In Greece, the Social Insurance Institute –General Employees’ Insurance Fund, Idryma Koinonikon Asfaliseon – Eniaio Tameio Asfalisis Misthoton, i.e. IKA-ETAM, is responsible for reimbursement of medical care costs. The service number of IKA-ETAM, when telephoning from Greece, is 5200 555 64, and from abroad or from a Finnish subscription +30 21 5200 555 64.
Your should be prepared for a long wait at the offices of IKA, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals. The range of services may not necessarily be as comprehensive as in some other EU or EEA countries either. Be aware too that in in outlying areas, such the smaller islands, there may be long journey to reach services under IKA-ETAM. If, in a situation such as this, you decide to seek treatment privately, you can apply to Kela for reimbursements for costs after returning to Finland.
Be aware, too, that the austerity measures and structural changes in public administration in Greece also affect the public healthcare system. For this reason, you should check the reimbursement rates in effect or the prices for services with the local authorities.
You can ask the local IKA-ETAM office for contact information of doctors and dentists that belong to the IKA-ETAM system. When you consult a doctor you will receive treatment free of charge by showing your European Health Insurance Card and ID. Necessary dental treatment is mainly free of charge too. Frequently, however, you may have to pay separate charges for additional examinations such as X-rays and laboratory tests. You do not necessity require a general practitioner´s referral to see a specialist, but waiting lists may be very long.
Collect prescription medicines prescribed by a IKA-ETAM contracted doctor within five working days of the them being issued. Present your European Health Insurance Card and ID along with the prescription. You will be charged a 25-per cent patient fee for the medicine. Some groups, such as the chronically ill and pregnant women, receive medicines free of charge.
I you have to pay the full price for a medicine, you can claim reimbursement retrospectively from an IKA-ETAM office while you are in Greece. Make sure in the pharmacy that along with your receipts, you also get your prescription back. Transfer the labels that come with the medicine´s packaging to your prescription to enable you to claim reimbursement.
Usually a doctor will provide a referral for hospital treatment. At the same time, you can request IKA-ETAM´s payment commitment to cover your treatment costs. If you do not have payment a commitment, ask the hospital to contact the IKA-ETAM office. Present your European Health Insurance Card and your ID on admission. In this way, treatment should be free.
In emergencies, you can go directly to a public hospital or to the emergency department of an IKA-ETAM-contracted hospital. Urgent medical care is always free of charge.
If you are taken to a private hospital or clinic in an emergency, show your European Health Insurance Card and ask that the hospital contact IKA-ETAM within three days of the incident. IKA-ETAM should approve the medical necessity of your emergency treatment. In that case, you must pay for the treatment yourself first, but you can seek reimbursement from IKA-ETAM on the basis of receipts within six months while you are in Greece. The same percentage will be reimbursed from the cost of treatment as that for equivalent care provided at an IKA-ETAM-contracted hospital.
Emergency ambulance transport to a public hospital is usually free of charge. You may be charged a small patient fee, however.
Transportation by air ambulance, which is the responsibility of the national centre for emergency care, EKAV is free of charge.
If you have to pay all costs yourself
If you have to pay the full price for treatment at a local public healthcare unit for which you would have been entitled to reimbursement with a European Health Insurance Card, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively. You can apply for reimbursement either from the health insurance institution of the destination country or from Kela on form SV 128.