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Health and Travel insurance in Malta. Do you need it?

The Republic of Malta is a popular tourist destination in the European Union visited by people from all over the world year-round. Its white sandy beaches bordering the warm, pristine waters of the Mediterranean Sea are a must-visit destination for travellers. With a rich and diverse history and cultural heritage, the small island has served as home to almost all of the major civilisations and empires that have reigned the globe since pre-history. Filled with UNESCO world heritage sites and natural reserves, the island pays tribute to its culturally diverse past at every step of the way and tourists and travelers are left stunned by the surreal combination of natural beauty and comprehensive history that the Republic of Malta has to offer. Serving as important naval headquarters for many armies across history, the archipelago is now the fifth smallest sovereign state in the world, earning most of its economy through tourism and its recent citizenship scheme.
Being a densely populated country, Malta has a comprehensive public health programme that caters to a large number of people. Thus, the country also has a well-established health and travel insurance culture regulated by its internal organisations following the general requirements of the European Union.

Health Insurance in Malta

For residents of the republic, the public and private health insurance sector in Malta has a variety of options to suit the individual needs of the people that grace its soil.

Short Visits to Malta

Citizens of the EU visiting Malta for short periods can avail the benefits of the European Health Insurance Card that grants healthcare in all members of the European Union at the same prices as that of a local. That means that all public healthcare services can be availed free of cost at any of the public hospitals in Malta by residents of the EU having the EUIC.
Certain costs such as emergency operations or air-lifting of the patients to their home countries may not be covered under the EUIC. Countries that are not part of the EU may have other bilateral agreements with the Maltese government in terms of healthcare and it is always better to research the relationship between your country of origin and your destination before planning any travel.

Insurance for Residents of Malta

Malta has a comprehensive healthcare system supported by the public taxation and social security programmes of the country. For residents, the government of Malta offers a range of possible health insurance options, and plans are provided by various private companies as well at competitive costs. The public health insurance programme of Malta covers all permanent and temporary residents of Malta as long as they are included in the tax net of the country. All resident of Malta, even those exempt from the tax net such as retirees etc. are eligible to avail the public health insurance systems of the country.

For Retirees of Malta

Whether you’re an expat living in Malta, or a permanent resident of the country, retirees on the pension programme and those protected by social security may qualify for the free healthcare programmes in Malta under the public health insurance facilities of the country. Most countries of the EU also have specific agreements with the Maltese government in terms of reciprocating costs of healthcare for expats living in Malta. However, there may be a few exceptions within the EU as well.

For Residency in Malta

If you’re planning on obtaining a residency in Malta, either temporary or permanent, then you will need to consult the local public administration system to find out how you can acquire eligibility to avail the public-funded health insurance system of the country. In certain cases, where the resident declares self-sufficiency and does not require employment or a continued source of income, then the resident may become ineligible for the public health insurance system and in this case can opt for one of the private companies offering comprehensive health insurance plans in the country.

Private Health Insurance Options in Malta

If you’d rather like to opt for a private health insurance plan with more benefits as compared to the public healthcare option, then you have the option to choose from a number of prestigious health insurance brokers based in the country to meet your needs. Most of these private health insurance companies partner with a particular private hospital to deliver health services to their clients. Malta has numerous highly established private healthcare institutions that offer world-class medical services.

The Cost of Private Health Insurance in Malta

The cost of private health insurance in Malta can range from anywhere between 50 euros to a few hundred euros per month depending on your specific plan and carrier. Most private health insurance carriers charge on the basis of specific requirements of the client which may depend on whether your plan includes doctors’ and clinic fee, surgery, hospitalisation and extended stay and whether deductibles are charged on your visits.
Options may range from high-end premium plans to more easily affordable coverage options to support all income brackets in the country. Tests and other advanced requirements such as the need for specialists and consultations can increase the overall costs of the health insurance and all of these facilities may not be covered by the health insurance plan explicitly. As always, it is better to research your options and read the fine print before making financial decisions.

Public vs Private Health Insurance in Malta

Whether you opt for public funded health insurance or a private plan of your own choice, the Maltese market has a lot of options to offer for your particular requirements. Some people are often of the view that private health insurance is the better option due to the opinion that private carriers provide faster service as compared to the public healthcare system.
Although this may not always be true, people still prefer to use private health insurance in many cases due to the fact that private companies often provided coverage for existing health conditions that may require treatment and care in the future and in this way the investment in private health insurance becomes a sort of future investment or cover in case a complicated surgery or hospitalisation is required in the future.

