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Monday, February 17, 2014

True and False About the Public Health System – and more



Press Release

True and False
About the Public Health System – and more

This pamphlet answering some basic questions about insurance issues should have been done by the Ministries of Health and Labor and Social Security.  Instead it was done by a small, newly formed group of volunteers at the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helleniko formed to look into “the rights of unemployed and uninsured patients”.  These few volunteers gave their time to create this informative list that should have existed and been placed in every public building long ago. We would hope that the state could devote some time and effort to assist their fellow citizens impoverished during this economic crisis with simple and inexpensive services, such as this


FALSE:   If you are unemployed, you are automatically uninsured as well.

TRUE:     There is some protection for the young and those over age 55.  Between the ages of 18 – 29 young people who have a card that shows that they have been unemployed can have an IKA (Public Insurance) health booklet which is renewed every six months up to the age of 29.  The long-term unemployed (12 months or more), who are above 55 years old and who have 3,000 “stamps” (equivalent to insured days worked) from whatever source can be given a health booklet from IKA to be renewed yearly.
However, for the unemployed aged 29 to 55, it is a different story.
  On becoming unemployed, an individual must register with the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), during which he has some unemployment benefits and insurance.  If they are unemployed continuously for one year and registered with OAED, they can then apply for insurance for an additional two years from the insurance carrier with whom they have the most work days.  Verification from the insurance carrier is required, regarding the number of days worked.  A decision from the Greek Ministry of Labor this year will give an additional annual extension to the above form of insurance for those who have already acquired the right to the additional two years.  So, someone unemployed from the ages of 29-55 has one year while under OAED, and can then apply for two and perhaps three additional years..


FALSE:   All Greek citizens over 67 have a pension for the elderly

TRUE:     Greek citizens over the age of 67 can apply for a pension from OGA (the Agricultural Insurance Organization) providing they have no other pension, have lived in Greece for the last 20 years and have an extremely small individual annual income not exceeding 4,320€ or a family income not exceeding 8,640€.  It is not a requirement that the applicant was ever employed in the agriculture sector


FALSE:   A certificate of financial incapacity (destitution) is issued by the social services of the municipalities to whoever asks for it.

TRUE:     Such a document is issued by the social services of the municipalities only at the request of a public service for someone in a destitute condition.  The document is issued after investigation into the status of the individual, including checking the tax return.

FALSE:   The health booklet of someone who is uninsured is different from the booklet of someone receiving welfare.

TRUE:     The two types of health book are exactly the same.




FALSE:   A booklet for the uninsured can be obtained by all uninsured citizens.

TRUE:     The booklet for the uninsured can be obtained by Greek citizens (or those of Greek origin) who reside legally and permanently in Greece, are uninsured and are in financial need.  Foreigners with a residence permit issued for humanitarian reasons (health) recognized political refugees and those who have applied for refugee status which is currently under review by the Ministry of Public Order can also apply.  There are also a variety of special categories, such as a) children staying in care units or institutions  b) those fleeing civil war and political upheaval and their dependents c) monks and laymen of the Holy Monastery of Sinai and Greek clerics from the various patriarchates d) uninsured single mothers and their children, e) children placed in foster homes f) people admitted to specific state supported rehab centres either as resident patients or outpatients.

               The annual family income must be under 6,000 € (with 30% more for a spouse and 20% more for every minor dependent) provided that such income does not come from a source that provides insurance.  This designated income can be increased by 50% for those having a disability of 67% and above.  It is issued by the municipality and is valid for one year.  In exceptional cases, such as emergency hospital admissions, the booklet may be issued after the fact.


FALSE:   The certificate of social protection is the same as an unemployment booklet.

TRUE:     No, they are not the same.  The certificate of social protection is issued only if there is a proven health problem and for very specific categories, such as diaspora Greeks in the process of becoming citizens or foreigners with residence permits given for humanitarian reasons, EU member state residents or foreign born spouses of Greek citizens as well as their children. 


