Health Insurance in Cyprus in 2023. A complete guide.
Health Insurance Cyprus
Health insurance can financially protect you in an acute or emergency situation, but what is it, and how does health insurance work in Cyprus?
In this guide to health insurance plans in Cyprus, we will cover everything you need to know.
We will assess the types of health insurance – their benefits and help you compare insurance plans to find the best health insurance in Cyprus.
In addition, we will compare private health insurance with the publicly accessible General Health System of Cyprus and examine whether health insurance is still useful for you.
Finally, we will advise you on how to save money on your health insurance by choosing the correct plan.
Table of contents
- What is health insurance?
- Health insurance coverage
- Types of health insurance
- What is a deductible in health insurance?
- Benefits of private health insurance
- Health insurance plans for family
- How much is health insurance in Cyprus?
- Affordable health insurance in Cyprus
- Best health insurance in Cyprus
- Compare health insurance plans
What is health insurance?
An insurance company provides health insurance policies to help cover an insured’s medical expenses for cases of disease or bodily injury accidents.
These medical expenses are sometimes paid upfront by the insurance company.
In other cases, the patient covers the expenses and is compensated by the insurance company after providing them with the necessary receipts and documentation.
Cyprus health insurance
Health insurance is provided by two sources in Cyprus:
- The General Healthcare System (GESY)
- Private insurance companies
To find out more about GESY in Cyprus, see here.
Health policies can be acquired by the following groups of people:
- Individuals (individual health insurance)
- Families (family health insurance)
- Companies (group health insurance for their employees and dependents)
In this article we will focus only on individual and family health insurance plans. To find out more about group health insurance, see our website.
Health insurance coverage
Generally, Cyprus health insurance covers expenses related to specific diseases or accidents. However, some diseases and accidents might not be covered under certain conditions.
Furthermore, health insurance coverages are divided into two categories:
- Inpatient expenses
- Outpatient expenses
Hospitalization for at least one night in a private clinic (i.e., for a medical operation) constitutes inpatient expenses.
In addition, all other expenses required to stay and be treated in the clinic will be covered by inpatient expenses.
For example, suppose you had an operation and need to stay in a hospital for one night. In that case, the diagnostic exams before the operation (e.g., x-rays, blood exams) and the exams after the operation (e.g., x-rays, physiotherapy for rehabilitation purposes) will be covered.
Examples of inpatient expenses:
- ICU costs
- Room boarding
- Room rent charges
- Nursing charges
- Fees of medical professionals
- Operation theatre charges
- Costs of implanted devices
- Costs of medicines and drugs
Pre and post-hospitalization expenses
Pre-hospitalization expenses are the medical costs incurred by the insured before hospital admission—for example, ambulance services and transport costs.
Post-hospitalization expenses are medical costs incurred after discharge from the hospital—for example, rehabilitation and post-operation aftercare.
Outpatient expenses include any of the costs associated with healthcare that takes place when a patient is not staying in the hospital, as detailed above.
Examples of outpatient expenses
- Home care
- Hospice care
- Visits to clinics
- Public health services
- Outpatient long-term care services
- Routine services such as check-ups
Types of health insurance
Health insurance policies are classified in two ways.
- Policies that only cover inpatient expenses (i.e., expenses that require hospitalization) and policies that cover both inpatient and outpatient expenses.
- International health insurance policies and local health insurance policies.
Inpatient and outpatient coverage
As mentioned, inpatient expenses are defined as expenses that require hospitalization. Outpatient expenses are defined as expenses that do not require hospitalization.
In general, plans covering additional outpatient expenses are usually 15% - 30% more expensive than those only covering inpatient expenses. Therefore, this option is only recommended for people who visit the doctors very often (i.e. families with small children).
Private health insurance Cyprus and the need for outpatient expenses
Outpatient expenses are usually straightforward, and services through the General Health System of Cyprus are usually satisfactory.
You are eligible to register with the General Health System of Cyprus as a legal resident and worker in Cyprus who pays social insurance contributions.
Even if you are registered with the GESY, acquiring private health insurance covering inpatient expenses is advisable.
Advantageously, most private health insurance inpatient plans include an option to add coverage for “surgical operations not requiring hospitalization” (i.e., outpatient surgery, also called same-day, ambulatory, or office-based surgery).