Travel Insurance in Malta

Malta attracts an increasing yearly number of tourists and visitors every year to its beaches, resorts and hotels. For residents, a vacation abroad can be a welcome change of scenery. If you’re a Maltese resident thinking of travelling abroad for work or pleasure, getting a travel insurance plan is the best way to provide cover and protection against any unforeseeable circumstances that you may face during your travels abroad.

What Does Travel Insurance in Malta  Cover?

Travel insurance plans vary depending on your plan or service provider, but most companies offer basic tenets to their clients. These may cover:
• Medical emergencies requiring treatment or hospitalisation in a foreign country
• Loss of passport
• Accidents or Death during travels
• Delayed or Missed flights and reimbursement
• Lost Luggage or Personal Cash
• Loss of personal items
• Legal or Court expenses
• Repatriation costs
• Business accommodation and expenses
Services provided by Travel Insurance
The actual services offered by your insurance plan depend on several factors such as,
• The country you are visiting,
• Your age
• Whether you are a resident of the EU or Malta
• Whether your state has specific arrangements with your destination
• The duration of the visit
• The number of people that the insurance plan covers etc.

All these factors are decided by the specific plan chosen by the clients to insure their travels abroad.
Most plans available in Malta provide cover for residents of Malta up to 89 years of age. Furthermore, most companies offer extended coverage plans depending on the length of your visit abroad, with most companies providing options of coverage ranging from 17 to 120 days.

Some companies also cover the cost of hospitalisation and medical attention in the case of pre-existing medical conditions which may require treatment while travelling abroad.

Country-Specific Requirements

Some countries require the presence of a travel insurance plan as a visa requirement to issue visas to foreign visitors. For Maltese residents, travel within the EU doesn’t require any specific travel insurance, but there are some exceptions as well. It is better to research your destination country as in most cases, the presence of a travel insurance plan provides a lot of ease for citizens visiting foreign countries as the visa process is streamlined and the clients can travel across the world with ease of mind as well.

Travelling to the EU

For prospective travellers to the EU from Malta, a EUIC serves the same purpose as a travel insurance plan and usually, no additional documentation is needed for travel to the EU as the EUI card provides ample coverage to most possible medical emergencies through the public healthcare system.
That being said, it is a wise idea to invest in a private travel insurance plan to provide additional coverage and protection for non-medical related emergencies such as the protection of your visa, loss of belongings or cash-in-hand, and accidents or other calamities or shortcomings. A travel insurance plan should also be kept at hand, particularly if you’re travelling with a large number of people specifically in the case of families having small children with them while travelling abroad. It’s always a good idea to stay on the safe side with ease of mind rather than having to rely on ifs and buts of a foreign system that visitors may be unaware of.

What Travel Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Most travel insurance providers do not cover sports-related activities such as winter sports or extreme sports if that is the purpose of your visit as the chance of injury in these cases is highly likely and the client is already aware of this risk. In this case, the EUIC or other public health insurance programmes do not provide adequate coverage, and the choice of a private travel and health insurance plan is the best way to go to support your expenses in the case of a sports-related injury, fracture or fall which may also include flights back to your home country if that is required.

Payment Options for Insurance

Most insurance programmes have a comprehensive and detailed payment schedule of charges that include any additional yearly costs or fines that the client may need to pay and it is better to read details regarding your specific plans or programmes in advance. That being said, you can mostly pay for your health insurance in s number of ways such as through automatic taxation of your salary, through pay-as-you-go options or through recurring bank payments to your insurance provider via a credit or debit card.

Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?

Definitely Yes. When travelling to or from Malta to the EU or anywhere else in the world, your Maltese public health insurance programme may only cover a small range of situations and requirements and is not enough to provide a comprehensive support package of cover and protection when traveling abroad wither alone or with partners and families.
Investing in a private travel insurance package is a good way to ensure that any situation that you may encounter abroad including loss of items and money, medical expenses including those of accidents or pre-existing conditions and other various requirements can be met without the hassle and limitations of whatever local system is in place at your destination.

Conclusion

For residents of Malta, looking to stay abroad from anywhere between a few days to a few years, a comprehensive health insurance plan is a compulsory step to take for any responsible adult. If you’d like to take the benefit of the excellent Maltese public health system, or whether you’d prefer one of the many private healthcare institutions in Malta, a health insurance plan is a comfortable cushion to help you in your time of need.
Pairing that with a travel insurance plan during your travels abroad brings an additional layer of protection to your health and your belongings in the case of any mishaps. Staying on the safe side is always the right decision because nothing is more valuable than our health.

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