FALSE:   An unemployed student is uninsured

TRUE:     Eligible undergraduate and graduate students of public education institutions are entitled to medical and hospital care under the public health system.  This applies to nationals, and foreigners.  They have access to the public health system for a period equal to the minimum time for completing their degree plus half.  Graduate students of public universities have access to the system during their time of attendance, increased by half.

FALSE:   No supporting documents are required to obtain an unemployment card.

TRUE:     In order to receive an unemployment card from the Manpower Employment Organization (OAED), one has to present the following 1) The last official receipt of taxable income, or failing that a copy of the last income tax return.  2)  A bill from a utility or fixed telephone and a copy of a lease agreement which has been submitted to the relevant tax office.  3)  An official ID (Identity card, passport etc). 4) An official document showing the AMKA number (social security number). 5) Residence permit or work permit for unemployed nationals of other countries.

FALSE:   Those insured by OGA (Agricultural Insurance Organization) are not required to make insurance contributions.

TRUE:     OGA provides medical and hospital care for those directly and indirectly insured.  Those insured pay into OGA relative to the years insured and the insurance category to which they belong.



FALSE:   The Health Voucher can be obtained by all citizens and they can have cost free access to the public health system.

TRUE:     By making an application to a Citizen Service Center one can receive a “health voucher” providing they meet the following conditions:  1) They were once insured, either directly or indirectly, by an institution of EOPYY (National Organization of Health Providers) 2) Their annual individual income does not exceed 12,000 € or 25,000€ for the family.  3) They have either Greek citizenship, citizenship from another member state of the European Union or they are a national from any other country and has a legal resident status.

The Health Voucher provides free access to the health system for medical examinations, visits to doctors or primary care clinics which are contracted to EOPPY or primary care units of the public health system (clinics or hospitals), and for diagnostic tests from diagnostic centers  - again contracted to EOPPY or primary care units of the public health system (clinics or hospitals).

The Health Voucher is valid for eight months for a total of three visits.  Pregnant women, in addition to the above, can be referred by a physician for a basic package of pre-natal tests each trimester throughout the pregnancy.  As above, these exams are for diagnostic centers contracted to EOPPY or primary care units of the public health system (clinics or hospitals).  Diagnostic examinations and evaluation for pregnant women will track throughout the pregnancy.  If a woman obtains the voucher in her first month of pregnancy, the voucher lasts nine months and the woman is entitled to 7 visits.  If services start in the 3rd month, 6 months and 5 visits, and 3 months and 3 visits after the 6th month.


FALSE:   All the uninsured can self-insure – that is, purchase extra insurance units.

TRUE:     Those insured under IKA (Greek Social Security system) before 1993 may apply for additional insurance provided they a) don’t work b) have completed 500 work days within the 5 years preceding the discontinuation of IKA insurance.  The application must be submitted within 12 months of the last day insured.  For those with 3,000 days or more of insurance, an application can be made at any time.

For those insured after 1 Jan 1993, they must have completed at least 1,500 insurance days, of which 300 are in the last 5 years before submission of the application.  The application must be submitted within 12 months of the last day insured.

Contributions are based on the average of the last years salary before the discontinuation of compulsory insurance .  For those insured by OAEE (for free-lancers and self employed) in order to self insure, they have to have stopped their activities with OAEE.    


FALSE:   All immigrants have a “pink card”.

TRUE:     The “pink card”, is officially called a “Certificate of Asylum Request”.  When an immigrant requests asylum with the proper authorities, he will be given a certificate of asylum request, which will have his/her photo and allow the asylum seeker to stay in Greece.  With this card, he has free medical and hospital services through the public health system. 

FALSE:   If you don’t have an income, you do not need to file a tax return.

TRUE:     Each citizen is required to file a tax return.  Furthermore, it must be filed electronically – through the internet, even if there is no income.



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

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