Posted on: 24-06-2021 in Expats
Health is perhaps the most important thing in life. Gandhi once said that “health is the real wealth.” Living as an expat in Cyprus means that you might experience health problems in a country far away from your country of origin. A comprehensive healthcare coverage would minimise risks and stress, ensuring that all problems would be dealt with efficiently. In this blog, we will scrutinise the options of the healthcare system in Cyprus and what expats should do to have the coverage they need.
The answer is, of course, yes, just like in every EU country. There is a public healthcare system similar to the NHS in the UK. In Cyprus, it is called GESY, which is the acronym for the national healthcare system and the keyword that you should use when you search for answers online. GESY was launched in 2019, after almost 17 years of negotiations in the Cypriot parliament. According to the GESY website, it is a modern, patient-centric healthcare system with the aim of delivering quality healthcare services to beneficiaries.
There are several categories of GESY beneficiaries. Below you can see the list:
In order to enrol in the GESY Beneficiary Registry, individuals should be registered in the Civil Registry, or the Registry of the Migration Department and/or the Social Insurance Services. There are two ways to enrol: a) online by using the portal or b) by visiting a personal doctor.
The first step to access the said portal is to create an account via the Health Insurance Organisation website and activate it. Individuals will then be connected to the Beneficiary Portal and can proceed with the enrolment following the relevant instructions. The enrolment process requires that the interested party fills in specific fields in order to be identified in the abovementioned Registries. Additional information such as an address, phone number etc. will be requested.
If you don’t have access to the internet or you are not feeling comfortable completing the process online, you can visit a personal doctor who would do this for you. During the visit, individuals may also complete their registration in the personal doctor list.
It should be noted that full access to GESY services is given when the beneficiary is registered in the list of a personal doctor of their choice. Beneficiaries hold the right to change their personal doctor two times per year. The list of provided services can be found here.
The main GESY source of financing is contributions. The GESY contribution is 2.65% on an employee’s gross salary, with the legislation capping the income to €180,000 per year. Employers contribute 2.90% on the salaries of every person employed by them. Pensioners and various income earners have to pay similar contributions as regular employees. Self-employed people are obliged to contribute 4.0% of their gross income to the GESY every month.
Private healthcare services in Cyprus can be accessed by people who have taken out medical insurance policies. Of course, having medical insurance requires the payment of monthly or annual premiums that could weigh on your budget. If you want to make the right choice, we advise getting in touch with insurance experts such as our team of advisers at Holborn Assets who are fully qualified to help you.
While Cyprus has an above-average healthcare infrastructure, sometimes patients prefer to travel to Israel, Greece or other EU countries where they could receive better treatment. Some insurance policies cover the expenses so this is one more factor that you should take into consideration.
The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) allows UK citizens and residents to obtain healthcare at a reduced cost or even for free, replacing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which provided the same benefits to UK citizens and residents when the UK was a member of the EU.
UK residents, including non-British nationals, can apply for a GHIC using a form on the NHS website. The form includes data such as full name, address, date of birth, National Insurance or NHS number (CHI number for Scotland and Health and Care number for Northern Ireland). Obtaining a GHIC has zero cost.
In case of a medical emergency, you can use your GHIC to receive the necessary medical treatment in the EU. A GHIC doesn’t cover treatment from a private provider. It should be noted that a GHIC cannot be used in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
Health problems and treatments could affect the life quality of an expat living in Cyprus. Being prepared for an unfortunate medical situation is the best solution for you. Our team at Holborn Assets is fully qualified to give you the right piece of advice regarding medical insurance and your options in Cyprus.
With two offices in Limassol and Paphos and more than 50 independent financial advisers, Holborn Assets is the financial services provider you would want to have by your side during your life as an expat. Get in touch with us today!