The Greek national health system provides healthcare services through a network of ESY-public/state providers and EOPYY-contracted private healthcare providers (doctors, clinics, diagnostic laboratories, etc) for primary, ambulatory and hospital care. EU citizens with a certificate of entitlement (EHIC, S form) issued by the statutory health insurance service of their state of social insurance have access to the public healthcare system on the same terms and conditions as the domestic insured population.
Public health care services are provided by ESY-public healthcare providers and EOPYY-contracted private healthcare providers. The insured persons have access to a unified health benefits package which includes primary care, diagnostics, specialist outpatient and inpatient care.
Specifically, the statutory health benefits package includes:
- ambulatory medical treatment
- diagnostic/laboratory/clinical tests
- dental treatment
- physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychotherapy
- medicines, consumables, dietary supplements, medical devices
- hospital treatment
- supplementary healthcare (orthopedics, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetics etc)
- long-term care
- obstetric care and ivf
- healthcare abroad
- vaccination programs
EU citizens with a certificate of entitlement (EHIC, S form) issued by the statutory health insurance service of their state of social insurance have access to the public healthcare system on the same terms and conditions as the domestic insured population. EHIC holders are expected to present their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and their id or passport at the point-of-service. EU citizens who are affiliated with the Greek statutory health insurance system (through S forms) are expected to have an EU-AMKA (social security number for citizens with EU-statutory health insurance) and use it at the point-of-service. For information on how and where to register as an EU-AMKA holder, you may contact the Electronic National Social Security Fund (eEFKA) at the email: email@example.com or EFKA-International Relations at the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Primary/ambulatory care is mainly provided through the PEDY-national primary care networks on community level. ESY-hospitals may also provide specialized ambulatory care at their outpatient departments. Hospital care is provided at ESY-hospitals. Access to healthcare is also available with private healthcare providers who are contracted with EOPYY, the National Organization for the Provision of Health Services.
Patients can directly access ambulatory care by visiting a physician in PEDY urban facilities, rural health centres or hospital outpatient departments. The physician may prescribe necessary medications or diagnostic tests or refer the patient to a specialist. Patients may choose to consult EOPYY-contracted specialists or a specialist at an ESY-hospital or EOPYY-contracted hospital for care.
Ambulatory care in rural and semi-urban areas is mostly delivered by a network of PEDY-health centres staffed with GPs and specialists (paediatricians, gynaecologists, orthopaedists, ophthalmologists, urologists, dentists, general surgeons, psychologists, radiologists, physiotherapists, microbiologists, nurses, midwives and social workers). In addition, rural surgeries and local health units (TOMY) that are administratively linked to health centres are staffed with publicly employed doctors and medical graduates. The number of available doctors in each health centre depends on the characteristics of the covered area (e.g. size, economic growth, epidemiological profile, access to hospital etc).
EOPYY also contracts private practices, laboratories and diagnostic centres and other health professionals to provide health care services to those insured. A system of monthly caps operates on physician activity. Every doctor contracted with EOPYY has a limit of 200 visits per month and there is also a monthly ceiling on the value of pharmaceuticals. The latter varies according to specialization, number of patients prescribed for, the prefecture etc. This means that the beneficiaries of statutory health insurance who are in need of a doctor’s visit or a prescription and choose to consult an EOPYY-contracted doctor must either find a physician who has not reached his or her ceiling or they will have to pay privately.
In addition to public ambulatory care services, there are private practices, dental practices, diagnostic centres etc. The majority of private facilities are located in Athens and Thessaloniki. Private facilities offer services directly to patients on a fee-for-service basis, paid directly by patients or through private insurance.
Specialized ambulatory care, when not available on community level in PEDY-health centres, is provided through private practices and outpatient departments of public hospitals. The outpatient departments of public hospitals provide specialized outpatient care within the ESY. They cover all specialties and are the major providers of ambulatory care services in urban areas. They provide free services for the insured population and EHIC holders during morning hours and visits are scheduled by appointment. Afternoon services in hospital outpatient departments are also established with the same publicly employed doctors working in the hospital providing private consultations on an appointment basis. They are paid directly by patients on a fee-for-service basis which varies from €16 to €72, depending on physicians’ grades.
Inpatient hospital care
EHIC holders or EU citizens who have been affiliated with the Greek statutory health insurance system can access ESY hospitals free of charge by simply presenting their EHIC of EU-AMKA respectively and their identity card (ID) or passport. When they are treated at an EOPYY-contracted private hospital, they are expected to pay part of the cost as co-payment.
In addition to public inpatient hospital services at ESY-hospital, there are private general or specialized hospitals. The majority of private facilities are located in Athens and Thessaloniki. Private facilities offer services directly to patients and are paid directly by patients or through private insurance. Private healthcare providers with no contract with the statutory health insurance system are free to set their own prices. However, no discrimination should be made in pricing between domestic patients and patients seeking treatment from other EU countries.