In response to the recent economic crisis, the government has been making large changes to the overall Greek healthcare system. There are now universal social security numbers and electronic prescriptions as well as many Greek residents opting for private health insurance providers.
Administered by the National Organisation for the Provision of Health Services (EOPYY), the Greek national health insurance, Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA), covers nationals, residents and working expats. This includes self-employed workers and small business owners. Seeking medical care by EFKA-approved facilities is often free or requires only a small prescription-based fee. Both doctors and dentists are included under the EFKA. However, due to the changes following the economic crisis, many residents still take out private health insurance policies.
It is also important to note that while Greece is a member of the European Community, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is limited and temporary. It mostly applies to travelers and may help offset initial healthcare expenses before acquiring a Greek national healthcare card. However, it is not recommended to be the sole healthcare insurance plan. Further, investors, in Greece through the Golden Visa, are not allowed to work in Greece and thus do not have any benefits with this program. Those under the Golden Visa can still be sure that they are investing in a country with quality healthcare systems.
To cover gaps in coverage with the national health insurance plans, many nationals and residents take out private health insurance policies.
These policies also help with the wait times at EFKA-approved facilities. Further, hospital visits or access to quality healthcare on the islands may mean greater travel and health expenses for both routine or emergency health needs. There are many private clinics in the main towns and larger islands, but in order to receive subsidized treatment, the healthcare facility must be EFKA-approved.
Having private healthcare opens up more healthcare options as well as choice in quality services. There are many private hospitals and healthcare centres in Greece to choose from. Search the major cities for the top recommended private healthcare facilities.
Further, many nationals and residents will save their receipts and prescription paperwork to submit to their private health insurance providers. There is normally a 25% patient charge on medicines prescribed by Greek doctors which is non-refundable. Yet, some private healthcare providers will provide a refund under their policies.
The same applies to emergency situations, especially for island residents, where the cost of transfer to major health clinics or hospitals may result in a larger upfront medical expense. Private healthcare providers may choose to reimburse some of the initial costs.
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Not sure how to make the move to Greece and if your health needs are covered? Contact us today to find out more about living and working in Greece as well as to find out about cities with greater healthcare access.