COVID-19 and the GHS of Cyprus

The General Healthcare System (GHS) of Cyprus revolves around a patient-centric healthcare system constantly striving to provide quality healthcare services to its beneficiaries without discrimination or restrictions.  The GHS established a fund in order to gather the relevant contributions from which all payments to the Healthcare providers will be made.  This is according to The General Healthcare System (Amending) Law 2017 provisions which will be implemented in two stages and administered by the Health Insurance Organization (HIO). The Supervision Commissioner, the Health Insurance organization and the Medical Audit Committee regulate the manner in which healthcare services are provided with authority to investigate complaints by any person concerning the operation and implementation of the GHS.

The first stage was with regards to outpatient healthcare and was implemented on the 1st of June 2019.  It included the provision of health care services by personal doctors, pharmacists and outpatient specialists.  The second stage, scheduled for implementation on the 1st of June 2020 (with increased contributions set to be applied on the 1st of March 2020) , concerns all the remaining healthcare services offered by health professionals such as physiotherapists, nurses, dentists, ambulance services and many more services offered by other allied health professionals. 

The GHS Fund revenues are obtained by contributions, donations and any other income accrued from the activities of the HIO.  However, the main source of financing the GHS derives directly from the contributions made by the following parties: Employees & Employers; Self-employed; Pensioners, other Income earners; the State, and Government Officials.  In relation to natural persons who are exempt from paying taxes to the Cypriot government, their contributions will be calculated on the basis of income obtained from earnings and other pensions that derive from the Republic of Cyprus excluding any dividends and interest.

The recent outbreak of COVID-19, and the business disruption which followed, has necessitated the government of Cyprus to introduce several measures in order to support the country’s economy.  One of these measures is the decrease of contributions to the GHS. On the 27th of March 2020 the House of Representatives approved the Program for Financial Support to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 by implementing an exemption from payment of the increase GHS contribution for a period of three months (April, May and June 2020). 

As per the amending law, the contribution rates to the GHS that were applicable in the first stage (1st of March 2019 until 28th of February 2020), will also apply for the months of April, May and June 2020.  The circumstances have been changed and therefore the increased contribution rates to the GHS that are applicable from the 1st of March 2020 (as per the second stage), will apply for the whole of March 2020, put on hold for April, May and June 2020 and then from the 1st of July 2020 onwards. 

In the circumstances where businesses/employers have already proceeded in the implementation of the reduced rates for March 2020, the three-month period applies from the 1st of March 2020 until 31st of May 2020.  Otherwise, the three-month period applies from the 1st of April 2020 until 30th of June 2020.

The table below depicts the period of application of the relevant contribution rates to the GHS per contributor’s category:

 

GHS Contribution Rates

1/3/2020 – 31/3/2020

1/4/2020 – 30/6/2020

1/7/2020 Onwards

Employees

2.65%

1.70%

2.65%

Employers

2.90%

1.85%

2.90%

Self-employed/ Sole Practitioners

4.00%

2.55%

4.00%

Pensioners

2.65%

1.70%

2.65%

Individual Holding an Office or Employment

2.65%

1.70%

2.65%

The Republic of Cyprus or any natural or legal person responsible for the payment of emoluments to any person holding an office or employment

 

2.90%

 

1.85%

 

2.90%

Income other than Emoluments

2.65%

1.70%

2.65%

Consolidated Fund of the Republic

4.70%

1.65%

4.70%

© 2020 PELECANOS. All Rights Reserved
Designed & Developed by