Are you planning to change the trajectory of your life and move to Cyprus? Are you searching for the best health insurance coverage in your new home? Continue reading below to learn all you need to know to guarantee you’re prepared for your move overseas!
There are a whole bunch of things you need to know about and prepare for before moving to a new country – getting a place to stay, finding work, learning the ropes of a new language, seeing what paperwork you need to take care of, buying flights…
But one detail that people sometimes leave to the wayside is health insurance.
The wonderful beaches in the middle of the Mediterranean, the clean waters, the culture, the natural beauty, the good Cypriot hosts, the good food, the low crime rate and the cost of living attract thousands of tourists and expats to the country.
However, the island is divided into Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus. Although the Turkish side located in the north of the island calls itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, most countries do not officially recognize this division. But, if you want to get to know and travel around both sides of the island, I suggest you get to know all the types of visas offered by the two governments: the Greek and the Turkish.
But before I get to your options for international health insurance as an expat in Cyprus, we’ll first chat a bit on how the Cypriot health system is structured, what the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance is, what type of coverage to look for, and much more.
(And don’t forget to read on until the end of the article to learn more about the different types of visas you can use to start your life living, studying, and working in Cyprus!)
How does the Cypriot health system work?
No matter what country you’re moving to, you’ll want to be sure you understand how the health system works. Especially in a place like Cyprus, where you may be able to be covered by the public health system one day.
Cyprus is a member of the European Union and is located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and the country prioritizes health and promotes preventive medicine.
According to the World Health Organization, Cyprus has an excellent healthcare system, and is considered similar to other developed countries.
Government hospitals are located in all major Cypriot cities. Smaller government-run hospitals and clinics are present in other areas of the country. There are also several private hospitals across the country and healthcare is generally affordable.
Medical services are provided by three sectors: the government, the private sector and various other alliances that cover some sectors of the population. State hospitals offer free services, but private health insurance remains popular with expats.
Anyone working in Cyprus, regardless of nationality or residence, must register for social insurance at the District Labor Office, which will issue a medical card to the expatriate.
Non-beneficiaries (without medical card holders) can still use the services of public hospitals by paying a small fee for visiting a general practitioner or specialist. For any other service, you must pay the prescribed fees, as established by the regulation.
European Union citizens who have paid social security in their home countries for a certain minimum period will have access to free healthcare, but this will only be for a limited time.
Do I need health insurance to move to Cyprus?
If you plan to stay in Cyprus more than 90 days, you’ll need a visa. And to qualify for any kind of visa, you’ll need to show proof of health insurance. So the answer is yes, you do need health insurance as an expat in Cyprus!
That’s why it’s quite important that you make sure you have proof of coverage like one of the options I mention on the list below 🙂
But beyond this, an international health insurance plan will also give you some serious peace of mind. Especially when you’re in a country different from your own with new laws, structures, language, or medical costs that you may be unfamiliar with.
That’s why being covered by an international health insurance plan will protect you from emergencies or any unexpected situations. Plus, there’s a bunch of extra benefits to having an international health insurance plan, as I’ll explain in the next question.
As an immigrant in Cyprus, should I get an expat health insurance plan like those on the list below? Why can’t I just get a national Cypriot plan?
Ultimately, the choice is yours and depends on your specific medical needs, coverage required, the length of your stay in Cyprus, and the options available for national plans.
I’ve never had to get extra insurance for Cyprus since I’m a citizen, but based on my experience using them elsewhere, I can say that these international health plans should cover you for whatever you need while in Cyprus. Just make sure to check with your local embassy to make sure you get a plan with the minimum coverage they require.
