As from August 1, 2013, new regulations came into force regarding the provision of healthcare in public hospitals. The new regulations include new requirements/criteria for the acquisition of the medical card, the abolition of class “B” beneficiaries, the revision of income criteria, the introduction of new charges for pharmaceuticals and laboratory tests as well as an increase in fees paid for services offered by the governmental medical institutions.
Persons entitled to healthcare benefits, as from August 1, 2013, they pay the sum of €3,00 for a visit to a General Practitioner and the sum of €6,00 for a visit to a Specialist. In addition, they will pay a fee of €0,50 for each prescribed pharmaceutical product and €0,50 for each laboratory test with a maximum charge of €10,00 per medicine prescription or per laboratory test prescription form respectively.
Payment for drugs and laboratory tests will be made with the use of "health stamps" that have to be purchased in advance and will be affixed to drugs prescriptions and laboratory tests forms. Health stamps are available at public hospitals and post offices.
Non beneficiaries (non medical card holders) can still use the services of public hospitals by paying €15,00 for visiting a General Practitioner and the amount of € 30,00 for a visit to a Specialist. For any other service provided one has to pay the prescribed fees as they were revised from August 1, 2013 (as per the Government Medical Institutions and Services (Governance & Charges) Law of 1978 and 2013 and the corresponding regulations).
The Accident and Emergency Departments of public hospitals remain available to everybody. Patients who visit the Accident and Emergency Department pay the sum of € 10,00, regardless of the services they will receive. Some vulnerable categories of citizens are excluded from the above fee, such as public assistance recipients, soldiers, handicapped, residents of specific institutions etc. For claiming exemption from the above fee the medical card has to be presented.
Conditions/criteria one has to meet for obtaining medical card:
1. According to the Government Medical Institutions and Services Laws of 1978 to 2013, no benefit is granted to a person unless that person:
i. contributed at the Social Insurance scheme for a minimum period of three years. Assimilated insurance periods are included, and
ii. at the date of application for healthcare benefits, has submitted personal income tax declaration, in pursuant of Article 5 provisions of the Assessment and Collection of Taxes Laws.
2. As a rule Medical Cards are issued to Cypriots and EU citizens who reside permanently in Cyprus.
3. Medical Card is issued to the following persons:
i. Persons without dependants whose annual income does not exceed €15,400.00.
ii. Members of families whose annual income does not exceed €30,750.00, increased by €1,700.00 for each dependant child.
iii. Persons included in Table 1 Part ΙΙΙ of Regulation 3.
iv. Persons suffering from a chronic disease included in Table 6, Part I(Α) of Regulation 8.
v. Persons suffering from a chronic disease included in Table 6, Part I(B) of Regulation 8, whose annual family income does not exceed €150,000.00.
Replacement of Medical Cards has to be completed by 31.4.14 at the local Citizen Service Centers or at the Ministry for Health for families with at least one member who is a third country national.
Medical Card issued by other agencies such as the Department of Social Insurance and the Office of Grants and Benefits Service and the Medical Card of Civil servants, Hourly-paid Government Personnel and Semi-Government Organisations are not affected.