The Health & Medical Care Scheme
In Cyprus, the medical care is provided through the government (public) healthcare scheme, the private medical sector and a number of healthcare schemes that cover specific sections of the population.
Emergency care in Cyprus is provided free of charge to all individuals who arrive at the accident and emergency departments of the government hospitals, irrespective of their income or nationality, including tourists. However, if hospitalization is needed, subsequent care fees may be charged. Public hospitals that have an accident and emergency section are available in every city. Due to the small size of the country the access to medical centers and hospitals is very quick and easy.
The healthcare system in Cyprus has been significantly improved over the past few years. Many complicated transplants, treatments and operations such as open heart surgery or cancer can now be treated in Cyprus.
The Public Medical Care System
The government medical care services are offered at a standard price to anyone who chooses to be treated at a public medical institution. However, Cypriot, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens and their dependants, who are permanent residents in Cyprus can use the public healthcare services for free or at reduced charges as follows:
- government employees, single individuals whose annual income does not exceed € 15,377.41, and families whose annual income does not exceed € 30,754.82, increased by € 1,708.60 for each dependant child are granted with free medical care through the government facilities;
- single individuals whose annual income is between € 15,377.42 and € 20,503.22, and families whose annual income is between € 30,754.83 and € 37,589.23, increased by € 1,708.60 for each dependant child can use the public healthcare services at reduced fees;
- those who do not qualify in any of the above categories, can use the public medical services by paying the standard fees. In case of expensive inpatient treatment the cost may be reduced considering the income level of the patient;
- public healthcare services are also granted free of charge to specific group of people such as persons who suffer from certain chronic diseases, government officials, civil servants, members of families with three or more children, persons receiving public assistance, etc.
- medical care is free of charge for the dependants of active and retired civil servants, the dependants of military and police personnel, as well as the dependants of the social assistance recipients.
The EU pensioners and the beneficiaries of an invalidity pension or allowance for accidents at work and occupational diseases are eligible for medical treatment free of charge. The EU citizens who contributed to another EU member state's social security scheme for at least two years are also entitle for medical care in Cyprus.
To benefit of public healthcare services free of charge or at reduced costs the claimant must apply for a Cyprus medical card at the closest Citizen Desk Office in her/his area. The medical cards will be issued on the same day of the application.
For example according to the fees approved for 2013, those who hold a medical card will pay approximately €3 for a general practitioner visit, €6 for a specialist, and an additional of €0.50 for each medication prescribed. While those who do not hold a medical card will be charged with €15 for a visit to a general doctor and €30 for a visit to a specialist. For emergency treatment the fee is €10, but this cost does not apply to pensioners. Retired people receiving pensions from other EU/EEA countries are also exempted.
The Cypriot, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who live permanently in Cyprus can use free of charge the public healthcare services of another European country they are planning to visit, if they present a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC card can be obtained from the local Citizen Desk Offices at least 10 days before the departure and are valid for 6 months. The card can be issued on the same day of the application. The family members of the above mentioned citizens (no matter their nationality) as well as nationals of other countries, who are covered by a social security system in one of the European Member States, the EEA or Switzerland, are also entitled to apply for EHIC card.
Here is a list of the European e-forms and EHIC that allow any European, EEA or Swiss citizen to get free healthcare in Cyprus. All these can be obtained by the applicant, in her/his own country:
Category of Visitor
Application Form/ Card
|A temporary visitor or tourist||E111 or EHIC|
|A pensioner coming to live permanently in Cyprus||E121|
|A worker from another Member State who worked in Cyprus less than one year||E111 or EHIC|
|A worker from another Member State who worked in Cyprus for more than one year||E106|
|A U.K. person under Pension age coming to live permanently in Cyprus||E106 (residual)|
|Dependants living in Cyprus but insured worker living in another Member State||E109|
|A person from another Member State in receipt of Industrial Injuries Benefit or an occupational disease||E123|
|A person referred to Cyprus for specific medical treatment||E112|
The third country nationals are not entitled to free health care in Cyprus unless they are involved in an accident or require emergency aid.
The public medical care system in Cyprus covers the following services:
- emergency care;
- medical appliances and transportation;
- out-patient care by general practitioners and specialist care to both out-patients and in-patients;
- the necessary drugs and pharmaceutical material;
- lower cost prescription medicines;
- laboratory services,
- diagnostic and paramedical examinations;
- maternity care;
- dental care except for dentures, which are only provided to certain low-income groups.
Depending on the patient needs, she / he may also be allowed to use private hospitals under special circumstances and with prior authorisation. In general, patients must visit a governmental medical practitioner of their choice, who will then redirect them to a specialist or hospital according to their state of health. Healthcare treatment can also be provided by any private doctor or private medical institution in Cyprus but no refund will be granted.
The Private Health Sector in Cyprus
Those who can afford to pay for their treatment and want to avoid the long waiting lists at the public hospitals can use the private medical centers and hospitals in Cyprus. As there are no medical schools in Cyprus, the local doctors and surgeons study at different international institutions around the world. As a result the medical system in Cyprus benefits of a wide range of information, know-how and various techniques that has been brought back by a large number of physicians.
Most of the doctors in Cyprus have completed their studies in the UK and speak English well. Treatment costs are almost the same in all private hospitals and are usually higher than in the public hospitals. A consultation in a private hospital or clinic usually costs around € 40 to € 50.
Special Healthcare Schemes in Cyprus
There are a number of special healthcare schemes that cover specific groups of population such as:
(i) medical services provided by the Trade Unions to their members and their dependants;
(ii) employer-sponsored agreements that provide free medical care mainly through public health facilities to their employees.
The special health care services aforementioned are free of charge or at reduced fees for those who meet the specified criteria. Further information can be obtained from the Ministry of Health, the Citizen Desk Offices, the Department for the Free Movement of Patients (Tel.: +357 22 400 115) or the Department for General Coordination of EU Affairs at the Ministry (Tel.: +357 22 400 195).