Healthcare for Foreign Nationals in Greece: What You Need to Know
Greece makes a lovely location rich in memories for tourists and expatriates from the United Kingdom seeking a rejuvenating holiday or beginning a new chapter in their life. From its glorious islands and delectable cuisine to its rich history and scenic landscape, Greece will impress you with a lifetime of memories. At the same time, when arriving in any new country, it is important for foreign guests to understand their healthcare needs and accompanying logistics.
Whether you’re going to Greece for holiday or an extended stay, below are some helpful guidelines in understanding your healthcare options and needs when in Greece:
Before you leave, you need to consult with your primary physician several weeks in advance to determine whether you will need to take any preventive steps such as getting travel vaccinations or purchasing international health insurance in case you get sick while travelling. It is advisable to set aside approximately eight weeks in advance to ensure all precautions are taken (see this infographic for more information).
The British National Health Service and the Greek National Health system maintain an agreement to reciprocate treatment for patients. British citizens should rest assured that many of the healthcare institutions and facilities on the mainland of Greece maintain a high standard, although those on more remote islands may be lacking in the latest advances. For example, emergency care in terms of ambulances and other services may experience time delays and lack of resources. Nursing and post-treatment care also may be found lacking when compared to the standard in the United Kingdom.
United Kingdom citizens are eligible for a complementary European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Though the EHIC item does not serve as a replacement for medical and/or travel insurance, it does provide you with access to public medical treatment. Note that the Greek health system differs from the British National Health System in terms of what service or treatment may incur a charge. The EHIC plan provides coverage for treatment related to pre-existing health conditions and maternity needs, outside of actually giving birth.
To facilitate your ability to access the EHIC benefits, consider downloading the institution’s smartphone app. This free phone app features bevy languages, detailing the scope and usages of the EHIC card within different nations throughout the European Union, including Greece. The application provides a summary of the treatments, affiliated costs, reimbursement protocols and pertinent emergency numbers for your convenience. The app is compatible with both Apple iPhones, Android and Windows Smartphones. Should you find yourself in a health emergency in Greece, dial 112 to access an emergency service – this will provide you free transport to all state hospitals.