With all this in mind, here are some of the reasons that you may want to choose an international health insurance plan in place of national coverage:
- The monthly cost of international health insurance plans can be quite low (perhaps lower than a national plan)
- International health insurance is much easier to use if you’ll just be in Cyprus for a short period of time (beyond being a requirement for travelers who are going to stay in the country for a short time anyway)
- International health insurance is more flexible (since you can renew, extend, or cancel your policy at any time, this is a very important feature if you don’t yet know how long you’ll be in Cyprus)
- International health insurance will cover you in other countries as well, not just in Cyprus (hence the “international” in the name)
What nationalities can be covered by international health insurance plans?
The health insurance companies that I’ll list below are for the following citizens that live in Cyprus as expats, immigrants, workers, or even students:
- Citizens of the European Union (Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Belgian, Swedish, et.)
- British (English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish)
- New Zealanders/Kiwis
- And for citizens of almost any other country
Beyond expats/immigrants that reside in Cyprus, these companies also work for residents who live in:
- The United States
- Europe (European Union or the United Kingdom)
- And for expats who live in any almost any other country in the world
In general, as these plans and companies are international, they can be used by practically any person in any place in the world since they have global coverage!
Why can’t I just use travel insurance for my move to Cyprus? What’s the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance?
Travel insurance is truly an essential for any trip so you’ll be covered in case of emergencies or other unexpected situations…as well as any travel emergencies, like lost baggage or canceled lights.
However, it’s important to know that travel insurance is not made for immigrants. Although you can get a travel insurance plan for longer periods of time, it’s really just made for travelers with temporary stays in another county.
Travel insurance coverage is not valid for anyone with a long stay in a single country. So it’s important to choose an insurance plan that specifically covers expats. And that’s what I’ll help you with in the list below.
What are the 7 best (and cheapest!) health insurance companies for expats and immigrants in Cyprus?
Finding the right health plan can be pretty stressful. To help you out, take a look at the table I put together below comparing the different insurance companies that I’ll recommend on the list below.
This way, you can quickly see the pros and cons of each and choose the most suitable plan for you!
After the table, you can find a more detailed description of each company, their plans, benefits, and much more.
That said, my recommendation is to get an online quote with each of the companies I suggest below. It may take a bit of time, but at the end of the day, it can help you save lots of money!
|Medical Maximum||Unlimited (for the Platinum plan)||$8,000,000||The site doesn’t specify||Unlimited||US$1,000,000 per year||The site doesn’t specify||$1,000,000|
|U.S. In-Network Coinsurance||You choose. From 70%(100% thereafter) to 100%||100%||No||60% for maximum coinsurance and then 100%||Yes, for higher fees||Only in emergencies||Yes|
|U.S. Out-of-Network Coinsurance||You choose. From 70%(100% thereafter) to 100%||90% to $5,000 (100% thereafter)||Yes, for higher fees||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Mental Health Availability||No waiting period||12-month waiting period||Co-payment of $25 per visit, waived deductible||75% up to 40 visits / 60% after that||No||Waiting period of 10 months||Depends on the plan|
|Mental Health Benefit||Inpatient and Outpatient: $5,000 lifetime maximum to paid in full depending on the plan||Inpatient and Outpatient: $50,000 lifetime maximum||Co-payment of $250 after deductible||100% up to 60 days||International and ambulance: limit not specified|
|Inpatient Prescription Drugs||$500 to paid in full depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Yes||Complete reimbursement||Yes||Yes|
|Outpatient Prescription Drugs||None, unless you buy the International Outpatient Option||Up to $8,000,000||Complete reimbursement||Yes||Yes|
|Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains||Paid in full||Up to $8,000,000||Yes||Up to $25,000||No||Up to 10,000 euros||Yes|
|Accidental Death & Dismemberment||Depends on the plan||Rider available, limit depends on age.||$50,000||Depends on the plan|
|Emergency Dental||Paid in full||Up to $8,000,000||Optional||1,000 per year, $ 200 per tooth||Yes, however you need to pay an extra fee on top of your plan||Depending on the plan, it’s unlimited||It has coverage in the Diplomat Long Term and Diplomat International plans|
