Visiting the Doctor in Greece



World Health Organization (WHO) has rated the Greek Health care system as one of the best health care schemes in the world. Compared to other EU countries, Greeks have high life expectancy and a low incidence of cancer, which is mostly attributed to their healthy diet (lots of garlic, olive oil and red wine). 

Health care in Greece can be acquired through IKA (Idrima Kinonikon Asfalisseon) or private insurance. IKA is Greece's public health system that provides free or low cost health care to residents contributing to the social security scheme.  

Expats are advised to complement IKA coverage with international health insurance in Greece. Having private insurance allows greater access to private health care and eliminates the long waiting time in public health care. 

Once registered with IKA, a health book (vivliario) will be issued from the local IKA office; the book must be presented when visiting doctors and hospitals. 

To make appointments, one can be referred by the assigned family doctor or by calling 184 within Greece. Most of the IKA doctors also have private practices and one will be expected to pay out of pocket for consultations done outside of IKA clinics.  

Doctors can speak adequate English, but are usually not proficient. The rate of private doctors in Greece ranges from €30.00 to €50.00 per visit or consultation. Doctor home visits can be arranged for a small fee. 

Hospitals in Greece are mostly located in Athens, which provides more sophisticated care. Availability of public hospitals is limited in certain areas. 

In terms of medical tourism, Greece is a newcomer. Prices are quite appealing, costs are usually 40% off compared to EU countries and US.