Healthcare in Cyprus is cheap and effective, and is yet another reason many expats relocate to the island.
The Cyprus healthcare system is divided into public and private sectors. Public healthcare is either inexpensive or free, at least for citizens of the EU, and even private healthcare costs can be relatively affordable.
Both state-funded and private hospitals can be found in all of Cyprus’s major cities.Healthcare facilities in the south of Cyprus are generally considered to be better than those in the Turkish-occupied north of the island.
Doctors working in both sectors of the medical industry are often trained overseas and most, if not all, speak an acceptable level of English. Some may, however, have difficulty defining certain treatments or care options. As such, expats should be clear and succinct when explaining a health issue. It may also be an idea to take a notepad to appointments, in case it’s necessary to write down the doctor’s response for later translation. Expats shouldn’t be afraid to ask their new doctor questions or have them repeat themselves.
Emergency medical treatment in Cyprus is free to citizens and expats alike, but care for both in- and out-patients will most probably incur a fee. Citizens from EU-member states are eligible for free health insurance at state hospitals in Cyprus, although this only applies to the south. Expats living in the north of Cyprus will need private insurance.
Public healthcare in Cyprus
Public healthcare in Cyprus is administered by the Ministry of Health and financed by taxes. Expats who are permanent residents in Cyprus or EU citizens are eligible for free state healthcare. Expats can receive a state medical card when they register for social insurance.
The ministry places patients into three categories based on income, chronic illnesses and number of children, consisting of people who receive treatment free of charge, those who pay reduced fees and those who pay fully.
Private healthcare in Cyprus
Non-EU residents who are unable to take advantage of state health benefits, or expats who prefer to take out private health insurance, should pay careful attention to the healthcare plan they sign up for.
Many expats choose to take out a private healthcare policy to access a wider variety of hospitals and facilities, and to skip the public sector’s occasionally long waiting lists. An assortment of schemes are available to expats in Cyprus, each tailored individually based on certain criteria.
There are two main private health insurance options available to expats in Cyprus. Some choose the stability and flexibility of international private medical cover, while others opt for considerably cheaper premiums with a local private medical insurance company.
Treatment is often paid for up-front and is reimbursed within the month. Depending on the policy, it shouldn’t be necessary to notify the provider before receiving treatment, although most companies do offer a 24-hour toll-free number should patients have any issues or queries.
Pharmacies in Cyprus
There are many pharmacies in Cyprus, especially in highly populated areas such as Paphos, Larnaca and Lemosos.
Cyprus pharmacies are typically open from 9am until noon, when they close for a few hours and reopen from 3pm to 6pm or 7pm. Some may not open at all in the middle of the week.
Expats requiring a prescription for controlled substances in Cyprus should bring an original script with them. Foreign prescriptions are not officially recognised and some pharmacists may refuse to accept them, although it is possible that some will. In cases where prescriptions are not accepted, expats should book an appointment with a local doctor. Most will not charge for writing minor prescriptions, such as for birth control, but major drugs may require one or more visits. This largely depends on the doctor, and expats shouldn’t be afraid to ask.
Emergency services in Cyprus
There are nationwide emergency services in Cyprus, but they can be inconsistent and relatively slow. Expats often rely on neighbours and friends to drive them to hospital in non-critical situations.
Some private hospitals have their own ambulance services, but charge for transporting patients.
Emergency numbers in Cyprus
- 112 – General emergency number for EU countries
- 199 – The local emergency number in Cyprus