|Treatment Necessary as Result of Terrorism||Up to the amount of the coverage||Rider available up to $50,000-lifetime maximum||Clause available up to maximum of $50,000 in lifetime payments|
|Amateur Sports||Unlimited||Rider available up to $10,000||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Routine Nursery Care of a Newborn Child of a Covered Pregnancy||$25,000 to $156,000 depending on the plan||$1,000 additional deductible, $50,000 lifetime maximum, $200 wellness benefit for first 12 months||Yes||Depends on the plan||Can be unlimited depending on the plan||Can be unlimited depending on the plan|
|Children born as a result of fertility treatment (such as IVF or surrogacy)||Only after the baby is 90 days old||Excluded||Depends on the plan||Excluded||No|
|Neonatal Intensive Care Unit||Check website for updated information||$250,000 maximum for first 31 days||No||Up to $250,000 for the first 31 days||No|
|Pre-existing condition exclusion period||Conditions that are fully disclosed on the application and have not been excluded or restricted by a rider will be covered as any illness||Conditions that are fully disclosed on the application and have not been excluded or restricted by a rider will be covered as any illness||Conditions that are fully disclosed on the application and have not been excluded or restricted by a rider will be covered as any illness|
|Pre-existing condition look back period||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to effective date||Any time prior to the effective date||Any time prior to the effective date||Any time prior to the effective date|
|Pre-existing annual maximum once covered||Unlimited depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan||Full reimbursement||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan|
|Pre-existing lifetime maximum once covered||Unlimited depending on the plan||Up to $8,000,000||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan||Full reimbursement||Unlimited depending on the plan||Unlimited depending on the plan|
Attention: This article and table are made for informational purposes as the information contained here is subject to changes and updates.
In my opinion, the best international health insurance companies for expats in Cyprus are:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Cigna is a company that was founded in the United States that has a large role in Europe. It is a great choice when it comes to international health insurance.
Having been in the market for over 60 years, Cigna is highly recognized for its insurance and has more than 170 million customers worldwide.
My partner, Nikki, had a Cigna health plan herself in order to qualify for her residence card in Sweden.
Cigna’s plan choices are very diverse, and they even have plans made just for expats going to work in another country.
Before your move to Cyprus, you can find family and individual plans. One nice benefit of Cigna is that you have the option to add bonus coverage to your plan based on your exact medical needs.
You can pick from Cigna’s Silver, Platinum, or Gold plan, all of which will give you coverage in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
If you’re looking for a budget health insurance plan for Cyprus, a great option is Cigna’s Close Care plan. This particular plan is the cheapest that Cigna has since it only offers coverage in your country of origin and the country where you plan to reside.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- 24/7 customer service available
- Flexibility to customize plans based on exactly what you need to be covered
- Includes coverage for Covid-19 and PCR tests
- No sign-up required to get a quote
- They have a digital platform to help you find hospitals and clinics near your location
- Cigna will, for the most part, pay health providers directly (so you won’t need to request reimbursement, which can be a long and complicated process)
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Some of their plans don’t cover maternity care
Another company recognized for its international insurance is IMG. It has about two and a half decades of experience and 3 subsidiaries around the world.
IMG also has several types of plans to choose from, whether for individuals or for entire families, expats or travelers. You will see that they have the possibility of plans with long stays of 1 year or more, but also short term travel plans.
Their website is extremely simple to navigate, very intuitive and with filters for dates, duration of the plan, destination and much more, which facilitate the search. In addition to these filters, you can add your personal details like age and specific needs for the best coverage.
Thus, IMG will provide you with a detailed quote that allows you to compare plan and coverage options so that you are free to choose what is best for you.