This additional benefit is inexpensive but shields you from paying out-of-pocket costs for a minor operation that doesn’t require hospitalization. In addition, this option allows you the convenience and comfort of recovering at home.
Comparison between international and local health insurance policies
Below we will compare the main differences between international and local health insurance policies in Cyprus.
International companies are more expensive than local providers. Depending on the insurance plans we compare, they can be from 20% to 250% more expensive.
Limits of Coverage
International policies provide higher limits of coverage for both outpatient and inpatient treatment.
- The annual coverage for local companies varies from €100,000 to €2 million.
- The annual coverage for international companies varies from €300,000 to €6 million.
- The annual coverage for local companies is €5,000 on average.
- The annual coverage for international companies is €250,000.
Local policies do not cover outpatient expenses outside of Cyprus, whereas international policies can.
Some local companies offer international outpatient expenses, but getting compensated for these expenses is not a hustle free process.
The local insurance company will require all documents related with the claim to be translated (if they are not already in English). In addition, the expenses must be paid upfront. Then you will be compensated for the claim application is accepted.
This is why it’s advisable for expatriates who often return to their country of origin (and prefer its medical services) to acquire an international health insurance plan.
Local providers can only insure people whose main and permanent residence is in Cyprus.
As a guideline, some companies suggest that permanently living in a country for more than six months implies permanent residency.
Local providers will be suspicious if you provide them with expenses consistently from your country of origin.
International companies can insure you anywhere except if your permanent residency is in a sanctioned country (i.e., Iran, Venezuela, Afghanistan).
- International health plans have a claim satisfaction ratio of 95%.
- Local health plans have a claim satisfaction ratio of 80%.
While international companies are more interested in protecting their reputation, local providers are more interested in saving money, especially when a claim is ambiguous.
Local companies usually require original documents of all expenses (medication receipts, payments for doctor visits, etc.) and a completed claim form, while international companies only require scanned documents. They may also omit the process of completing an application form.
- 80% claim satisfaction ratio
- Strict when handling claims to save costs
- Original documents of all expenses and a completed claim form are required for claims
- They usually have to provide a letter of guarantee to the clinics that they will cover an expensive operation
- 95% claim satisfaction ratio
- Concerned with their reputation when handling claims
- Only require scanned documents and may not need a completed application form
- Rarely do they provide a letter of guarantee
Health insurance pre-existing conditions and exclusions
When you apply for Cyprus health insurance, underwriters will assess the past and current condition of your health.
The underwriting process involves the assessment of your medical condition to determine whether you are eligible for insurance, under which conditions, and finally, to determine the cost of the insurance (premium).
Local companies are generally extremely strict when assessing individuals with past, pre-existing, and temporary current medical conditions.
Past conditions are defined as conditions from which the patient fully recovered, i.e., he returned in the same condition as before the disease or the accident and does not receive any ongoing medication or treatment regarding this accident or disease.
For example, a patient suffered a knee injury (on their right knee) 10 years ago and fully recovered without any aftereffects (they did not receive any medication or have any transplants, titanium plates, screws, etc.).
In that case, local providers would probably put an exclusion relating to the operation (i.e., they will exclude the right knee from any future accident or disease), or they will fully insure the patient (including the right knee) but with a higher premium than the standard.
On the other hand, international underwriters will ask the patient whether they had any serious diseases (i.e., cancer, stroke, etc.) or accidents in the last two to five years (depending on the insurance company). If the answer is no, previous medical conditions are of no concern, and they will insure them without any loading (i.e., increased premium compared with the standard).
Health insurance Cyprus, current conditions scenario 1
If a patient experienced a severe health condition in the last two to five years, international insurance companies would insert some temporary restrictions in the coverage of their contract concerning this condition.
For example, if the patient had a knee operation one year ago, the insurer will insure the patient without any loadings. However, any diseases or accidents regarding the right knee will be excluded for the contract’s first three to five years.
Health insurance Cyprus, current conditions, scenario 2
High cholesterol; blood sugar; and blood pressure are the top three conditions most individuals past their 40s suffer from. Out of these issues, high cholesterol is the least critical.
