This insurance, Genel Sağlık Siğortası (GSS) is not compulsory for us as UK citizens but we decided that we wanted to take it out. We want to pay into the system and we want to be sure we will be covered in the long term. Maybe because we both worked for the NHS (and Hilary worked in a private hospital for a while) we are somewhat wary of private healthcare.
Our understanding has been that we were not entitled to apply for this until we had been in Turkey for a full year. We knew they would want to see our Ikamet (residence permits) and those started just over a year ago.
So, off we went to Tire with a whole load of documents and photocopies. Arriving at the SGK office we took a number – 70 – they were currently on 48 and we despaired of being seen before lunch… Despair was short-lived as they romped through the numbers (many of the numbers appeared not to have associated tickets, or maybe the people with the tickets had given up and gone home) – we waited less than a quarter of an hour. The lady behind the desk took our Ikamets, kimlik numbers, and our translated, notarised wedding certificate. She did not ask for any other papers. She was about to photocopy them when we called out to her that we had already done this. She checked that our photocopies were adequate for her purposes and issued Ashley with a form to fill in. He filled it in…
We were passed to a very pleasant man in the office behind the desk. He told us that the system was down and he would phone us and tell us what we needed to do next. He wrote on a piece of paper that Ashley wanted to register for Genel Sağlık Siğortası for himself and his wife. Ashley signed it. We established that we didn’t have to hang around in Tire, went for a wander and lunch, were home by 14:00 (having done some shopping on the way).
The man from Tire phoned at about half past five. Our address is not on the system. He said we needed to go to the Nüfüs office in Selçuk to get it confirmed and on the system. He did not think we would need to go back to Tire. We looked the office up on the Internet and it is on the 3rd floor of the Belediye building where the Tapu office is.
The following morning, on arrival at the Belediye building we found the Nüfüs and explained to the lady behind the desk that we needed our address confirmation for the GSS. She looked at our Ikamets, kimlik numbers, and at a bill we had bought along to prove where we lived and gave us some signed and stamped papers verifying our address. She was of the view that we should take the stamped papers to the SGK office in Tire.
In the afternoon we delivered these to the office in Tire. We were recognised on arrival, the papers we had brought were added to our file. We were told we would be phoned when we were on the system.
This took a while. We saw on various expat forums that people were being told that the system was down and there was a public holiday but about 5 working days later, Hilary was showing a visiting friend around Ephesus when the man from the Tire office phoned her to say we are on the system and we needed to go to the bank to pay our bill.
This morning we popped into Halk Bank here in Selçuk, took a ticket, queued for around 40 minutes (they were very busy), told the cashier we wanted to pay our GSS – he took Ashley’s kimlik number and asked us for 248 lira. We reckon that’s for about three days of August and the regular sum due on 1st September but only time will tell…