Healthcare in Cyprus is cheap and effective, and is big reason many people relocate to the island. Cyprus healthcare system is divided in two: public and private sectors. Public healthcare is either inexpensive or free, and even private healthcare costs can be quite affordable. Both state-funded and private hospitals can be found in all of Cyprus's major cities. Also, emergency medical treatment in Cyprus is free to citizens and expats alike, but medical attention for “in and out” patients will most probably incur a fee.
Public health system
The public health sector is managed by the Ministry of Health and provides free services to approximately 83% of the population with the medical card. Public coverage includes dental, mental health and pharmaceutical services, as well as general public health resources.
People entitled to the medical card, but don’t get free coverage (the 17%), pay €3 for a visit to a General Practitioner and the sum of €6 for a visit to a Specialist. In addition, they will pay a fee of €0,50 for each prescribed pharmaceutical product and €0,50 for each laboratory test with a maximum charge of €10 per medicine prescription or per laboratory test prescription form respectively.
- Non beneficiaries (non medical card holders) can still use the services of public hospitals but have to pay €15 for visiting a General Practitioner and €30 for a visit to a Specialist.
Obtaining medical card
- According to the Government Medical Institutions and Services Laws of 1978 to 2013, no benefit is granted to a person unless that person:
- contributed at the Social Insurance scheme for a minimum period of three years. Assimilated insurance periods are included.
- at the date of application for healthcare benefits, has submitted personal income tax declaration, in pursuant of Article 5 provisions of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes Laws.
- As a rule Medical Cards are issued to Cypriots and EU citizens who reside permanently in Cyprus.
- Medical Card is issued to the following people:
- People without dependants whose annual income does not exceed €15,400.00.
- Members of families whose annual income does not exceed €30,750.00, increased by €1,700.00 for each dependant child.
- People included in Table 1 Part ΙΙΙ of Regulation 3 of the Cypriot Ministry of Health.
- People suffering from a chronic disease included in Table 6, Part I(Α) of Regulation 8 of the Cypriot Ministry of Health.
- People suffering from a chronic disease included in Table 6, Part I(B) of Regulation 8 of the Cypriot Ministry of Health, whose annual family income does not exceed €150,000.00.
You can apply for the Medical Card here
The private sector alternative
People who are unable to take advantage of state health benefits or prefer to take out private health insurance usually do it to access a wider variety of hospitals and facilities, and to skip the public sector's occasionally long waiting lists.
In addition to covering the costs of treatment at private medical facilities, private health insurance allows policyholders faster access to treatment than the national insurance.
There are two main private health insurance options available, the international private medical cover, and the local private medical insurance companies.
- The international coverage is more expensive, but you can bring it from wherever you come from and it will also cover you if you decide to travel from Cyprus elsewhere in a trip or relocation.
- The local private sector has considerably cheaper premiums, but can only be used in Cyprus.
Treatment is often paid for upfront by the patient and is reimbursed within the month. Depending on the policy, it shouldn't be necessary to notify the provider before receiving treatment, although most companies do offer a 24-hour toll-free number should patients have any issues or queries.
What to do!!
- If your intention is to go to Cyprus to work, the public health system may be your best option. Also see if your employer provides health care.
- If you are a constant traveller, the international private health care may be your best option.
- If you are just going to Cyprus a short period of time and can’t get the medical card, then a local private sector will be your best call.