Cyprus is a European Union member country located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. It was a former British colony, which achieved independence only in 1960. Its population, mostly of Middle East descent, is estimated at only 792,604 as of 2008.
Cyprus health system is of good standards. Life Expectancy is high at 79 years for men and about 82 years for women. Infant mortality is low at 5 infant deaths per 1000 of the population. Further, crude death rate is at 6.9 persons per 1000 of the population.
Cyprus provides priority to its health care system and actively promotes preventive medicine. Many medical professionals are foreign trained particularly in the United Kingdom. Cyprus’ health care system is being trusted not only by local residents but also by other foreign nationals who come to Cyprus for health reasons. Healthcare is inexpensive with State hospitals practically free and private health insurance is available at low cost. This is most especially important in emergency and accident situations with drug cost kept at a low minimum.
There are a number of expatriates currently living in Cyprus. Most of them are British migrants and several overseas workers from Thailand, Philippines, and Sri Lanka. Cyprus also hosts refugees from Serbia, Palestine, and Lebanon. The Polish population is also growing since Cyprus joined the European Union. . As expats, it has been advised in Cyprus Expat Forum last April 18, 2009 that:
Take a look at this info from the NHS regarding healthcare in Cyprus. It should answer a lot of questions you may have.
Environmental conditions are amongst the reasons why foreign nationals are attracted to settling in Cyprus. It has a tropical climate, which is mild temperate. There are no heavy industries that significantly contribute to air pollution. Sewage disposal and good sanitation system is present to ensure hygienic environment. Quality of water is good with the presence of piped water system.
Cyprus Health Care at a Glance
Health care in Cyprus is of high standards, which is recognized by the World Health Organization to be at par with developed countries. To illustrate, foreign nationals entering Cyprus is not required to undertake any vaccinations because epidemics and infectious diseases throughout the country is low. Food and water safety are also being strictly monitored by the Medical and Public Health Services Department.
Government hospitals are located in all the major cities. Smaller government-run hospitals and clinics are present in other areas of the country. There are also a number of private hospitals and clinics run by medical practitioners who were mostly trained overseas.
Health care is also generally inexpensive. Medical services are being provided by three sectors: the government, private, and several other schemes covering certain sections of the population. State hospitals offer free services while private health insurance can be obtained at a modest rate.
Emergency treatment is provided free of charge but succeeding in- and out-patient treatments are paid by unqualified persons. Examples of qualified persons are low income Cypriots such as unmarried persons with incomes less than 9,000 CY£ or families with incomes less than 18,000 CY£. European Union nationals on temporary residency, at certain conditions, can also claim free medical benefits in government hospitals.
Social insurance in Cyprus
Anyone working in Cyprus, regardless of nationality or residency, must register for social insurance from the District Labor Office. The District Labor Office will in turn issue a medical card. This card allows your coverage under the existing social insurance system. Each cardholder is entitled to pensions and benefits with contribution amounting to 16.6% of earnings, with 6.3% paid by employee and employer with the remainder paid for by the State.
There are two kinds of medical cards issued depending on the income status of an individual or a family. One is the Medical Card ‘A’, which provides free medical benefits. Income requirements for unmarried individuals should be 9,000 CY£ or less. It is also issued to families with a required minimum annual income of 18,000 CY£ if there are no dependents. Minimum income requirements is adjusted to 1,000 CY£ for each additional child.
The other card is the Medical Card ‘B’, which provides partial payments on medical services and medicines. It is issued to individuals without dependents with an annual income between 9,000 and 12,000 CY£. Medical Card ‘B’ is also issued to families with three children with an average annual income between 18,000 and 22,000 CY£.
People with income beyond the specified amounts required by the two cards will have to pay CY£7 for a medical consultation and around CY£50 per day for in-patient hospital care.
European Union nationals who paid their social insurance in their home countries for a certain minimum period will be given free health access but only for a limited period of time, which at present is at two years upon completion of all the necessary documentary requirements. This coverage entitles an individual and their family to free or subsidized medical and dental treatment.
Special Health Schemes and Preventive Medicine in Cyprus
There are two special health schemes that are extended to employed foreign nationals who are contributing to Cyprus’ social security. The first is the provision of primary health care through an assistance extended by Trade Unions to employed persons and their dependents. The other is the provision of free medical care in public health facilities sponsored directly by the employer.
The Cypriot government is also very active in launching campaigns and initiating activities on preventive medicine. Such services include health awareness, immunizations, proper disposal of sewage and wastes, strict control on drinking water and food quality, and control of potential epidemics and infectious diseases, among others.
Private Health Insurance In Cyprus
Foreign nationals who intend to visit Cyprus, either on a short- or long-term basis, may not be qualified to social health care insurance. It is advisable that visitors avail of a private health insurance during their stay in Cyprus. They can bring in their existing health insurance provided that international use is allowed and that Cypriot hospitals are accredited. As shared in Cyprus Expat Forum last March 19,2009:
Once you arrive you just go the General Hospital and register. As a pensioner you are entitled to free healthcare. Take your E121 along with you and proof of residence in cyprus.
As for your pension, you can choose to have it paid either into your account in the Uk or a sterling account here. Unfortunately no matter what you do you will only get the going rate for sterling against the Euro and as you know it is very weak at the moment.
There are benefits to having private health insurance that even qualified foreign residents and Cypriots also avail private health insurance. For one, it offers faster health services because of the wider selection of healthcare personnel and facilities in their pool unlike in public health insurance where the waiting list is long. There is a wide range of private health insurance providers in Cyprus. Some of them are locally owned while others are international insurance companies.
Normally, private health insurance only covers treatments and services provided by their accredited specialists and hospitals. A certain cost limit is also pegged for each illness or annual services availed. Thus when choosing a health insurance, the amount of medical bills and range of illnesses that can be covered should be considered.
Insurance premiums vary with the insurance provider. In general, more benefits and coverage is provided by insurance providers that require higher premiums. It should also be noted that oftentimes coverage is only up to the age of 60. The insurance will charge additional premiums to those over 60. There are also special policies for certain conditions, i.e., pregnant women.
Health Care Developments in Cyprus
The Cypriot government gives high priority in improving its health policy. A National Health System (NHS) was enacted into law by the House of Representatives last April 20, 2001. It addresses the concern on fragmentation of services, lack of coordination between the private and public health sector, and lack of equitable financing.
Moreover, the Cypriot government is expecting that a growing number of its elderly population will require new services. This is being addressed through the provision of commercial incentives to rapidly disseminate and bring about technology advances in the form of equipment or pharmaceuticals.