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Greece - Healthcare and Medical Treatment
Form E111 and Electronic Health Cards
You should obtain a new transitional E111 form for travel to Greece until the advent of the new electronic European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in December 2005. The transitional forms can be obtained free of charge from your local office in your home country.
In Greece take the E111 form to the local IKA (The Social Insurance Foundation) office to have it exchanged for an IKA medical/health booklet. Note that in Greece the E111 is only valid for 1 year. With the advent of the EHIC card the system could change. Check at your local IKA office on arrival in Greece for the latest information.
EU and Non-EU Citizens
U.S.Citizens see http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/greece.html
If you are legally working in Greece and paying into the National Health scheme, IKA or another, you are entitled to free health care under the Greek scheme when you have paid up 50 'stamps' or days work.
If you are covered under the IKA scheme above you can make an appointment for any doctor or specialist by phoning 184, the national appointments phone line. You will not be required to pay for treatment.
Those covered by IKA will receive free hospital treatment if required. You must show your IKA book or Form E111. For any emergency go to the Accident and Emergency Department - "ENTANTIKH".
Dental treatment is free under the IKA scheme but is limited. If you need crowns or other cosmetic treatment you will need to go privately.
Greek Pharmacists are highly trained and can provide advice for the treatment of common illnesses. Most drugs in Greece are available over the counter without a prescription, including antibiotics. Prescriptions issued by IKA doctors are charged between 10% and 25% of the cost so if you qualify for IKA it is worth going to the doctor first for a prescription.
There is always at least one 'duty' pharmacy open out-of-hours , around the clock. Each pharmacy displays a list of the duty pharmacies for that day.
If you are not covered by the Greek National Health Service you should ensure that you have private health insurance, as treatment, or an unexpected stay in hospital, can be costly. Even those covered by IKA or another National Insurance may wish to take out private health insurance for better treatment, as the standards of hospital care in particular may not be what you would expect at home. There are many private clinics in the main towns and on the islands which have all the latest equipment, good doctors and nursing care, plus private rooms with TV and phone. Private clinics are very expensive so unless you have private health insurance the cost is usually prohibitive.
There are many GPs and specialists who work privately. Most have their surgery/office in an apartment in a block in town. Their rates are reasonable, between 30 and 50 Euros for a consultation. Some have studied outside of Greece and may speak excellent English, while others will speak very little.
Information courtesy of Carol Palioudaki, author of The Cool Guide to Living in Crete, available at www.livingincrete.net
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