Healthcare in Greece
Hippocrates, the Western father of medicine, was born in Ancient Greece. The Ancient Greeks, valued their health, and took great care of their bodies. Today, modern Greeks get to enjoy what their forefathers had worked hard on a good health care system.
Greece offers affordable health care in comparison to other European nations. And for expats, though they compose a small percentage of the population, regular social security contributions would mean coverage for medical treatments and free hospitalisation.
Public Healthcare Coverage
Greek health care is funded through a mixed system. It is primarily managed by the National Health System with the help of the health sector of various social security groups. This system was established in 1983 and ensured government-subsidized coverage for the Greek population.
It was through this system that the IKA (Idrima Kinonikon Asfalisseon) was established. IKA covers employees who work in Greece and even those who are working abroad, as long as the employer is based in Greece. It provides low-cost, high-quality health care.
Members of IKA may be charged for 25% of their prescriptions while essential dental and eye treatment is mostly free. You may visit http://www.ika.gr/en/home.cfm for more information regarding coverage and benefits.
Also included in the public health system benefits are laboratory services, maternity care, medical-related instruments or gadgets, and emergency transportation.
Outpatient services and medical appointments are mostly offered in the morning. And because public health care is almost fully subsidised by the government, doctor's clinics would almost always be packed, so it is best for one to come early or better yet, make an appointment in advance. For emergency needs, one should go straight to the hospitals.
One of the great things about the Greek health care system is that specialists can be consulted directly. If you have to visit a private specialist, you can even reimburse about 80% of the charges later through IKA coverage.
Emergency care is provided to all, regardless of nationality and free of charge in public hospitals in Greece.
A non-Greek or EU national must also remember to secure his E106, which is a European health card available through two years of Social Security Contributions. This would allow an expat to make full use of the public healthcare system.
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Healthcare Facts and Figures
The population growth rate in Greece is at .0146%, a rate low enough to make efficient health care management possible. Life expectancy also reflects effective health care, with Greek men at 78 years old and women, 84 years old.
There are no required vaccinations to enter Greece, but Hepatitis A and B vaccines are suggested before travel.
It is also good to know that pharmacies are well stocked, and medicines are of good quality. However you may be charged 25% of the prescription cost of those not covered by IKA or your private health insurance carrier.
Although private healthcare complements that which is offered by the government, services are a bit pricier. Doctors may charge 25 Euros per visit, but prices may still vary.
Interestingly, the Greek government allocates only 5% of its budget to healthcare.
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