Important Update on SGK As a result of our continued discussions with the SGK Directorate and a meeting with the Head of SGK on Thursday 6th February 2014, SGK have proposed a change in the existing rules governing the eligibility of British nationals who are in receipt of a UK state pension to register with SGK. As we reported in December 2013, the Pensions Department of the SGK Directorate had decided to enforce an existing rule that foreign nationals in receipt of a state pension were not entitled to benefit from health care under SGK as they were deemed to have cover provided by their own country even where, as with British nationals, this is not the case. Due to the Turkish official definition of the term ‘retired’, some British nationals have been removed from the scheme, regardless of whether they were in receipt of a UK state pension or not, in accordance with this ruling. Some British nationals have received letters to this effect, others have found out whilst receiving routine health treatments. The Head of SGK has accepted our representations, that to remove British nationals from the scheme in this way is unfair treatment, especially as most were forced to join the scheme when it was classed as compulsory. Amending the laws governing eligibility for British nationals in receipt of a UK state pension requires secondary legislation. We have been advised by the Head of SGK that the introduction of this legislation would take around a month. The proposed amendment would allow all British nationals in receipt of a UK state pension to continue to be eligible for healthcare under SGK. However, a person in receipt of such a pension could not be a dependant on their spouse’s membership but must hold individual membership. This is the same rule which applies to Turkish nationals. In the meantime, we have been informed that, with immediate effect, all policy cancellations/removals of retired British nationals from the scheme should have been stopped. We will continue to monitor the progress of this amendment and its impact on the British community in Turkey.
Published on Feb 10, 2014