The cost of medical procedures in Cyprus will depend on whether you, as an expat resident:
• are signed up with the national insurance scheme
• have private insurance
• have a combination of national and top-up private insurance to cover procedures, such as dental and optical care, which do not fall under the national scheme
• do not have insurance at all and are intending to pay out-of-pocket for any treatment that you receive.
We will look at each of these options in turn, and undertake some comparisons.Note that the information below covers expat residents in the south of Cyprus. If you are in the north, you will need to take out private health insurance.
What is covered by state health insurance?
If you are eligible for the national scheme, you will be covered for:
• basic medical care
• specialist care
• laboratory work
• maternity care
• some prescriptions
You can also buy ‘stamps’ for costs for lab tests and medicines – these are vouchers from €.50 up to €10.00. You can get these from hospitals, medical centres or the post office.
How does the national scheme work?
The national healthcare scheme in Cyprus, known as Gesy, has recently been set in place and is still undergoing revision. It isn’t compulsory to join it, but if you are working on the island your employer may sign you up for it as part of your employment package. You will be entitled to use the scheme as long as you are making contributions.
Contributions from 1 March 2020 will be:
• 2.65% for employees and pensioners
• 2.90% for employers
• 4.70% for the government
• 4% for self-employed people
The national scheme is free at the point of delivery: you will, however, be paying into the system from your salary.
How much do health procedures cost?
From 2020, patients registered under the national scheme will need to make small co-payments as follows:
• per pharmaceutical product: €1
• per medical device or sanitary article: €1
• laboratory examination or laboratory test group: €1
• visiting a specialist: €6
• per health care service in radiology / radio diagnostics: €10
• per visit to a nurse or midwife: €6
• visiting another healthcare professional: €10
Access to GPs and inpatient services will be free at the point of delivery, unless you exceed the number of visits per year determined by your age group, or you are exempt; for instance, if you have a chronic illness. The planned excess fee will be €15-20 per visit.
If you do not have an income – for example unemployed people, children, students and soldiers – you will still have equal access to healthcare services.
The annual co-payment ceiling is set at:
• general population: €150
• low income pensioners, Recipients of Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit, and children: €75
If you don’t qualify for public health insurance, or opt not to register with the system, you have a choice of out-of-pocket payments or private cover. Cyprus has 75 private hospitals and clinics, along with a number of smaller providers. Some examples of out-of-pocket costs for basic treatment are roughly as follows:
• GP visit: €50
• one-day stay in hospital (without treatment): €150-200
• 3-4 day hospitalisation for giving birth: €2000-3000
• pediatrician’s services (birth and 6-7 consultations ): €400-500
• basic dental treatment: €100 – 200
• dental implants: €300
• cataract surgery: €1600
Many expats and visitors choose this route, and Cyprus has become a destination for medical tourism from dental care to elective plastic surgery, as treatment is of a high standard but cheaper than the US and elsewhere in Europe.
Some private clinics will offer free consultations for various procedures, so it is worth shopping around.
Taking out private health insurance
You may have to opt for private cover if you are a higher earning expat: Cypriot state health cover is based on income, and residents who earn more than €37,590 have to pay the full cost of treatment. Therefore, expats with a higher income often take out private medical insurance.
As with other private schemes, taking out cover can allow you quicker access to treatment: Cyprus’ public health system, as in most other European nations, sometimes has long waiting lists. You can either choose international cover – perhaps extending existing health care plans from your home country – or go with a local private provider, which is likely to be cheaper. In addition to speed and comfort, private insurance will cover you for treatments such as:
• Cosmetic surgery
• Advanced dental treatment
• IVF treatment
You may still need to pay for treatment upfront, but will then need to contact your provider to be reimbursed. You do not necessarily need to tell them beforehand that you are going in for treatment.
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