11 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats and Global Nomads in Greece
Summary: If you're moving to Greece, it's important to understand the health insurance requirements when seeking a short or long-term visa, the quality of healthcare outside of Athens including in Greek Islands, vaccines for Greece and more.
Information for expats and global nomads moving to or living in Greece about healthcare, emergency services, COVID-19 regulations, expat health insurance options and more.
- Cost of Healthcare in Greece
- Payment for Health Services
- Health Insurance Requirements for Short-Term Visas and Residency
- Health Insurance for Expats and Global Nomads in Greece
- Quality of Healthcare Facilities in Greece
- Healthcare Outside of Athens and on the Greek Islands
- You'll Need Someone to Accompany You During Your Stay at a Public Hospital
- COVID-19 Related Entry Requirements
- Emergency Telephone Numbers in Greece
- Prescription Medications in Greece
- Vaccines for Greece
1. Cost of Healthcare in Greece
The US Embassy in Greece stated, "medical fees can vary considerably in Greece. We recommend that clients inquire about fees in advance."
When we asked expats about the cost of medical care in Greece, "The cost is reasonable under the IHC, private care varies, but in general is cheaper than UK I believe," wrote one expat in Paros. Another expat said, "the costs of private medical care are quite reasonable." A mom who gave birth in Athens said, "[it was] very expensive (around 2000 euros for the cheapest room option - 6 mothers sharing a room, not including doctors fee)."
2. Payment for Health Services
"Patients should settle all bills in euros and request a formal receipt. Some hospitals do not accept credit cards and expect payment in cash," wrote the US Embassy. The State Department added, "Private hospitals usually require proof of adequate insurance or cash before admitting a patient. Patients bear all costs for transfer to or between hospitals. Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. You may be required to pay upfront and seek reimbursement from your insurance company."
3. Health Insurance Requirements for Short and Long-Term Visas
Proof of health insurance is required for both the short-term visa (under 90 days) and the long-term visa (typically the Type D Visa). Your health insurance is required to last the duration of your stay and cover the cost of medical repatriation and emergency medical care. Expat Exchange works closely with several of the most respected expat heath insurers and brokers. Click here for a list of our expat health insurance partners.
As part of your visa application process, you will need to complete the Ministry of Foreign Affair's:
Health Insurance Declaration Form
In that form, you are attesting to the fact that you have international medical insurance or travel health insurance (for short stays) that:
- Medical or travel medical insurance that is valid for the Republic of Greece
- Medical or travel medical insurance that is valid during the entire period that I will be in the Republic of Greece
- The cover is at least EUR 30.000
- Cover includes repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical care and/or emergency treatment in a hospital
- Agreement that you will carry proof of this medical or travel medical insurance with you, which can be presented to border control officers whenever you enter the Republic of Greece.
4. Health Insurance for Expats and Global Nomads in Greece
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5. Quality of Healthcare Facilities in Greece
"Public hospitals may operate with skeletal staff over weekends, and it may be difficult to locate a doctor or someone who speaks English. Private hospitals have an appearance more akin to the United States and are more expensive. Medical fees can vary considerably in Greece," explained the US Embassy.
6. Healthcare Outside of Athens and on the Greek Islands
"Available medical care on islands and outside of Athens and Thessaloniki may be more limited, with clinics only. Serious medical situations generally require travel to Athens or Thessaloniki for treatment. If doctors determine urgent care is needed, the hospital or clinic will help you arrange travel," wrote the US Embassy. An expat living on the island of Paros wrote, "Nearest proper hospitals are in Athens, a boat or plane ride away. The emergency service in the public health facility is very good, mainly due to a very conscientious doctor. Otherwise there are private clinics which cater for scans, x rays, blood tests etc."
7. You'll Need Someone to Accompany You During Your Stay at a Public Hospital
This may come as a surprise for some expats and global nomads, but if you stay at a public Greek hospital, you'll need bring someone with you to help you during your stay. "In Athens the care is different to UK, for instance there needs to be a carer for the patient, a relative or someone privately paid for when you are in the hospital," explained one expat. This is generally not the case at a private hospital. The US State Department added, "Public hospitals often employ minimal nursing staff overnight and on weekends in non-emergency wards. Consider hiring a private nurse or having family spend the night with the patient, especially a minor child."
8. COVID-19 Related Entry Requirements
Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry? No
The Greek government has setup a website with up-to-date information about Protocols for Arrivals in and Departures from Greece. Protocols involve:
- From 15 March 2022 onwards, travellers visiting Greece are no longer required to fill out the Passenger Locator Form (PLF)
- Additionally, as of Sunday 01.05.2022 and for as long as the epidemiological data allow so, all travellers arriving in Greece, regardless of their country of origin, are no longer required to display a valid certificate of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19, or evidence of a negative test result from SARS-CoV-2 infection (PCR or Rapid Antigen test).
- However, a simplified PLF remains in operation, the completion of which is OPTIONAL, for the sole purpose of enabling the traveller / family to issue an EU Certificate of negative or positive COVID-19 test result.
- Travellers, who decide to fill out the simplified form, will receive the PLF with their unique Quick Response (QR) code via email (the QR code will be provided in a link in the email).
- The PLF can also be found on the Visit Greece app and at travel.gov.gr. It is strongly recommended that all visitors download the Visit Greece app (GDPR compliant) for free, prior to their arrival in Greece.
9 . Emergency Telephone Numbers in Greece
If you are in Greece and need to contact emergency services, please dial 112.
10. Prescription Medications
"If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Greek Embassy or consulate in the United States, the Customs office at Athens International Airport (+30 210-3542126) or the National Organization of Medicines ([email protected], www.eof.gr, +30-213-204-0000) to ensure the medication is legal in Greece. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription," wrote the US State Department.
When we asked if prescription drugs are readily available in Greece, an expat in Paros said, "Yes from the many chemists. I need several prescriptions but get them at 20% of cost under the healthcare programme."
11. Vaccines for Greece
Routine vaccines include:
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine
- Diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine
- Varicella (chickenpox) vaccine
- Polio vaccine
- Yearly Flu Shot
Additional vaccination recommendations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
About the Author
Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.
Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.
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- Cost of Living in Greece
- Residency Guide to Greece
- 11 Important Tips about Healthcare for Expats and Global Nomads in Greece