But when hiring your service, be aware of the details of each plan, as some do not have coverage for certain ages and not all of their plans cover the needs of Covid-19.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- Flexibility plans for different client profiles
- More than 17,000 physicians for support
Disadvantages of signing up for an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Some plans do not cover COVID-19
- No coverage for people 75+ years old
As implied by its name, Now Health International is dedicated to providing an efficient, affordable, and easily accessible service. The company places a strong emphasis on building and maintaining positive customer relationships. They ensure that plan information is presented in a clear and concise manner, and any inquiries or concerns are promptly addressed by their dedicated customer support team.
Now Health plans are specifically tailored to meet the diverse challenges faced by individuals living abroad. Their objective is to provide guidance and facilitate access to high-quality healthcare services worldwide.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- Customized plans according to your needs
- Clear information and excellent customer service team
- Provides coverage in 194 countries and territories
- Plans with high coverage routine maternity coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- You must wait a 12-month grace period to use maternity coverage.
- In some procedures, it is necessary to use the company’s reimbursement system, which means that you would have to pay for your care initially
4. Aetna (acquired by Allianz)
Aetna is an award-winning and benchmark in the international insurance industry. If you are looking for security and credibility at the time of your choice before your move to Nigeria, then this is a good company to consider.
Although they don’t have a wide variety of plans, their plans are flexible and allow you to add additional coverage (such as dental care). Plus, their policies can include coverage up to 5 million USD, depending on the one you choose.
You can choose from family or individual plans, and may include coverage for repatriation and medical evacuation.
As an expat, I highly recommend the Aetna Pioneer. The plan has basic coverage of up to $1.75 million. Simply fill out a short form on the website to see an accurate quote and get detailed information on available policies.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- They cover maternity
- Has an app that summarizes information and easy location of services and providers
- Short, medium and long term travel plans
- 24/7 care
- Pre-travel assistance to help with questions, such as vaccinations and regular use medications
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna
- Low plan diversity
- Higher prices than other companies on the list
Global Underwriters is another company that is very popular when it comes to international health insurance. They also have packages that cater to immigrants, students, digital nomads, and expats.
For someone moving to Nigeria, I recommend Diplomat Long Term or Diplomat International Plan. Both have complete coverage and generally include everything an expatriate will need in their new country.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- Up to $1 million of medical coverage in the two plans mentioned above, and $1 million in coverage in case of accidental death or dismemberment
- All day, every day of the week client assistance
- The above plans have emergency dental coverage, medical evacuations, and repatriation of remains
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwritres:
- Diplomat Long Term does not insure travelers in Iran, Afghanistan and Cuba
- Diplomat International does not cover COVID-19
- Global Underwriters does not cover residents of Australia, Iran, South Dakota, Maryland and New York
SafetyWing is a very popular company that enjoys great recognition in insurance for digital nomads, as it offers specific health insurance plans for remote workers and companies, expats and digital nomads.
One of the biggest advantages of SafetyWing is that their policies are a little more accessible and easier to understand than other companies. They cover, free of charge, children from 2 to 10 years old, if their guardians buy a plan.
Each plan has a specific cost that depends on the age of the person subscribing. The cheapest plan doesn’t cover pre-existing health conditions, but it does cover up to $250,000. But you are free to add pre-existing condition coverage separately if needed.
What I love most about SafetyWing is that the company gives you 30 days of free coverage in your home country for every 90 days you use their plans abroad, like in Nigeria.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Modern website, easy access to information and intuitive
- Customer service every day of the week, 24 hours a day
- 30 days of free coverage in your home country for every 90 days of coverage used abroad
- Coverage for COVID-19 and treatment recommended by medical specialists
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Safety Wing:
- The plans are not as comprehensive and tend to have less overall coverage than some of the other options on this list;
- Website prices do not include fees and taxes that you may have to pay
Foyer Global Health is a major player in international health insurance plans for travelers, expats, digital nomads and immigrants.
It has a wide variety of plans, probably the biggest you can find on the market, in addition to being a reliable company (it is part of the largest European Foyer Group).