International companies will disregard high cholesterol as an issue, while local companies will require medical exams and might insert a policy loading (i.e., increased premium).
International companies are more lenient than local companies for high blood pressure and blood sugar. In contrast, local companies refuse to insure 50% or more applicants with high blood sugar than international companies, and they require updated medical exams.
International companies are more likely to insure you without loading for high blood pressure, whereas local companies will include a policy loading or might even refuse to insure you if your blood pressure is extremely high.
Health insurance exclusions
Whether from an international or a local company, all insurance contracts have some universal exclusions as standard, i.e., obesity, AIDs, cosmetic and plastic surgery.
Local insurance companies have additional exclusions, including ophthalmologists and dentists.
However, international companies might be able to insure people who do dangerous sports (such as diving) and provide coverage to pregnant women for diseases and accidents that are not directly related to pregnancy.
Medical reports for those over 60 years old and those with pre-existing conditions
Documentation will be required for those older than 60 years old or those with pre-existing conditions.
When you apply for insurance, local companies will require updated medical exams and translations of all documentation presenting your medical history.
International companies just need your latest medical reports. They usually don’t require translations and often pay the clinics directly, so you don’t have to cover upfront costs.
Prepayment of medical bills
International companies pay for all medical operations in advance.
In some cases, for complicated operations, international companies might need an offer from the clinic analytically presenting the expenses related to the operation.
Local providers might require you to pay for your medical expenses in advance, and they will compensate you after you provide them with the invoices and receipts of payments.
Specifically, local providers cooperate with certain clinics in Cyprus that they pay directly.
For all other clinics, the insurer will require you to pay upfront and compensate you after you provide all relevant documentation.
International health plans are more flexible than local health insurance plans, as it’s possible to customize them and add or remove coverages (e.g., dental, optician, childbirth benefits).
What is a deductible in health insurance?
As the insured, your health insurance deductible is what you must pay out of pocket every year for eligible healthcare services before your policy begins to cover the costs.
For example, suppose a plan has a €1,000 annual deductible and a covered procedure you need costs €3,000. You, as the patient, must pay the €1,000 deductible, and the insurance company would then pay the remaining €2,000.
Health insurance plans in Cyprus can also include a deductible. Beneficially for you as the insured, this reduces the cost.
If you are registered with the GESY, we generally recommend insurance with a deductible since you can have general healthcare and minor operations through their services.
However, we strongly recommend a policy without excess if you are not registered with the GESY.
Benefits of private health insurance in Cyprus
Many benefits of private health insurance go beyond the scope of what public health insurance and the GESY can provide.
In summary, the benefits of private health insurance Cyprus
- No queues
- International Coverage
You can appoint a meeting within 24 hours at one of the many clinics in Cyprus that do not belong to the GESY. In contrast, scheduling an appointment with a GESY-registered doctor can take over one week.
In the case of most outpatient expenses, this problem is not critical as you can find an available doctor in any clinic, even though this doctor might not be the doctor of your preference.
Nevertheless, we cannot say the same for inpatient expenses. Depending on the operation, there are queues of two to four months to see the best GESY doctors.
This wait time to see a GESY doctor can be a critical issue if you have a health condition, especially if it is serious.
The main issue is that you will have to settle with any available doctor in an emergency if you do not have health insurance.
If the clinics or doctors in Cyprus cannot perform a specific operation, GESY can provide the opportunity for international coverage.
Unfortunately, patients are not eligible for international coverage if an operation can be done in Cyprus, regardless of the doctors’ experience or the availability of the latest technology.
If you are eligible for an operation abroad, it can take up to 6 months while you wait in a long queue.
Private health insurance in Cyprus is tax-deducted.
Specifically, the whole premiums for health insurance can be deducted from the taxable income given that it does not exceed 1.5% of the taxable income.
For example, if your taxable income is €30,000, then 1.5% of your taxable income is €450.
If the annual cost of your health insurance is €600, only €450 is eligible for tax exemptions and deducted from your taxable income.
Health insurance plans for family in Cyprus
You can insure your whole family under one health insurance policy. The terms of family health insurance are the same as individual health insurance.
