Good news! The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is being replaced with a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This means that Brits travelling to Cyprus, and indeed all EU countries, will still be able to receive free, or cheaper, state-provided medical care.
Don’t worry though, your EHIC will remain valid until it expires. Then, you can apply for the new free GHIC.
This will likely come as a relief for holiday home owners, holidaymakers, or older travellers, who have been worrying about having to pay for expensive medical care in Cyprus after Brexit.
The GHIC will entitle you to basic state healthcare, on the same level as Cypriot citizens. It will cover things like emergency treatment and A&E trips, treatment for chronic or pre-existing medical conditions, routine medical or maternity care, and oxygen and kidney dialysis.
Nevertheless, it is important to be aware that you may still have to pay for things in Cyprus that you would usually get for free in the UK. This includes making a contribution to things like doctor visits and prescriptions.
Also, it is important to be aware that your GHIC will not be valid in the Turkish-occupied area of Cyprus; you will need private health insurance.
The British Government still advises Brits to take out travel insurance that includes healthcare. The GHIC will not cover you for private medical healthcare or other costs, such as mountain rescue or repatriation.
For those looking to become a permanent resident in Cyprus, things are looking good for healthcare. The country has recently introduced a new healthcare system, known as the General Healthcare System (GHS) or GeSY, which is similar to the UK’s NHS. Expats can sign up as soon as they have permanent residency!
Cyprus’ previous healthcare system was divided into private and public healthcare, however, the new GHS will unify these systems with the aim of reducing long-waiting lists and improving patient experience.
The GHS will ensure the majority, if not all, of an individual’s medical care is covered, free of charge. The system will be funded by citizens contributing a percentage of their income.
Some healthcare services have not yet been added to the GHS, but negotiations are underway. Currently, GPs and in-patient healthcare is covered.
Plus, if you are a retiree, with Cypriot residency, and who receives a UK State pension, then you can access UK-funded healthcare using an S1 form.
So, you don’t need to worry about receiving healthcare in Cyprus!