On Thursday, 15 July 2021, the President “quietly” signed an amendment to Act No. 326/1999 Coll., the Act on the Residence of Foreigners in the Czech Republic. This amendment became effective on 2 August 2021 and it brought a number of changes for foreigners with long-term residence in the Czech Republic.

One of the significant changes is the paragraph concerning the Comprehensive Health Insurance for Foreigners. Foreigners who are not covered by public health insurance or who do not qualify for any other exemption are obligated to conclude this comprehensive insurance within 90 days of entering the territory of the Czech Republic. Until now, foreigners could conclude this insurance with the following insurance companies: VZP, Ergo, Maxima, Slavia, Uniqa and AXA. However, with the coming effectiveness of the amendment to the law from 2 August 2021, this insurance can only be concluded with the insurance company VZP, a.s. Moreover, this monopoly will last for 5 years. The insurance the foreigners could have taken out with other insurance companies in the financial range of CZK 10 – 15,000 per year, will now be provided only by VZP. And to make matters worse, it is possible for the price of insurance with VZP to increase to somewhere around CZK 26,000!

If, for example, a foreign family of four comes to the Czech Republic and wants to apply for a visa for a 1-year stay, they will be unpleasantly surprised to find that the mandatory Comprehensive Insurance for a visa costs over CZK 100,000 per year.
For current foreigners with long-term residence, it may be a slight reassurance that travel health insurance contracts concluded before 2 August 2021 will remain valid in the future. And the first swallows are beginning to appear in the sky, for example in the form of the Slavia insurance company, which allows its existing clients to extend their existing insurance contract by 1 to 60 months. However, this can only be done once. Let us hope that other insurance companies that used to offer Comprehensive Insurance for Foreigners will follow Slavia’s lead and improve the possible extension. However, for the foreigners newly coming to the Czech Republic, there is a sad obligation to take out insurance with VZP without any freedom of choice.