Copyright © 2004-2019  All rights reserved.  Carol Palioudaki      Living in Crete
Living in Crete
Health - National Insurance
EU Reciprocal Health Care     AMKA      Working & Paying IKA Insurance      Self Employed             Obtaining an IKA Health Book


National Insurance    
The National Organisation for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY / PEDY ) is Greece’s state-
owned health insurer, providing health cover for IKA and OAEE since March 2012.

Reciprocal IKA Insurance for Health Care for EU Citizens

Electronic Health Cards
The electronic European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides health insurance abroad for visitors and
within the EU.  You can apply for a card online at or at your local post office in the
When you need to see a doctor or dentist in Greece just go along to a local IKA office (The Social Insurance
Foundation) with your EHIC card to make an appointment. You can see an IKA / EOPYY registered GP or
specialist free of charge, and IKA prescriptions may be issued by them.
Officially the health card is only valid for short term visitors and travellers who are normally resident in another
EU country.

UK Pensioners
Pensioners who intend to take up residence in Greece and who are entitled to free medical treatment in the
United Kingdom or other EU country,  also enjoy a similar entitlement in Greece.  They should produce to
their local IKA office form S1 (previously E121) which is issued by their local Department of Health Office in
the United Kingdom, along with the required documents listed below
* and they will be issued with an IKA
health book.

UK Unemployed
A person coming to look for work in Greece, who was unemployed in the UK or other EU country, is entitled to
free medical treatment in Greece if he/she produces to their local IKA office form S1.  In the UK this is also
issued by the local Department of Health Office.  In both the above cases IKA will exchange the form for a
medical booklet. You will also need to take along the documents listed below
Details on Umemployment Benefit for those who have worked and paid IKA contributions in

Those moving permanently to live or work in Crete, who do not fit into any of the above categories, will NOT
be eligible for Greek state health insurance cover. (See changed rules from 2014 NHS

This works within the EU framework as EU rules state that citizens of an EU county living in another EU
country have the same entitlement as citizens in the country they live.
In Greece there is no automatic
entitlement to health insurance for all for its citizens.
Greece has a contributory health insurance scheme which is only available to working people. Any citizens
who do NOT work and pay contributions or do not receive a pension or who are not registered as
unemployed, do not receive free health insurance (although emergency treatment at hospitals for those
uninsured will be covered under a new regulation  (see
Minister instructs hospitals to treat uninsured patients
Feb 2016).

For citizens of other EU countries you should check your entitlement with the national health
service of your home country

* Documents required for  IKA health book (Βιβλιάριο υγέιας) under the reciprocal agreement for
form Form S1.

  • form S1 ( old E121 & E119
  • photocopy of passport
  • you may also be asked to produce a residence certificate
  • tax number
  • 2 photographs
  • An AMKA number - see below

Check at your local IKA office on arrival in Greece for updates.


The Greek IKA health book is valid for 12 months at a time, between March 1st and February 28th
of the following year and should
be renewed /validated yearly at an IKA office or KEP office.

AMKA (Αριθμος Μητρώου Κοινωνικής Ασφάλισης -  Social Security Number) is essentially the  Greek
unified national insurance number for those living in Greece -  employers, employees, pensioners plus
dependant members of their families are required to obtain one.

AMKA replaces the registration number Αριθμό Μητρώου (ΑΜ) previously issued by insurers to the insured
persons and pensioners. The 13 different National Insurance services of Greece (IKA, OAEE, TAXI, OGA etc)
have until now all issued their own AM numbers. AMKA  will unify the National Insurance numbers.


Non-Greek PENSIONERS and their dependants, and others receiving health cover via an S1 also each
require an AMKA number.

According to information given by the AMKA Helpline, those Non-Greek citizens who are not registered in
Greece's social security system are NOT required to obtain AMKA (e.g. those who live in Greece part time
but are still primarily registered in their home country, or those who do not work and pay contributions in
Greece and who have private medical insurance and do not yet qualify for a pension and health cover in

How to get an AMKA number
If you are unsure whether or not you already have an AMKA number you can also try checking online by
filling in the form at   (in Greek only).
There is also an AMKA helpline on telephone number 11131

Don't forget that even if you have an AMKA number yourself, you will still have to apply for a
separate AMKA number for any children and other dependants.

Go to your local KEP office (Citizens Advice) to apply for any AMKA number with the following documents for
each family member:

1)Passport or Greek (or corresponding) ID card.

"You may require a civil status document - 'πιστοποιητικό οικογενειακής κατάστασης'  officially translated
into Greek, where the passport or documents do not contain the required information for the inventory."
from the AMKA website. In the UK there is no such document. Basically the extra information they need is
your father and mother's names. Showing a tax return, for example, with this information should suffice.

3)For dependent children - a copy of the πιστοποιητικού οικογενειακής κατάστασης or birth certificate.


An AMKA number will be issued at the KEP office and a card may subsequently be centrally issued and sent
to your postal address. NB in many cases people have not received the AMKA card - dont worry, the main
thing is that you have a record of your number.

Working And Paying National Insurance (IKA) Contributions

If you are employed in Greece your employer should be making National Insurance contributions for you,
usually IKA, although there are others such as 'TAXI' for hotel employees -  the information here is with
regards to IKA as this is the most common.

IKA contributions are expensive (around  30% of  your salary) and until fairly recently many employers have
tended to exploit workers by not paying their National Insurance. However the authorities are keen to stamp
out this practice and the majority of employers nowadays go by the book as they are not prepared to risk
hefty fines.

Contributions should be made monthly by an employer. If you are employed full time you will have around 25
days 'stamps' (contributions, days work) per month. IKA send statements (via your employer, for you) with
your number of days IKA paid per 3 month period, in arrears. Your local IKA office also has a computer
record or your stamps and you can ask for a print-out copy at any time.

Obtaining an IKA Health Book
A minimum of 50 days IKA payments are required to apply for an IKA health book, which entitles you to free
medical care and reduced price prescriptions.

Once you have acquired 50 days 'stamps' you can obtain your IKA health book immediately by taking along
your statements from IKA showing your contributions (or a validation from your employer's accountant)
together with 3 photos and your passport  to the IKA office and one should be issued to you on the spot. The
health book is valid yearly from March 1st to February 28th of the following year, and must be renewed
yearly in February.  You must have a minimum of 50 days IKA contributions in each year to renew the health
book for the following year.

Self Employed
National Insurance for the self employed  - OAEE
Self employed professionals and businesses are require to register with OAEE  - Οργανισμός Ασφαλίσης
Ελευθερών Επαγγελμάτων - the Insurance Organisation for Self Employed

Obtaining an OAEE Health Book
Application should be made at the local OAEE office, together with proof of the last 3 months insurance
payments, photographs and your passport or Greek ID card.

Don't fit in any of the above categories?
If you do not fit into any of the categories above, or if you are a non EU citizen and not covered by the
reciprocal agreement, you will need to pay for medical treatment in Greece. It's advisable that you take out
private medical insurance for health cover in Greece.
Seasonal workers and others may wish to opt for extra cover such as medical transportation home in the
event of an illness or accident, or treatment in private medical centres in Crete. There are policies available
for short term medical insurance, as well as yearly policies, with various companies.
AMKA card

See also  Medical Treatment  and  Doctors & Dentists
Brexit Update on Healthcare for UK Citizens Living in Greece

The Greek Government have agreed a reciprocal healthcare arrangement, in the case of a no deal
Brexit, until December 2019.

Read more on Brexit & Healthcare in Greece here