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- The plans provide coverage for consultations, dental treatments and even surgeries
- 24/7 online or by phone
- Pre-travel service for vaccinations and first aid kit preparation
- Coverage is available for evacuation and repatriation
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- The coverage limits are not clear
Also for more than two decades in the insurance market, GeoBlue offers insurance plans with international health coverage.
But GeoBlue only insures US citizens and residents. So, if you are not a US citizen or resident moving to Nigeria, you can skip straight to the next option.
GeoBlue has health plans for different types of travelers, including immigrants. Xplorer Essential is the plan I highly recommend, as it’s made for long stays with unlimited coverage.
If you’re looking for a plan for a shorter stay, try the Voyager program. It’s very simple, you just need to fill out a form or get in touch with a broker to get a quote and receive more detailed information about the plans.
Advantages of a health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Feature application such as telemedicine
- 24-hour customer service, seven days a week
- Some plans have coverage for existing medical conditions
- All plans have unlimited coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Only available to US residents or US citizens
- Low plan flexibility
- You need to submit a form or contact a broker for information or a quote for plans
What types of visas can you apply for to live, work, and study in Cyprus?
If you’re planning to live in Cyprus one of your top priorities will be to research and then apply for your visa.
The main types of visa to live on the Greek side of the island are:
- Type C visa – Employees and entrepreneurs in commerce or other fields. The applicant must have 430,000 euros, sufficient land and conduct the activity without negative impact on the economy of Cyprus.
- Type E visa – Individuals offered permanent employment in Cyprus. Your activity must not create unfair competition with local residents.
- Type F visa – Individuals with at least EUR 9,568.17 of annual income. If the applicant has dependent family members, each of them will have at least EUR 4,613.22 of additional annual income. This level of income confirms the availability of funds for a decent life in Cyprus without the obligation to engage in business or employment.
Immigration authorization is also issued to applicants who buy property in Cyprus at a price of 300,000 euros. These individuals automatically fall into the F category.
However, if you intend to go to the Turkish side of Cyprus, know that the most required visas are:
- Internship, course, exchange program, in-service training visa
Foreigners who wish to enter the country for internships, courses, student exchange programs and in-service training can be granted a visa for up to 90 days, provided they can submit formal acceptance letters.
- Work permission visa
It is granted for a period of 30 days to foreigners who have come to the country with a preliminary permit in accordance with the Foreigners Work Permits Act. Citizens of countries that do not have an Embassy, Consulate General, Consulate or other Representative Office in the TRNC must have a passport valid for at least two years to be able to apply for a work permit visa.
- Business establishment visa
Foreigners who come to the country with the aim of starting a business can be granted a visa for a period of 30 days, provided they have the background to start a business.
Residence permit visa
The following types of visas can be issued to foreigners who will enter the country to apply for one of the types of residence permits.
- Visa for Family Residence Permit: Foreigners who will apply for a family residence permit can receive a visa for up to 90 days.
- Visa Due to Ownership of Real Estate: A visa can be issued for up to 90 days to those who have a document of title indicating that they own real estate in the country.
Student Residence Permit Visa Application: Foreigners who come to the country to obtain a student residence permit can receive a 60-day visa after submitting a formal student registration or pre-enrollment letter.
- Visa for judicial and administrative purposes: Those who come to the country at the request or decision of judicial or administrative authorities may be granted a visa for the period of their duty.
- Scientific Research Visa: Those who come to the country for the purpose of scientific research can be granted a visa during the research.
- Visa for Graduates of TRNC Universities: Graduates of 2-year higher education programs or those who have studied at least 3 years in any of TRNC’s 4-year higher education programs can receive a visa valid for 30 days.
Here are the 7 best (and cheapest!) companies for health insurance for expats and immigrants living in Cyprus:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Deciding to begin a new life overseas can be complicated…so I hope this article has helped make that process a little bit easier for you!
If you still have any questions about getting health insurance for your move to Cyprus (or about moving overseas in general), let me know in the comments area below and I’ll get back to you!
Planning your next trip?