Your guide to health insurance in Malta
If you are planning to move or travel to Malta, you may have questions regarding how their healthcare system works, as well as whether international health insurance in Malta is needed. Fortunately, this brief guide offers valuable information about Malta, its healthcare system, and offers useful travel advice for expats and travelers alike. Read on to discover more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Important note: This page is not fully comprehensive and is subject to change without prior notice. It is advisable to consult with a local Malta representative or the Embassy of Malta should you have any doubts before you depart on your journey.
The Maltese archipelago sits virtually at the center of the Mediterranean, roughly 93 km south of Sicily and 288 km north of Africa. The archipelago consists of three unique islands: Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Together, they have a total population of over 450,000 inhabitants occupying an area of 316 square kilometers.
Malta is the largest island and the cultural, commercial, and administrative center of the archipelago. Gozo is the second-largest island and is more rural, characterized by industries, such as fishing, tourism, crafts, and agriculture. Comino, the smallest of the trio, has one hotel and is largely uninhabited.
The Maltese islands are home to a combination of rich coastlines and crisp blue waters. They are famous the world over for diving because of the biodiverse, rocky reefs, plentiful hidden caves, and abundant marine life. In fact, they support a wealth of native animals and plants, and diverse habitats. Biodiversity within the archipelago underpins a healthy and sustainable environment for locals, expats, and travelers to enjoy and respect.
The country has countless megaliths, medieval dungeons, atmospheric towns, and villages, and the streets themselves showcase mainly architectural gems like Renaissance cathedrals and Baroque palaces.
Malta has a subtropical Mediterranean climate, which is strongly influenced by the sea. The Islands that make up Malta experience a sunny climate with a daily average of five to six hours of sunshine in mid-winter to more than 12 hours in the summer. Summers are hot, dry, and very sunny, while winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period. We would encourage travelers and expats to apply the recommended amount of sunscreen to protect against the sun during hot days.
Overview of the healthcare system in Malta
The healthcare system in Malta consists of both the public and private sectors. The country’s healthcare system has a good reputation and it is ranked as one of the best in the world. The state healthcare system is available free of charge to all Maltese citizens and registered long-term residents. Foreign expats and travelers have to secure private health insurance.
Reciprocal health agreements in Malta
Malta has reciprocal health agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom. Citizens of these countries who are visiting the Islands for no longer than one month are entitled to free public medical and hospital care in both Malta and Gozo.
How to register as a resident to receive state healthcare
If you are planning to live in Malta for more than 3 months, you must register as a resident.
To apply for your residency permit, you need to go to the:
Department for Citizenship and Expatriates Affairs
St Elmo's Square
Tel: 2590 4600
Email: [email protected]
Take note: Residency permit applications can only be submitted in Valletta. You can also apply by post. When you apply by post, you need to send photocopies of your passport or ID card that have been authenticated by the police. Once complete, you’ll need to present your passport or ID card when collecting your registration certificate or residence card.
The public healthcare system in Malta
Patients are primarily admitted to Maltese hospitals through a doctor's referral, or they may be directly admitted to a hospital in the event of an emergency situation.
The public healthcare system is funded by social security (taxation), to which all employers and employees within the country make a weekly contribution. Dependents of employed family members are covered for public healthcare. The unemployed, pensioners, people on a long-term sickness benefit, or women who are currently on maternity leave do not have to contribute to the healthcare fund.
People who are entitled to public healthcare in Malta can enjoy a full range of medical services in government health centers and hospitals. Public hospitals provide a wide range of inpatient and outpatient treatments. Most medical services covered under the Maltese public option include specialist treatment, hospitalization, prescriptions, pregnancy, childbirth, and rehabilitation.
There are many English speaking medical staff working in hospitals and medical institutions throughout the country. In the unlikely event that the healthcare provider is unable to communicate in English, an interpreter or translator is normally stationed in the hospitals or clinics to facilitate communication between the patient and the medical staff.
Public hospitals in Malta
Mater Dei is the primary hospital located on the main island of Malta. St Luke’s in Pietà provides a full range of services including open-heart surgery, transplants, psychiatric treatment, and more. Other hospitals are available, including the oncology hospital ‘Paul Boffa’ in Floriana, the geriatric hospital St Vincent De Paule, and the Gozo General Hospital based in Gozo.
Is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) acceptable for healthcare in Malta?
If you are an EU national in possession of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may be entitled to free healthcare in Malta. However, it is important to note that, depending on which EU member state you are a citizen of, some restrictions may apply towards the duration of your stay in Malta and the medical coverage you are entitled to receive within the country. It is recommended that you check with your local authority prior to traveling to Malta.
If you are a non-EU national and planning to travel to or stay in Malta for a longer period, it is strongly recommended that as travelers/expats, you purchase comprehensive travel insurance and/or a Malta expat medical insurance plan. This will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation in the event of a serious illness or accident.
Private healthcare in Malta
Private healthcare co-exists alongside state healthcare in Malta, and patients are responsible to pay for all the services rendered either from out-of-pocket payments or through private health insurance. Some Maltese residents who are entitled to public healthcare choose to purchase additional private health insurance on top of the basic state healthcare coverage to ensure that they are fully covered for a wider range of services, shorter waiting times, and a higher standard of care than that typically available from government hospitals and clinics.
Private hospitals in Malta
There are two private hospitals in Malta: Da Vinci hospital and St James hospital. Both offer excellent services and focus on the promotion of health in their patients and not simply providing treatment for injury or illness. They have modern and comfortable facilities with friendly and highly-qualified staff.
Visiting a pharmacy in Malta
Primary healthcare department pharmacies are found throughout the Maltese Islands. Visitors receiving or planning to receive special medical treatment should bring a medical prescription or a letter of introduction from their family doctor, in case they need to purchase particular medicines.
Secure health insurance for private healthcare in Malta
Should you desire to receive immediate treatment with a private doctor or at a private clinic of your choice, an expat medical insurance plan will be the optimal solution for you. This will give you peace of mind knowing that medical costs will be covered quickly and efficiently in case of an accident or illness for yourself and your family while traveling to Malta.
Add on medical evacuation cover
When getting a private health insurance quote, it’s also worth adding on medical evacuation cover, especially when you are far from home and unfamiliar with the healthcare system in Malta. Even if things cannot possibly go wrong, having cover prepares you for the unfortunate event of needing rapid medical response and transportation to the nearest well-equipped hospital. Thus, securing medical evacuation cover will ensure effective management of medical treatment during emergencies.
How to find the best private health insurance in Malta
It can be a challenging task to find the best private health insurance policy in Malta. The problem most people experience is not knowing where to start or even who to trust. However, one of the best decisions travelers and expats can make is to consult an experienced insurance broker like Pacific Prime.
Pacific Prime has over two decades of experience matching expats and travelers with the most optimal health insurance solutions on the market.
Contact Pacific Prime today to secure the best insurance solution with the help of consultants that can provide impartial advice and support.