When deciding on the type and extent of health insurance, make sure that it covers all your family’s present and future health requirements before you receive a large bill. A health insurance policy should cover you for all essential health care whatever the reason, including accidents, e.g. sports accidents, and injuries, whether they occur in your home, at your place of work or when travelling. Don’t take anything for granted, but check in advance.
If you’re planning to take up residence in Greece and will be contributing to Greek social security, you and your family will be entitled to subsidised or (in certain cases) free medical and dental treatment. The Greek national health system is operated by the Idrima Kinonikon Asfalisseon (IKA).
When you start work or retire to Greece you must obtain a medical booklet ( iatrico vivliario) from your local IKA office, which must be presented each time you visit a doctor or hospital. Doctor and hospital treatment within the Greek system is free, but you will be charged 25 per cent of the cost of prescriptions (pensioners pay 10 per cent).
Most foreign residents also subscribe to a complementary health insurance fund that pays the portion of medical bills that isn’t paid by social security. Residents who don’t contribute to social security should have private health insurance, which is mandatory for non-EU residents when applying for a visa or residence permit. Note that some foreign insurance companies don’t provide sufficient cover to satisfy Greek regulations, therefore you should check the minimum cover necessary with a Greek consulate in your country of residence.
If you live in a remote area of Greece that isn’t covered by a local IKA office, you’ll have to pay the cost of any medical treatment in advance and re-claim it from the nearest IKA office. However, the refund will be only a proportion of the cost (up to around 85 per cent) and you will be responsible for the balance. If you receive treatment under these circumstances, it’s necessary to obtain receipts and documentation in order to make a claim.