to enrol in the scheme. Otherwise, no further action is currently required.

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