Health Insurance/IKA

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Stavros21
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:47 am

Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Stavros21 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:29 pm

Amigos,
Yesterday, I spoke with AXA in Athens about private health cover. They told me that past 65 and 6 months, they do not offer cover. I have private health cover in Bangkok, with a clean record, but AXA take no account of that. I have not spoken to other insurers, but suspect the response will be the same.
I am retired and have my UK state pension plus a private annuity. I would become a Greek tax resident - I know, that hurts :roll: . Does any one know if it is possible to pay into the public health system as a retiree, and if so, what the monthly/annual payment is. I could get cover with CIGNA, but the premiums are very high. Any insights would be gratefully appreciated.

James

Kilkis
Posts: 10512
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Kilkis » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:32 pm

I think all insurers in Greece have a pretty low cut off age for health insurance but there might be a bit of variation so it could be worth asking around.

As far as I am aware you can only contribute to EFKA, which replaced IKA and other schemes, if you are working. When you retire you can make some voluntary contributions to increase your record. For example I only worked about 13.5 years in Greece and the minimum contributions to qualify for a pension is 15 years. For the basic pension the difference was made up by NI contributions in the UK through the EU wide Directive on social security cooperation but I had to make about 1.5 years worth of voluntary contributions to qualify for the auxiliary pension.

When you receive a Greek pension, insurance contributions are still deducted from it to assist with healthcare, although at a lower rate then when you are working.

Warwick

Stavros21
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:47 am

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Stavros21 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:50 pm

Warwick,

Many thanks. Most helpful. Am I right in thinking that the payment of income tax and solidarity tax does not qualify a person for public healthcare?

I'll post any feedback I get from other insurance companies. I'm sure many 'senior' ex pats are concerned about this issue.

Best wishes,

James

Kilkis
Posts: 10512
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Kilkis » Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:20 pm

If you look at this thread you will see in a post about 5 down by Carol saying that a new law was passed in 2016 that provides basic healthcare even if you don't have insurance. Prior to that law you only qualified for healthcare if you were contributing to an insurance scheme, either private or EFKA. Also if you stopped paying EFKA, e.g. because you lost your job you also lost healthcare after about 1 year. If you are registered as tax resident in Greece and being assessed for tax here on your worldwide income and you have an AMKA number then I think you would get some cover under this scheme. There is no guarantee how long this law will continue.

Warwick

altohb
Posts: 877
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:51 pm
Location: Sitia

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby altohb » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:50 pm

We have, in the past, used Healthcare International, based in London. With Brexit looming, we may have to do so again! Premiums definitely more sensible than anyone else and they appear willing to cover "older" people.

Stavros21
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:47 am

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Stavros21 » Sat Apr 20, 2019 12:01 pm

Thank you Warwick. I have seen that thread.

I'll check out Healthcare International.

IzzyWhizz
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 4:48 pm

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby IzzyWhizz » Fri May 31, 2019 1:13 pm

If you have a State Pension from the UK, you can apply to the Business Services section of the NHS for an S1 (via the http://www.gov.uk website). They send 2 copies of the S1 out to your address in Greece and you then take these to the local EFKA (IKA) office, who process your application for you online - no book was issued to me when I went through this process last week, just a certificate. You then have to register with a local doctor and - hey presto! - you are entitled to the same healthcare as a greek pensioner. Beware, however, that this cover will not be the same as the total cover you would receive in the UK. Just be sure you take a photocopy of the forms BEFORE you take them into EFKA. That way, if you wish to return to the UK permanently, you reverse the process and de-register with EFKA and your local doctor and notify the NHS of your change of circumstances. If you have gone through all of the above, this still allows you emergency treatment under the NHS should you be taken ill while visiting the UK and you should only need a top-up insurance policy with a private company to cover treatment you are not entitled to under the greek state scheme.

Stavros21
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:47 am

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Stavros21 » Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:00 am

Izzy Whizz,

Many thanks for your input. I have already spoken with the NHS and am eligible for the S1 certificate. My concern is that reciprocal health arrangements with the UK may end following our EU exit. In that case, private insurance is the only option.

Here are some quotes. I'll be 66 in August.

HCI Standard Plan with £670K cover, £700 excess, 10% co-pay:
61 to 65 £1518
66 to 70 £2277
71 to 75 £4555

CIGNA Silver Plan with £650k cover, £1000 excess, 10% co-pay - age 65 £2048

Pacific Cross International
61 to 65 $5733
66 to 70 $8826
71 to 75 $12,392

Allianz Greece Essential Plan with €500k cover, €1500 excess - age 65 €4955

Generali Greece will only quote up to 65 and 6 months.

Quotes from William Russell and other international insurers are 'off the Richter'!

In Thailand, I have 10 million baht cover (£250K) and an excess of 200,000 baht (£5000). My premium will be around 50,000 baht (£1250) after the no claims discount. If I did not have an excess, the premium would be twice this figure! My insurer is Pacific Cross.

It seems that the premiums soar if you insure through an 'international' company.

This is a major issue, particularly as health premiums significantly outstrip annual inflation. I hope this is helpful to anyone else in the same situation.

Best wishes,

James

bobscott
Posts: 2389
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 5:36 pm
Location: Kokkino Horio

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby bobscott » Wed Jun 05, 2019 9:47 am

Stavros21 wrote:
This is a major issue, particularly as health premiums significantly outstrip annual inflation. I hope this is helpful to anyone else in the same situation.

Best wishes,

James


Unless there is a safety net which will apply to UK expat pensioners, this is the thing that will send many back to the UK at HUGE cost to the NHS. The inability to get private health cover here beyond about the age of 70 will make life very difficult. Choices to be made, especially for those of us who no longer have property in the UK. Bob.
Yesterday today was tomorrow. Don't dilly dally!

GlennB
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 9:38 pm

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby GlennB » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:54 pm

With both of us here pushing 69 this is our nightmare scenario.

Stavros21
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:47 am

Re: Health Insurance/IKA

Postby Stavros21 » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:37 am

Hi Bob and Glen B,

Thank you for commenting.

After 65, private health cover is extremely difficult.

The premiums quoted by the 'international' insurers are horrific. Last year I was contacted by BUPA International. 'Hi James, did you get our quote'. 'Yes', I replied, ' your figure is obscene'. They wanted £7,500 pa!!! This is going to be a real problem unless reciprocal funding arrangements are implemented between the 28. Much though I am reluctant to return to the dreary climes of the UK, it may be the only option.

Self-insuring is an option, but if you get a catastrophic illness your savings will disappear in a puff of smoke.

Never a dull moment :)


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