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Problems faced by foreigners at the birth of a child in Slovakia

The birth of a small person is a wonderful event, but also a great responsibility for his parents. This is even more difficult when parents are abroad and do not know what to expect. They do not know how to talk to doctors because of the language barrier, do not understand what is being done in Slovakia, how quickly you need to draw up documents after childbirth, etc. They have a huge number of questions that they do not always get answers to.

Every mother in Slovakia, even a foreign mother, is entitled to maternity benefits if she has worked at least 270 days in the past two years. This is a great condition, but unfortunately it also affects public health insurance if she is a foreigner with temporary residence in Slovakia, which is a much more serious problem. In the end, we all understand that health insurance is certainly necessary during and after childbirth.

If within two years the mother fails to comply with the requirement for 270 days of sickness insurance, she will not be lucky and will not receive state insurance when going on maternity leave, which means that she will lose state health insurance at 32-34 weeks of pregnancy. This, of course, is not very pleasant at such a late stage of pregnancy. The only normal way to solve this problem is commercial insurance or payment for all procedures. Commercial insurance for pregnant foreign women is offered by only one single health insurance company.

Then there is childbirth. According to the law - if at least one of the foreign parents with temporary residence in Slovakia is insured, the newborn automatically receives health insurance in Slovakia. Unfortunately, in practice it is different. Insurance companies, violating the law, refuse to insure the most vulnerable - newborns, on the grounds that they require a newborn to have a residence permit and proof of residence (an analogue of an ID card).

A specific case from practice.

Ms. A., a citizen from a third country, had a temporary residence permit in Slovakia for the purpose of studying, and in August 2018 applied for a change to employment. The deadline for making a decision is 90 days. At this time, she became pregnant and received a residence permit only in April 2019, subsequently receiving state health insurance from April. The lengthy decision-making process, of course, did not contribute to her mental well-being, and in April, due to complications, she had to go to the hospital, where in early May she gave birth to a son in the seventh month of pregnancy. Within the 60-day period prescribed by law, she applied for her son's insurance, and consistently all three health insurance companies refused to cover her son, because, in violation of the law, they demanded a residence permit. I repeat again, the child was born at 7 months pregnant, she needed urgent help and an increased number of examinations after discharge from the hospital. The mother has state medical insurance, she received a temporary residence permit, the birth of a child gives her the right to obtain a residence permit, the mother applied for insurance for the child within the 60-day period established by law, but she has not yet received medical insurance for the baby.

These difficulties can spoil the mood, the sense of security of the mother and her child and undermine confidence in Slovakia as a rule of law. After all, what kind of country are we if insurance companies, despite their legal duty, refuse to insure the most vulnerable and the weakest - newborn children and their mothers, who are often left without health insurance when they go on maternity leave.

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