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Cyprus - Health Service
However, some expats may have difficulty understanding certain treatments or care options. In such a situation, expats should be clear when explaining the current health issue to doctors. Sometimes it's even wise to bring a notepad to doctor's appointments, in order to write down the doctor's response which can be later translated if needed. Expats should always ask their doctor new questions that occur or even have them repeat themselves, if something in not understood completely. Emergency medical treatment in Cyprus is free to all expats and citizens. Care for in-patients and out-patients usually incurs a fee. Citizen from the European Union are eligible for free health insurance at state hospitals only in the southern region of the country. Expats who live in the north of Cyprus need to have private insurance.
Public healthcare in Cyprus
Public healthcare in the Republic of Cyprus is administered by the Ministry of Health and also financed by taxes. Those expats who are permanent residents, and any EU citizens, are always eligible for free healthcare. Expats will receive their state medical card once they have registered for social insurance. The ministry recognizes patients of three different categories, which are based on income, chronic illnesses and number of children. So, there are people who receive medical treatment free of charge, those who pay some reduced fees, and those who pay for it fully.
Private healthcare in Cyprus
All non-EU residents who are unable to use these state health benefits, and expats who prefer to have private health insurance, should pay attention when signing up for a healthcare plan. Many expats choose a private healthcare policy, because it gives them a wider choice of hospitals and facilities. It also enables them to skip long waiting lists in the public sector, which occurs occasionally. A variety of schemes are available to expats in Cyprus, each one made individually based on certain criteria.
Expats in Cyprus can choose between two main private health insurance options. Some prefer the flexibility of international private medical care, while others choose the significantly cheaper premiums with local private insurance companies. Treatments are usually paid for up-front, and reimbursed within 30 days. Depending on the type of policy, it is not always necessary to notify the provider before receiving a medical treatment. Most companies offer a 24-hour free number if patients have issues or queries.
Pharmacies in Cyprus
There are a variety of pharmacies across the island of Cyprus, especially in highly populated areas such as Larnaca, Paphos and Lemosos. Pharmacies are generally open from 9am until noon, then reopen from 3pm to 7pm.
Expats who require a prescription for controlled substances in Cyprus must bring an original script with them, when visiting a doctor. Although foreign prescriptions are not officially recognized and some pharmacists may refuse to take them, there's still a possibility that some of them will accept them. When these prescriptions are not accepted, expats should try to book an appointment with a local doctor. Most of them don't charge for writing minor prescriptions, such as for birth control. When it comes to major drugs, they may require one or more visits. As it largely depends on the doctor, expats shouldn't be afraid to ask anything about their prescriptions.
Emergency services in Cyprus
In Cyprus there are nationwide emergency services, like in the most other countries. But, considering the size of the island, expats often rely on neighbours and friends to drive them to hospital. Most private hospitals have their own ambulance services, but they charge for patient trasportation.
Emergency numbers in Cyprus
112 - General emergency number for EU countries
199 - The local emergency number in Cyprus
Finding a suitable facility
As the private clinics and hospitals are located all over the island, those who choose private sector treatments must be aware that they have to either pay their own costs or take out private health insurance. Anyone who works in Cyprus, regardless of nationality and residency, has to make social security payments. This is called Social Insurance and all payments can be made through an employer, or in the case of self-employed expats, independently at the District Labour Office.
EU citizens who pay into the system can also apply for a "Medical Card" which entitles them to state medical cover. These medical cards are only issued to Cypriots and EU citizens who reside permanently in Cyprus.
Government medical services can provide subsidised medical coverage to citizens. This largely depends on a person's status, such as their employment or past employment, family status and income level. A qualifying person is issued with a white Medical Card, based on the aforementioned criteria. All the details about the criteria and income brackets can be found on the official website of the Ministry of Health. This also contains some explanatory notes about the medical card application form.
The cost of health treatment
Those who don't qualify for the Medical Card can use the public medical facilities. The rate for this is €15 for a visit to a general practitioner and €30 for a visit to a specialist. Cypriot citizens and permanent EU residents of Cyprus can be also charged a nominal fee, but it is much cheaper than the fee for non-EU citizens and temporary EU residents. If in-patient treatment is required, the fee can be reduced for anyone, depending on their income level, regardless of nationality. Everyone, including Cypriots, have to pay a €10 fee if treatment in an accident and emergency unit is needed. This fee is normally paid at the hospital upon arrival. EU and Cypriot pensioners are exempted from this cost.
The doctor’s fees can be paid at the registration desk in the hospital department or health centre. Fees for medicines and any laboratory test results must be paid in advance, by purchasing "health stamps". Stamps have the value of €0.50, €1,00, €2,00 and €5,00 and can be bought at the registration or administration desks at public hospitals, health centers and even post offices. The health stamps are affixed to the prescription or laboratory test form.
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Expat Health Insurance Partners
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