Rights and obligations


A foreign person participating in the Czech public health insurance program, in accordance with Act No. 48/1997 Coll., on public health insurance and on changes to certain related laws, as last amended, has the following rights and obligations.

An individual participating in the Czech public health insurance program has the following “rights”:

  1. Choice of a health insurance company: an individual’s choice of a health insurance company can be changed every 12 months – always and only as of January 1 of the following calendar year. The insured (or their legal representative / guardian) submits an application to the selected health insurance company no later than 6 months before the requested date of change. Only one application for a change of one’s health insurance company as of January 1 can be submitted for any given calendar year. If more than one health insurance company application is submitted, these other applications will not be considered, even if they were filed within the prescribed period;
  2. Choice of a healthcare services provider: the insured person has the right to choose their general practitioner, the general practitioner for children and adolescents (pediatrician), their gynecologist, dentist, medical specialists and hospital from among those that have a contract with their (the insured person’s) respective health insurance company. The insured person has the right to change these doctors - providers of health services – once every three months,
  3. Timely and local availability: this relates to the insured person’s right of access to covered services provided by the health insurance company’s contracted providers,
  4. Provision of covered services: the insured person’s right to the covered services to the extent and under the conditions provided for under the law, where the provider may not accept any non-required reimbursement from the insured person for these covered services,
  5. Medicines (drugs) and foods for special medical purposes: the insured person’s right to receive such items without direct payment, in the case of medicines and foods for special medical purposes, as covered by their health insurance company and prescribed in accordance with the law. This right to receive the respective items applies even in situations in which the respective pharmacy has yet to enter into a contract with the health insurance company of the insured person,
  6. Access to information from his/her health insurance company: on the covered services provided to the insured person,
  7. Checking up on / checking into: the healthcare provided and covered by the health insurance company,
  8. Receipts for any regulatory fee paid: upon request, the provider is required to issue a receipt to the insured person paying such a fee,
  9. Receipt for the payment of any required addition charges: as paid by the insured person for only partially insurance covered medical products or foods for special medical purposes, which were received from a pharmacy. Upon request, the pharmacy is required to issue this type of document to the insured person,
  10. For the payment of the amount exceeding the limit: to make payment of the regulatory (co-payment) fees and additional charges, which are to be paid for only partially insurance covered prescribed medicines or foods for special medical purposes, within the deadlines called for under the law.

An individual participating in the Czech public health insurance program has the following “obligations”:

  1. To comply with the requirements of the respective health insurance company,
  2. On the start date of new employment, the insured person must let the employer know about the identity of the employee’s current health insurance company. This same obligation also applies in situations in which the employee changes their health insurance company during the term of their employment. This obligation needs to be complied with within eight (8) days from the date of changing one’s health insurance company. The employer must confirm in writing the receipt of the notifications described above. The employer has the right to require the employee (or former employee) to pay any penalties incurred by the employer in connection with an insured person’s failure to properly notify their employer about a change in their health insurance company or a failure to properly provide such a notification within the required deadlines (i.e. a “late notification”),
  3. To pay the required insurance premiums to the respective health insurance company – unless otherwise provided for under this Act,
  4. To cooperate in the receipt of the provided health care services and any checking up on the progress of the individual treatment procedure(s) and to follow the established treatment regimen, as set by the healthcare provider,
  5. Upon being given the opportunity to do so, to undergo preventative examinations – where so provided for under this Act or other generally binding legal regulations,
  6. To comply with measures to prevent disease,
  7. To avoid activities which would deliberately damage or harm one’s health,
  8. To identify oneself, when seeking health care services, using a valid insurance card (or substitute document) issued by the respective health insurance company. The exception to this requirement is when receiving medicinal products, foods for special medical purposes and medical devices,
  9. To report the loss of (or damage to) one’s health insurance coverage card to one’s health insurance company within eight (8) days of discovering it lost or missing,
  10. To return one’s insurance card to one’s health insurance company within eight (8) days in the event of any of the following:
    1. the termination of the health insurance coverage,
    2. a change of health insurance company;
    3. a long-term stay abroad,
  11. To notify the respective health insurance company of any changes to the insured person’s first name, last name, permanent address or birth numbers. This notification must take place within thirty (30) days from the date of the change. If the insured person is not staying in their registered place of permanent residence, the insured person must notify their health insurance company about the address in the Czech Republic, where they live most of the time,
  12. When a self-employed person is changing their health insurance company, the applicant must submit to their newly selected health insurance company documentation on the amount of their advance premium payments, as calculated using the applicable premium assessment schedule,
  13. To pay the provider of healthcare services the required regulatory fees (co-payment charges),
  14. To reimburse (i.e. “pay”) the provider (or possibly another entity), which provided the insured person with health care services, for any difference between the cost of the health care services provided and the amount reimbursed (i.e. “paid”) the provider by the health insurance company.

A failure to comply with the obligation to pay health insurance premiums does not sever or terminate the insured person’s relationship with their health insurance company. Such a failure to pay premiums also does not mean a loss of the entitlement of the insured person to receive health care services. Instead, for any nonpayment of premiums, the health insurance will assess a penalty and take the appropriate steps to recover from the insured person this penalty, along with any outstanding premiums.

If a foreign person or one of their relatives should become a healthcare patient, they should know that they have certain rights and obligations under Act No. 372/2011 Coll., on health services and the terms and conditions for the providing of such services, as last amended.

