Health insurance – who has to pay it and how much it is

Absolutely everyone has to pay health insurance – from newborn babies to retired people. But what is health insurance actually for, what is covered, how and how much do we have to pay, and what happens if we don’t pay? Find out in this article.

7 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

What is public health insurance

Public health insurance is compulsory insurance used to pay for health care for the insured. Its rules are regulated by the Public Health Insurance Act. Health insurance is based on the relationship between the recipient of healthcare (i.e. the insured), the healthcare intermediary (e.g. doctor, hospital, etc.) and the healthcare payer (i.e. the insurance company). There are a total of seven health insurance companies in the Czech Republic, from which the insured can freely choose.

When does health insurance come into existence

Health insurance is created:

  1. automatically for all persons on the day of their birth if they are also permanent residents of the Czech Republic.
  2. to a person who has acquired the right to reside permanently in the Czech Republic, or if the person has been entrusted to the care of a person who is registered for permanent residence in the Czech Republic;
  3. other persons without permanent residence under certain conditions (e.g. people working in the Czech Republic, people with a residence permit for the purpose of scientific research, asylum seekers, etc.).

Health insurance does not apply to Czech citizens who have been abroad for more than 6 months and have informed their health insurance company of this situation.

Tip: We often see the following in the form fields: enter the insurance number. What exactly does this number mean, how does it differ from a birth number and where can we find it? This is what we look at in our next article.

What health insurance pays for

What exactly is covered by health insurance is defined in the Public Health Insurance Act as follows: Health insurance covers health services provided to an insured person to improve or maintain his or her health or to alleviate his or her suffering if:

  • they are appropriate to the insured’s state of health and the purpose to be achieved by their provision, and they are reasonably safe for the insured,
  • they are in accordance with current available medical science,
  • there is evidence of their effectiveness in relation to the purpose for which they are provided.

In practice, these include preventive healthcare, reimbursement of some or part of medication, rehabilitation and spa treatment, basic dental care, blood and other samples, hospital stays, transport for medical purposes, certain vaccines or, under certain conditions, artificial insemination.

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Who has to pay health insurance

Every citizen of the Czech Republic, including children and pensioners, must pay health insurance. However, some groups do not pay insurance themselves, but the state pays for them. The payers of the insurance premiums fall into three categories:

  • Insured persons: this includes employees for whom their employer pays health insurance, self-employed persons who pay for their own insurance and persons without taxable income who are not registered with the Labour Office as jobseekers.
  • Employers: Employers are obliged to pay health insurance for their employees. 1/3 is paid by the employee and 2/3 by the employer.
  • State: The state pays insurance for certain groups of people. This includes dependent children, pensioners, women on maternity leave, persons on parental leave, recipients of parental allowance, persons registered with the employment office as job seekers, persons receiving material need assistance benefits, persons dependent on and caring for another person from the second degree of dependence, persons of retirement age without a retirement pension and persons providing full-time care for children. If these persons also earn income in employment or as self-employed persons, health insurance is paid partly by the state and partly by the insured persons themselves.

Tip: Are you planning to hire employees? Employment law can be complex and sometimes even a small deviation from it can cause big problems later on. We can help you navigate them and set up your employment documents in accordance with the law.

How much does health insurance cost

There are different minimum health insurance premiums for each group of payers:

  • Self-employed persons: the health insurance advance paid by self-employed persons is based on the minimum assessment base, which is determined as twelve times the average wage in the national economy (calculated from all wages of Czech workers). This year it is CZK 2 968. As these are advance payments, the total at the end of the year may result in an underpayment or overpayment of health insurance. The underpayment must then be paid within 8 days of filing the statement. The insurance company will only reimburse the overpayment if it exceeds CZK 200 within one month of the overpayment being discovered.
  • State: The amount paid by the state on behalf of the insured is regulated by a government regulation from the previous year. It shows that the state pays a total of CZK 2 085 per month per insured person.
  • PERSON: Persons without taxable income pay 13.5% of the minimum assessment base. This year, the amount is CZK 2 552.
  • Employee/employer: The employer pays for the employee’s health insurance at 13.5% of the assessment base. One third is deducted from the employee’s wages and two thirds is paid out of the employee’s own resources.

Tip: You may see various deductions from your pay on your payslip. Sometimes it’s a food stamp allowance, a multisport card or other benefits, or there may be a compensation line item. You can find out when such deductions are justified and when they are not in our next article.

When and where to pay health insurance

Again, health insurance is paid differently for each group of payers:

  • Self-employed persons: self-employed persons pay their advance payments for health insurance by the 8th of the following month (e.g. for January, payment must be made no later than 8 February). The insurance is paid to your health insurance company with the variable symbol assigned to you or, in the case of a lump sum, to the tax administration.
  • PWD: PWDs are also obliged to pay their health insurance directly to their health insurance company by the 8th of the following month. The variable symbol in this case is your insurance number or special insurance number.
  • Employee/employer: the employee does not have to deal with when and where to pay the health insurance, as his/her employer handles this for him/her. The employer must therefore always pay the insurance by the 20th of the following month to the employee’s health insurance company. In addition, they also have to report the premium payments to all their employees’ insurers every month.

Tip: Do your current advances not match your current income? Find out how to reduce advances for the self-employed.

What if you don’t pay health insurance

It is always compulsory to pay health insurance. So if your employer or the state does not pay it for you, you must pay it yourself. The good news is that even if you don’t pay health insurance, you are still entitled to free healthcare. But that doesn’t mean it’s worth not paying.

Because if you don’t pay, you’ ll incur a debt and a penalty of 0.0403 per cent of the amount you owe. The insurance company should inform you of this debt and you should start addressing it as soon as possible. Insurance companies are often willing to agree to a payment plan and in some cases will even waive all or part of the penalty. But you need to take action and not ignore the debt. Otherwise, the bailiff may come to your home.

Tip: Have you been contacted by a bailiff and are facing foreclosure, car repossession and account seizure? What can you do in such a situation, what are your rights and what can and cannot the bailiff do with your property? Read our next article.

Employer does not pay health insurance

As an employee, you may find that your employer will not pay for your health insurance. Fortunately for you, you are off the hook as an employee and will not be affected by any debts or penalties. Everything in this case is up to the employer. However, it is a good idea to inform your health insurance company of this situation.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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