New Cyprus healthcare service causing problems for expats

Published:  24 Jun at 6 PM
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Expats living and working in Cyprus are being denied online registration access to the island’s recently launched national health service.

EU citizens including expat Britons as well as Turkish Cypriots living and working on the island are complaining to local media that they’re unable to register online for the General Healthcare System. In addition, expatriate Greek residents are being told they must present proof of their residency even although they’re paying into Cyprus’s Social Insurance Fund and special agreements exist between the two countries. One Greek expat who’d been working on the island for almost 10 years was told she must give hard evidence of her address, and a British widow who’d been in residence for almost 50 years has also experienced registration problems.

A Turkish Cypriot who’s worked for 20 years at the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation is bitterly disappointed as he feels the difficulties he’s encountered are connected with his ethnicity. He told reporters he needs to know why he was told he must prove his address whilst his Cypriot neighbour doesn’t have to. He’s simply asking to be treated equally, and quoted a letter he’d received from the Health Insurance Organisation which stated proof of address is required from all Turkish Cypriots wishing to register.

When asked by reporters to clarify the situation, president of the HIO board Thomas Antoniou stated there was no discriminatory intention as the scheme intends to provide healthcare for all residents. Quoting software problems on the website’s registration pages, he said the board is aware of the problems and are working to resolve the technical issues in order to allow all to benefit in equal terms from the new healthcare system. However, he added the rule that Turkish Cypriots must prove their addresses still stands, even although some 80,000 are already on the register with their home addresses.
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