Living in Cyprus?
Healthcare and Transportation in Cyprus
Cutting Edge Healthcare
Seeing how the Republic of Cyprus is a highly advanced, modern country in every respect, it should not come as a surprise that the nation’s healthcare system and its institutions are of very good quality. In fact, the population of Cyprus is considered one of the healthiest in the Mediterranean area.
The Cypriot government is actively promoting the idea of medical tourism to the island. Cyprus has many benefits: fees and prices for treatments and other services are comparatively low, relative to their standard, English is spoken and understood all over the country, and the exposure to the Mediterranean climate can itself be healing. Thus, the Cypriot tourism sector attracts patients from all over the world.
Cyprus has continuously upgraded the quality of healthcare facilities and opened several new, specialized clinics for treatments that previously had to be performed abroad. Nowadays, even complex operations, such as open heart surgery, can be taken care of in the country.
The average expat will, of course, not think too much about how the country can benefit from its healthcare system and rather worry whether they are in good hands. They definitely are. Doctors, clinics and hospitals abound in Cyprus and its large expat-friendly municipalities. There is a choice between public and private healthcare institutions, both of which are of similar quality and complement each other.
The Allianz Worldwide Care homepage offers a comprehensive search engine for medical services in Cyprus, which gives you the opportunity to search by region and provider (hospitals or doctors).
Health Insurance and Fees
Emergency care is provided free of charge in government hospitals. Short-term visitors from EU countries who have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can also lay claim to free essential care during their stay. Note that the EHIC does not cover repatriation, routine examination and treatment in private institutions.
Under the National Health Insurance System (NHIS) of Cyprus, basic healthcare services in public clinics are free of charge or offered for low fees to selected groups of Cypriot citizens and EU nationals with permanent residence status. They are entitled to these services if their annual income does not exceed a certain limit. For further information, please contact the Ministry of Health.
If you are not an EU member, you should look into buying international health insurance with coverage in Cyprus or consult one of the local insurance companies on the island to avoid high bills. Alternatively, you can discuss your inclusion in a company healthcare scheme with your future employer. As soon as you start working in Cyprus you must register for social insurance with the Department of Social Insurance Services.
As advanced as the healthcare system may be, the public transportation infrastructure still has room for improvement. The island does not have any kind of railway system. The public transportation options are limited to buses. These can be found almost anywhere and operate in a nationwide intercity network. The website Cyprus by Bus provides highly useful information on bus routes in all main regions of the country.
Nonetheless, driving remains the preferred means of transportation in Cyprus, both actively and as a passenger in one of the island’s countless taxis. A fact that you will discover right after setting foot on the island is that traffic moves on the left side of the road (since Cyprus was formerly part of the British Empire). Road conditions are generally up to the standards of developed European countries.
The local driving style is rather adventurous, though, which may account for Cyprus ranking second in the EU when it comes to fatal car accidents involving young people. Imitating the Cypriot way of driving is less than recommended, especially in mountainous areas where roads tend to be rather narrow and curvy and therefore dangerous for risky drivers and their passengers.
Visitors to Cyprus are allowed to drive a vehicle if they hold an international driver’s license or a license issued in an EU member state. Alternatively, if you hail from one of the countries that have an exchange agreement with Cyprus, you may apply for a full Cypriot driver’s license after having been a resident for at least six months. These countries include, for instance, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the US. For a complete list of such states and details on the application for a Cypriot driving permit, please get in touch with the Department of Road Transport.
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