The Cyprus’ General Healthcare System (GHS): An Overview

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The General Healthcare System (GHS) is modern, patient-centric healthcare system with the aim of delivering quality healthcare services to beneficiaries.

The main features of the system are:

  • Universal coverage of the population
  • Equal and equitable treatment of all beneficiaries
  • Provision of a comprehensive package of healthcare services
  • Freedom of choice of provider by the beneficiaries
  • Social reciprocity

For the implementation of the GHS, a special fund was established for purposes of gathering the relevant contributions, and from which all payments to providers of healthcare services will be made. The GHS fund will be administered by the Health Insurance Organization (HIO).

According to the provisions of The General Healthcare System (Amending) Law of 2017, that the GHS shall be implemented in two stages.

The first stage of GHS implementation, beginning June 1st 2019, provides for the introduction of outpatient healthcare, i.e. the provision of healthcare services by personal doctors and outpatient specialists, pharmacists and laboratories on June 1st, 2019.

The second and final stage of GHS implementation, beginning June 1st, 2020, includes introduction of all the remaining healthcare services, i.e. inpatient healthcare and services, services offered by allied health professionals (clinical dieticians, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, physiotherapists, and clinical psychologists), nurses and midwifes, the accident and emergency departments, ambulance services, dentists, palliative healthcare services and medical rehabilitation services.

The collection of the contributions for the first stage will start on March 1st, 2019 and for the complete implementation of the GHS on March 1st, 2020.

The GHS Fund revenues will come from contributions, co-payments, personal contributions, donations and legacies, income from assets of the HIO and any other income accrued from the activities of the HIO

Contributions

The main GHS source of financing is contributions.  The payment of the contributions for the first phase will start on 1 March 2019 and for the full implementation on 1 March 2020.

The Contributors’ Categories are:

  • Employees
  • Employers
  • State
  • Self-employed
  • Pensioners
  • Income-earners
  • Goverment Officials
  • Persons responsible for the payment of remuneration to Government Officials

For every natural person, the total maximum annual amount on which contributions will be paid is € 180,000.

In case that the natural person is not a tax resident of Cyprus, he/she will pay contributions only for the income, earnings and pensions that derive from the Republic of Cyprus, excluding dividends and interest.

What are the GHS audit and supervision mechanisms?

The Supervision Commissioner, the Health Insurance organization and the Medical Audit Committee carry out controls regarding the manner in which healthcare services are provided.

  1. Supervision Commissioner

The Supervision Commissioner is an independent officer with authority to investigate complaints lodged by any person in relation to:

  • Any decision, act or failure of the organization in relation to healthcare services covered by the GHS,
  • Any act or failure of the healthcare providers within the framework of the contract they sign with the organization,
  • Any decision, act or failure of the Organization in relation to the healthcare providers.

The Commissioner may examine ex officio any issue of general interest that concerns the effective implementation and operation of the GHS and investigate, following an order by the Council of Ministers, any issue concerning the operation and implementation of the GHS.

  1. Health Insurance Organization Board of Directors

The HIO Board of Directors establishes committees for the investigation of complaints lodged in virtue of the provisions of the GHS relevant legislation by any person.

 

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