With picturesque beaches, breathtaking overlooks, and sapphire blue waters, Cyprus is the ideal vacation spot for people from all over the world. Cyprus also has a well-funded public healthcare system that provides free emergency care at state-run hospitals. This is only true in the south; however, Turkey occupies the northern portion of the island, and does not provide public coverage. Public healthcare is also only available to Cyprus and EU citizens as well as permanent residents who currently pay taxes.
Public vs. Private Healthcare
Private insurance is available to citizens of the EU and non-EU citizens. The coverage that you need depends on the level of care you expect to receive. If you are visiting the southern portion of the island and only need emergency care in case of injury or sudden infection, you can likely forego insurance if you are an EU citizen. Foreign citizens must pay out of pocket or have private insurance.
If your health is poor or you expect the possibility of being hospitalized, you may want to consider private insurance even if you are an EU citizen. The public healthcare system does not cover the full cost of in-patient or out-patient procedures. Insurance is cheap and privately funded hospitals, and clinics generally provide faster care due to lower patient volume.
Choosing the Right Coverage
There are two primary sources of private insurance in Cyprus. The first option is international medical insurance. This option is generally more expensive but offers immediate payment and can be adjusted to reduce your copay or insurance cost.
The second option is to purchase insurance from local insurance companies located in Cyprus. This option has much lower premiums but does require that you pay the full amount upfront. The insurance company then reimburses you, usually within one month.
It is also essential to read the fine print of your policy before you sign up for it to make sure you are getting adequate coverage. You should also weigh the cost of insurance against the anticipated cost of medical treatment.
Where to Get Care
The emergency services in Cyprus are relatively slow compared to other countries. This has led many to forego an ambulance ride when another option is available.
Cyprus is a small island, making it easy to find care. In general, healthcare is better on the southern side of the island, but doctors in both the north and south are usually trained overseas and offer similar care.
Healthcare in Cyprus is cheap, but non-EU citizens, in particular, should consider private insurance to protect against injury and sudden illness.