Turkey's health care system illustrates well how health standards have improved rapidly in recent decades, partly as a result of higher health spending. In 2003 the government introduced major health reforms aimed at solving the problem of poor rural healthcare resources and making health care available to a larger share of the population. As a result of these changes, the private healthcare sector has developed quickly, with the reputation the state run hospitals have for long queues and poor personal service acting as a catalyst. In 2006 there was one doctor for every 700 people, one nurse for every 580 people, and one hospital bed for every 380 people. In general, though, the rural population is still poorly served by the healthcare system, which is much more developed in the western half of the country. Turkey has no national health system designed specifically for expatriates. The Turkish government planned to roll out a public healthcare system in 2010, however this was postponed and has yet to advance.
Expatriates moving to Turkey have the option of paying for health care as they need it or taking out private medical insurance, with the latter strongly advised, due to the support available through 24/7 assistance which is provided as part of the medical insurance policy. Most private hospitals have contracts with various insurance companies so it is now possible to receive better treatment via this route, however domestically, in 2005 about 75 per cent of private health expenditures were paid directly rather than being covered by insurance Generally, Turkey does not suffer from major disease outbreak, with parasitic related illnesses probably the largest threat to health.
Since the 1980s, there have been enormous improvements in the general quality of drinking water available and together with a well-run programme of childhood immunisation, the result has been cases of typhoid and diphtheria, for example, have fallen sharply. Major outbreaks of any diseases are rare, but 6 years ago, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever killed over 20 people. Symptoms of the disease include mood instability, agitation, mental confusion, blood in urine and nosebleeds. HIV, a life threatening disease that can be found practically everywhere, exist in Turkey too, so care needs to be taken where blood transfusions are being considered. HIV has killed approximately 25 million people, and 0.6% of people in the world have HIV. In Turkey, the percentage is smaller, with 0.17% of the population or around 5,000 people having been diagnosed with the disease. Other diseases which are known to exist include rabies, so those living and working there are advised to avoid contact with domestic and other animals, malaria in some of the hotter areas and Hepatitis. However, with careful planning and by following advice, many of these risks can be mitigated.
With nearly 30 years experience of supporting the international business community worldwide and clients from 86 nationalities in 121 countries, Medicare International is a major provider of health insurance for expats across the world. It is well qualified to comment on local healthcare needs and David Pryor, Senior Executive Director at MediCare International advises that, “Turkey can now offer excellent healthcare for those living and working there who are adequately insured, particularly in the major cities. The standards of diagnosis and treatment in the larger centres are much improved, however the position in some of the remoter areas is more complex and evacuation to an urban centre may well be required. We have treated clients around the globe who demonstrated apparently mundane symptoms, such as a trapped nerve, nasal obstruction, chest pains or breathing difficulties, for example. In each of these cases, the medical bill ran into many thousands of pounds. In the case of the client with a nasal obstruction, the bill was £4,500, whilst for the trapped nerve, it exceeded £31,000. You should, therefore, always remember to read your policy carefully to ensure you are covered for likely eventualities, including evacuation cover, which is often needed in a country such as Turkey. If you have your family with you and they are not covered through your main employment contract, you can still obtain high quality protection by taking out top up cover.”
MediCare specialises in designing flexible medical insurance cover backed up with the assurance of 24-hour emergency medical assistance for clients and their families. Help, advice and support are only a telephone call away where trained professionals can authorise treatment/settle bills direct with medical facilities, or arrange medical evacuation when necessary – wherever you are in the world. Most medical bills are refunded within 10 days, making this one of the fastest settlement times in the industry. MediCare International were one of the first insurers to offer genuine chronic care costs cover, so clients with long term medication costs can rest assured knowing they will be covered. Cover under group plans is also available to most local nationals. Discounted group rates start with just 3 lives and full medical history disregarded exemptions are available on groups of 10 and over, making Medicare one of the most competitive staff cover providers.
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International Private Medical Insurance Magazine (IPMIM) is the ultimate online platform and health insurance magazine, servingworldwide expat, corporate, health and travel insurance markets. IPMI Magazine is an internet based news service and health insurance magazine for worldwide healthcare professionals, who need to understand the impacts of healthcare and insurance policy, regulatory, and legislative developments. IPMI Magazine is the leading international industry voice, of the international travel, health, expat, assistance and private medical insurance market. Combined with in depth industry analysis, best-in-class health insurancedata, and exclusive, C-Suite Executive, health insurance interviews and round tables, IPMI Magazine bridges an information gap between healthcare payor, provider and patient. Written by the private medical insurance industry, for the private medical insurance industry, IPMIM is a leading digital health insurance magazine, supported and designed by leading international private medical, health, travel, insurance companies and service providers.
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