A patient has the following “rights”:

  1. A patient can only be provided with medical services if the individual has freely given their informed consent to such treatment – unless otherwise called out in the Act.
  2. The patient has the right to receive health care services at an appropriate level of expertise.
  3. With respect to the medical services being provided to them, the patient has the following rights:
    1. to be treated with respect, to being treated with dignity, to discreteness and respect for the privacy of the patient in the providing of the health care services – as appropriate to the nature of the healthcare services being provided,
    2. to choose a provider authorized to provide healthcare services at a level that is appropriate to dealing with the medical needs of the patient and at a similarly appropriate medical facility – unless this Act or other legislation provides otherwise,
    3. to request a second opinion from another (different) provider (doctor) or another health care professional (other than the one that is providing the respective healthcare services) – this right does not apply in situations in which one is being provided with emergency care nor does it apply to persons in custody, imprisonment or security detention,
    4. to be given information about the applicable internal rules of the inpatient medical facility or the one-day care provider (hereinafter as "internal rules"),
    5. a patient also has the right to the following
      • if a minor, to the continuous presence of a legal representative (guardian) or a person designated as their legal representative, foster parent or another person in whose care the patient has been entrusted by a decision of a court or other authority,
      • if a person has been deprived of their individual legal capacity or if they are a person with limited legal capacity, such that they are not capable of making the requisite judgment on the healthcare services to be provided to them, then that person (as a patient) has the right to the continuous presence of a legal representative (or a person designated as their legal representative),
      • other than the above, a patient has the right to have a close relative (or other person designated to act on their behalf by the patient) be present;
        • note: while the above rights apply they also need to be exercised in accordance with any other applicable laws and the internal rules of the medical facility – and, as long as the presence of such a person does not disrupt the providing of the respective healthcare services; this right does not apply to persons in custody, imprisonment or security detention,
    6. to be informed in advance about the cost of any healthcare services that are to be provided, which are not fully or partially covered by public health insurance; and, should payment from the patient be required, about the methods available for making such payment – note: the above applies if the patient's health condition allows it,
    7. to know the full names of the healthcare personnel and other professionals directly involved in providing the patient with healthcare services – note: the patient also has the right to this information about any person or persons who are present as part of their medical training (e.g., students of medical universities and nursing schools) or who are carrying out activities that are part of a medical training curriculum,
    8. to refuse the presence of persons who are not directly involved in the delivery of their respective healthcare services – note: this includes the right to refuse the presence of persons training for the occupation of being a healthcare worker,
    9. to receive visitors while present in a healthcare facility of the provider of inpatient or one-day care services – note: this right is conditioned on the health condition of the patient and the internal rules of the provider; visits also must not infringe on the rights of other patients – unless this Act or another law otherwise provides,
    10. to receive, in the healthcare facility of the provider of inpatient or one-day care services, spiritual support from churches and religious communities registered in the Czech Republic or from persons involved in religious activities (hereinafter referred to as "spiritual/church person") – note: this support must be provided in accordance with the internal rules of the healthcare provider and in a manner which does not infringe on the rights of other patients and in a manner respectful of the patient’s health condition, unless another law otherwise provides; the visit of a spiritual/church person cannot be denied to a patient in life threatening situations or if there is a serious risk to a patient’s health – unless other legislation otherwise provides,
    11. the patient also has the right to have their healthcare services provided to them in the least restrictive possible – i.e. in an environment that doesn’t interfere with the needed quality and safety of the services being provided,
  4. The patient has the right to choose their provider of healthcare services and to choose the respective medical facility.

A patient has the following “obligations”:

  1. To comply with the requirements for the designated individual medical treatment procedures – if the patient agreed to be provided with such healthcare services,
  2. To follow the internal rules of the medical facility,
  3. To pay the provider the required price for any provided healthcare services, which are not fully or partly covered by a public health insurance company or from other sources. This applies to any medical treatment or care that was provided to the patient with the patient’s consent,
  4. To truthfully inform the treating healthcare professional about their current medical (health) condition. This includes information on infectious diseases, information about any healthcare services provided to the patient by other providers, about their use of medicinal products (including the use of addictive substances) and any other facts essential to the providing of the respective healthcare services,
  5. To not drink alcohol and to not use any other addictive substance during a period of hospitalization; and, where justified and upon the decision of the treating physician, to undergo an examination to establish whether the patient is under the influence of alcohol or any other type of addictive substance.

Charter of Hospitalized Children’s Rights

Children who are patients and their parents have the following rights as foreign nationals.

  1. Children may be admitted to a hospital only if the care they require cannot be equally well provided at home or through outpatient care.
  2. Children in the hospital shall have the right to be in constant contact with their parents and siblings. Wherever possible, the parents should get help and encouragement to stay with the child in the hospital. In order to be able to participate in the care of their child, parents should be fully informed about ward routines and, as applicable, encouraged to actively participate in such routines.
  3. Children and/or their parents have the right to be provided with information in a way that they can understand, based on their age and education. They must also have the opportunity to openly discuss their needs with medical facility staff.
  4. Children and / or their parents have the right to participate (after prior instruction) in all decisions regarding the healthcare that is being provided to them. Each child must be protected from having to undergo any unnecessary treatment procedures. The child has the right to measures to mitigate physical or emotional distress.
  5. Children must be treated with respect and understanding. Their privacy must be constantly respected.
  6. Children must receive their care from appropriately trained staff, who are fully aware of the physical and emotional needs of children of their respective age group.
  7. Children must be allowed to wear their own clothes and to have their own personal belongings with them in the hospital.
  8. A child must be cared for along with other children of the same age group. Hospitalization in adult wards is not permitted (except for emergencies).
  9. Children have the right to be in an environment that is furnished and equipped to meet their developmental needs and requirements. The environment must also comply with generally recognized principles of safety and care for children.
  10. Children have the right to play, rest and learn (be educated) while respecting their age and health status.

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Published: 11.12.2012

Last change: 20.03.2017, 15:56