Healthcare in Cyprus
Being a prosperous European country Cyprus has a developed healthcare system. Evidence of that is Cypriots’ long life expectancy – 81 years by men and 85 years by women (surely the cause of Cyprus residents’ longevity is not only good medicine but also healthy environmental conditions, wonderful climate and comfortable stress-free living – more detailed information is available on other pages of Section “Life in Cyprus”).
National Health System (GESY)
Who is eligible to use GESY services?
GESY services are used by all citizens of the Republic of Cyprus and foreigners permanently residing in the Republic of Cyprus. Among the latter:
- Citizens of other EU countries permanently residing in Cyprus (holders of Yellow Slip), as well as their family members,
- third-country nationals permanently residing in Cyprus (holders of indefinite immigration permits and permanent residence), as well as their family members
Please note that the services of the GESY system cannot be used by foreign tourists and holders of a temporary residence permit (pink slip).
How does GESY work?
First, you need to register in the system and select a therapist (family doctor) from the list of doctors who have joined it.
All medical services are received through your therapist. It is the therapist who directs you to the laboratory for analysis and to various specialists, and also writes out prescriptions for the medication you need. Specialized doctors also have the right to write prescriptions, but you can get a prescription from them only after a visit to a therapist and an appropriate referral to a specialized doctor.
Once you receive a referral from a GP, you can choose any laboratory, specialist doctor or clinic that has joined GESY.
Types of GESY services
The system covers the following types of services:
- Appointments with the therapist (family doctor)
- Appointments with doctors practicing in specific areas of medicine (for example, ophthalmologists, gynecologists, osteopaths, etc.)
- Pharmacological drugs and medication
- Laboratory tests
- In-patient treatment (in hospitals and clinics)
- Medical assistance in case of accidents, injuries, etc.
- Ambulance services
- Services of nurses, midwives, clinical psychologists, clinical nutritionists, psychotherapists, defectologists and occupational therapists
- Preventive dentistry services
- Palliative care and rehabilitation
The cost of medical services GESY
The visits to the therapist and in-patient treatment are free of charge. You will have to pay for the rest of the services and medicines. But the prices for them are minimal:
- for a visit to a specialized doctor by referral of a therapist - 6 euros
- for a laboratory analysis - 1 euro
- for a prescription drug - 1 euro (regardless of its cost)
- for visiting the hospital in case of accidents and emergencies - 10 euros
For paid services, the so-called "ceiling" of prices has been introduced. For most of the users of GESY services is 150 euros per year. For low-income pensioners, recipients of the minimum guaranteed income and children under 18, it is 75 euros.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO GESY
Contributions to GESY are mandatory. The amounts of contributions are presented in the table:
|Employees (Public and
|On their salaries
|Employers (Including the State as an Employer)
|On the salaries of every person employed by them
|On their remuneration
|On their pension
|Income earners (e.g. rent, interest, dividends)
|On their income
The maximum amount paid per person per year is € 180,000.
Private Health Insurance
Foreigners who are not nationals of the European Union and are not employed in Cyprus are recommended to apply to services of private health insurance. It is worth mentioning that many Cypriots and nationals of the EU also purchase private medical policies. This allows them to receive medical services from doctors and clinics that are not part of the GESY system.
Insurance policies may be purchased from both local insurance companies and from international insurance market players. As a rule the former offer cheaper policies.
Insurance policies differ by two basic parameters:
- Some policies insure solely in-patient treatment in hospitals while others insure both in- and out-patient medical treatment (reimbursement of expenses for visits to specialists and medications prescribed by them)
- Policies differ by amounts of coverage that may vary from several tens of thousands of euros (this amount is sufficient to cover the majority of operations) to several million (that covers any most complicated treatment). Coverage amounts for out-patient treatment may also vary (from hundreds to thousands of euros per year)
What are medical insurance expenses? Let us take a 4-member family (a husband, a wife and two children). Comprehensive insurance (covering both in- and out-patient medical treatment) will amount to approximately €2.000 a year for the whole family with small coverage amounts and around €3.500 a year with maximum coverage amounts. In case the family insures only in-patient treatment then it will pay around €1.500 a year with small coverage amounts and approximately €2.500 a year with maximum coverage amounts.
The cost of policy increases with the age of a person insured.
The process of expenses reimbursement by insurance companies is organized in the following way:
- For in-patient treatment a clinic and an insurance company interact without a patient’s participation. The clinic bills an invoice to the insurance company for the administered therapy that is subsequently paid.
- Out-patient treatment. A person who has visited a doctor pays for the visit (approximately €50; in case the doctor makes diagnosis using medical equipment the amount will increase to about €100). The doctor prescribes required medications. The patient buys them in a pharmacy with his/her own money. Then he/she takes the receipts from the doctor and the pharmacy as well as the medical case report to the insurance company. Upon verification the latter will reimburse the incurred expenses to the patient.
It should be mentioned that not all medical expenses are covered by insurance. Expenses for dental and beauty treatment as well as vision correction etc. are not insured. Treatment of chronic diseases that were developed by the patient prior to him/her getting ensured is not subject to insurance coverage in Cyprus either.
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