Healthcare system in Malta: medical tourism and other important details



Healthcare system in Malta: medical tourism and other important details

The quality of medical services in Malta is fully in line with the European level. That is why this small country has become a top destination for medical tourism. Learn more about the healthcare system and the cost of medical services in Malta

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Malta is a small country in Europe. The Mediterranean Sea is the first thing that attracts tourists to Malta from all over the world. And not only that. Treatment abroad is a question that is often asked when planning a trip to a particular country. 

Medical tourism is well developed in Malta. If we talk about public medical institutions, you can get help in them for free. This applies to citizens of the country (with European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) and residents of other European countries. 

The healthcare system in Malta is well-funded, thanks to the country's well-established taxation system and regular payment of national insurance contributions by employees and employers. This is a separate fund of the state that covers most of the services related to treatment (narrow specialists, pregnancy and childbirth, emergency hospitalization, rehabilitation, etc.)

Why do foreigners go to Malta for treatment?

Malta is among the TOP 30 most popular medical tourism destinations according to IMTA, ahead of countries such as China and Saudi Arabia in The Medical Tourism Index. This is confirmed by the high average life expectancy of the Maltese: 79.8 years for men and 84.3 years for women.

Malta is also ranked 12th in the list of the happiest countries in the European Union according to the World Happiness Report, where the quality of healthcare is one of the key criteria. Healthcare spending in Malta is about 10% of GDP, which is higher than the EU average. For comparison, in Spain, these costs do not exceed 8.9% of GDP, and in Ireland - 7.2%.

The healthcare system in Malta meets European standards, which ensures a high level of medical services. At the same time, prices for medical services are one third lower than in Germany, France and the UK. This affordability of medical services with high quality of care makes Malta an attractive destination for medical tourism.

The Maltese healthcare system is known for its efficiency and accessibility. High standards of medical care, reasonable prices and a favorable climate attract not only locals but also foreigners seeking quality and affordable treatment to Malta. This makes Malta an important player in the medical tourism market.

Healthcare system in Malta

Malta is a leader in Europe in terms of the quality of medical care, although the cost of treatment is 30-50% lower than in other EU countries. One of the reasons for the longevity of the Maltese is the favorable climate and healthy Mediterranean diet, but the country's medical system also plays a significant role. Effective health care in Malta ensures successful control and prevention of serious diseases, which contributes to the fact that most residents of the country do not face serious health problems during their lives.

Malta's healthcare system is organized on a pay-as-you-go basis, where the main costs of treatment and prevention are covered by the compulsory health insurance fund. Public health insurance is available to Maltese citizens and officially employed migrants with permanent residence. Citizens of EU and Eurozone countries can receive healthcare with an EHIC card.

The compulsory health insurance policy in Malta entitles you to free medical services in municipal and private clinics within the limits of quotas. These services include:

1. Visit to a family doctor and pediatrician;

2. Basic tests and hardware diagnostics;

3. Support of pregnancy and childbirth;

4. Inpatient treatment and operations;

5. Preventive examinations and vaccinations according to the calendar;

6. Care for the elderly and disabled;

7. Basic dental treatment;

8. Ophthalmologist and audiologist services;

9. Purchase of glasses and hearing aids;

10. Psychological and psychiatric care.

The health insurance system in Malta covers not only basic medical services, but also some types of specialized care. For example, it subsidizes treatment in diabetes centers and rehabilitation services. In municipal healthcare facilities, family doctors are not assigned to specific patients - outpatient appointments are made by the general practitioner or pediatrician on duty.

In private clinics, patients can choose their own general practitioner, but they need to have voluntary health insurance with extended coverage. Large companies often pay for VHI policies for their employees and sign contracts for medical care for their staff in private clinics. Family members can be included in the insurance for an additional fee.

Foreign nationals with temporary visas can receive medical services in Malta under commercial insurance in accordance with the scope of coverage. Basic insurance packages cover only one-time visits to doctors, while premium packages can include premium dental services, treatment of chronic and oncological diseases, and pregnancy management.

Thus, the healthcare system in Malta is quite flexible, offering various options for covering medical services depending on the needs and capabilities of patients. This ensures high quality medical care and accessibility of necessary medical services for all categories of the population, including foreigners.

Planning a trip or move abroad? An important part of a successful trip is an insurance policy, as it guarantees high-quality medical care anywhere in the world and can protect you from unnecessary expenses while travelling. You can buy insurance from trusted agents on the Visit World portal. 

Emergency medical care in Malta

The telephone number for emergency medical assistance in Malta is 196. However, it should be borne in mind that ambulances respond only to the most serious cases where there is a high risk to the patient's life. Emergency medical care is provided free of charge, even without insurance. Payment for inpatient treatment is charged after the patient's condition is stabilized and is covered by insurance if the call was justified.

In case of high blood pressure, fever, exacerbations of chronic diseases and other non-life-threatening conditions, family doctors see patients out of turn. After 8 p.m., a doctor can make house calls to patients with limited mobility. If the patient is able to move independently, he or she will have to get to the hospital on his or her own.

In Malta, emergency care is provided at the Mater Dei clinic in Msida, and on the island of Gozo, at the general hospital in Victoria. This ensures the availability of emergency medical care for all residents and visitors to the island.

How to make an appointment with a doctor in Malta?

It is quite easy to make an appointment with a doctor in Malta if you have a compulsory health insurance policy (CHIP) or voluntary health insurance policy (VHI). You can call your clinic or send an email. In private clinics, online appointments are available via messengers, chatbots, or a feedback form on the website.

Before making an appointment for a consultation under a commercial policy, make sure that the clinic has a contract with your insurance company. A referral from a family doctor is required to pay for specialist services, laboratory and hardware diagnostics under public insurance.

The waiting lists for family doctors in Malta are usually short, and you can get a consultation within a week after submitting an application. You will have to wait several weeks to see a specialist, and planned surgeries can be postponed for a year and a half. To avoid long waits, wealthy patients go to private clinics, and those who want to save money use telemedicine. In many cases, a video consultation is enough to establish a diagnosis and prescribe treatment, which is much cheaper than a visit to a private doctor.

Medical care without insurance in Malta is expensive. A visit to a general practitioner can cost 10-20 euros, and a specialist consultation can cost 50-100 euros. A blood test will cost about 20 euros. If you have commercial insurance, the cost of the consultation is paid on the spot, and to receive insurance payments, you need to send a check or invoice with justification to the operator.

Natural childbirth in Malta costs about 5000 euros, hospital treatment - 200-400 euros per day. Hardware examinations, such as ultrasound (50-200 euros) and MRI (from 150 euros), are partially covered by public health insurance (PHI). The amount of the deductible depends on the patient's income.

Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World

To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need health insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Malta;

Legal advice on immigration to Malta;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Malta;

Medical insurance all over the world.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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