The advantages of health insurance plans for family in Cyprus
- You will pay less when buying a family health insurance plan because the annual contract issuance fee is payable only once for one contract. It’s more expensive to purchase individual policies per family member.
- You will be encouraged to insure all of your family members and receive a small discount when purchasing a family plan.
The disadvantages of family health insurance in Cyprus
- Some people might find it challenging to afford family health insurance. Due to economic difficulties, you might be unable to keep your insurance plan.
- Opting out of a policy is obligatory once you become a student (above 25). Being sick during the first 25 years of age might lead to excess premiums when applying for an independent insurance policy or your insurance application being rejected. In addition, you should go through a full revaluation (i.e., underwriting) once you reach 25.
How much is health insurance in Cyprus?
When searching for health insurance in Cyprus, you might be wondering how much does health insurance cost?
The cost of health insurance varies due to certain factors. Health insurance costs in Cyprus are calculated based on the following:
- Whether the plan is local or international.
- Limits of coverage for inpatient and outpatient expenses.
- Whether the plan includes outpatient expenses (i.e., visits to doctors).
- Age. The higher the age, the higher the cost of the insurance.
- Gender. Men usually have a higher mortality rate and consequently pay a higher premium.
- Weight. Obesity/Overweight, according to the BMI ratio, is penalized with increased premiums.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol increases premium costs.
- Dangerous and extreme sports (skydiving, bungee jumping, mountain climbing, canyoning, and diving).
- Medical history. Pre-existing conditions might lead to a higher premium if the insurance provider decides to insure the applicant.
- Medical history of parents. The insurance premium will usually be higher if the parents had a stroke or heart attack, suffer from pre-existing conditions or inherited diseases, or died prematurely.
- Additional benefits (i.e., riders) also increase the insurance cost (i.e., life insurance, critical illness coverage, permanent disability benefits.)
- Family or individual plan. Family plans are always cheaper per person than individual plans.
Average health insurance cost in Cyprus
As mentioned above, the cost of health insurance depends on numerous factors.
The table below shows the average health insurance cost in Cyprus in 2023.
|Local Plans||International Plans|
Affordable health insurance in Cyprus
There are numerous ways to ensure you find cheap health insurance in Cyprus.
Follow our insurance tips below to find out how to find affordable health insurance.
- Search for local insurance providers
- Compare the plans of local insurance providers
- Read the full terms of each insurance contract
Health Insurance Cyprus
You can find affordable health insurance in Cyprus through local insurers. Local insurance companies are cheaper than international companies by default.
You will find that there isn’t a significant difference among the plans of the local insurance providers in Cyprus as there is high competition between them.
If the difference in premiums between the insurers is significant, this means that the insurance terms are significantly different.
As always, make sure you read the terms of each contract before you choose an insurance policy.
Instead of acquiring the cheapest policy, we recommend that you reduce the cost of a good health insurance policy in the following ways:
- Use high excess amounts.
- Opt for a plan without outpatient expenses if you are registered in the GESY.
- If you have a family, acquire a family package instead of individual plans for each family member.
- You can receive more than a 5% discount if you pay for your insurance annually.
Best health insurance in Cyprus
The best health insurance is subjective, as each individual has different needs, targets, and budget constraints.
What insurance is considered the best is largely dependent upon your needs.
Health Insurance Cyprus
To find the best health insurance complete our questionnaire or communicate with one of our licensed insurance advisors (700 70 500 or [email protected]), who will help you compare health insurance policies from local and international providers.
Compare health insurance
Pitsas Insurances is the largest provider of health insurance contracts for expatriates in Cyprus.
Communicate with one of our specialists, who will help you compare health insurance policies from local and international providers.
What we offer you:
- 35 years of insurance expertise
- Flexible pricing to suit your budget
- Family packages
- Great variety of local and international contracts
- Coverage for certain pre-existing conditions
- Access to prestigious clinics in Cyprus and abroad
- Quick settlement of claims
Health insurance quotes in Cyprus
It’s advisable to understand how the healthcare system works in Cyprus works before you purchase health insurance.
Before obtaining quotes for health insurance, see our article about the GESY here.
We firmly support the GESY at Pitsas Insurances but believe basic private healthcare is indispensable.
If you want to receive quotations from local and international providers, you can visit our website.