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Malta healthcare system: the complete guide for expats

Maltese medicine has a good level of service, which complies with the standards of the EU, but it costs lower than in some other EU countries such as Germany and France.

At the same time, Malta’s healthcare costs are around 10% of the GDP. It’s quite a lot: in comparison, in Europe Germany has the highest costs — about 12,8%; and the lowest — Luxembourg with 5,8%.

Let’s observe the Maltese healthcare system, how it works and how to get treatment if you’re a foreigner.

Malta healthcare for foreigners and citizens

Malta healthcare system: how it works

There are two types of medical institutions in Malta: private and government. The last one is free for citizens of Malta and other EU countries’ nationals who use an EHIC, a European Health Insurance Card. Additional medical insurance allows treatment in private clinics.

State medical institutions in Malta give the full circle of medical services: emergency, outpatient and inpatient, surgery, oncology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, geriatrics, and management of pregnancy and childbirth. 

The disadvantages of state clinics are no opportunity to choose a particular doctor and queues for some procedures. 

Private clinics are available through medical insurance. For citizens, it is additional insurance; foreigners are obliged to buy health insurance to acquire residency in Malta and to compensate for medical treatment.

Best hospitals in Malta 

As we have already said, there are two types of hospitals in Malta — state and private. Let’s list some of them.

State hospitals in Malta: 

  • Mater Dei Hospital opened in 2007 and covered all cases of medical services. It is a public hospital affiliated with the University of Malta. 
  • Karin Grech Hospital is a 260-bed rehabilitation hospital situated in Pieta. 
  • Sir Anthony Mamo Oncology Centre is a specialised hospital for oncology and haemato-oncology. 
  • Gozo General Hospital is the only hospital on the island of Gozo providing inpatient and outpatient medical and surgical services.

Private clinics. The most notable medical facilities are: 

  • St. James Hospital is the largest private hospital in Malta, established in 1986. 
  • DaVinci Health is a medical centre that opened in 2000. There are cosmetic surgery, dental services, psychiatry and sports medicine. 
  • Saint Thomas Hospital, the newest private hospital in Malta, has many radiology and surgery services. 
Malta healthcare system. There are more than 40 hospitals in Malta available for foreign patients
The Maltese medical system is quite developed — there are 20 medical centres in an area of 316 km2. Source: Google Maps

Prices of healthcare in Malta

The level of prices depends on the hospital, so we can highlight only the price range for the most popular services for your health in Malta. It is better to clarify detailed information about the selected clinic by phone because clinics mostly don’t show prices on their websites. 

The range of prices on medical services in Malta:

  • specialised doctor’s appointment is €10 — €60;
  • general practitioner’s appointment costs  €10 — €20;
  • CBC is around  €20;
  • ultrasound is €50 — €200;
  • MRI costs €150 — €200.

You also can get a consultation with a therapist at a drugstore to get a prescription; a doctor’s appointment usually costs around €10. The consultation time depends on the pharmacy.

Medical insurance in Malta

There are different types of health insurance in Malta, and depending on the price, it can give full or partial coverage. The policy’s cost is also affected by the age and chronic diseases of the insured. 

The most expensive medical policies start from €700 per year, and there are some cheaper options with limited coverage or fewer services included. You can’t affect the characteristics of the insured, but you can choose a company and an insurance pack. 

There are several health insurance providers in Malta, like Laferla, Elmo Insurance or Atlas. To get an idea of the prices, let’s observe the basic plans in Laferla.

Examples of insurance plans in Laferla

Plan and priceDescription 
Bronze plan
€275+
Limited cover for hospitalisation & surgical procedures, cancer treatment, outpatient general practitioners’ and specialists’ consultations and tests, and CT and MRI scans
Silver plan
€425+
Full refund covers hospitalisation, surgical procedures & cancer treatment.

Cover for outpatient general practitioners’ and specialists’ consultations and tests, alternative therapy, pregnancy support, and CT and MRI scans. 

The plan also covers funeral expenses, a second medical opinion, and medical assistance over the phone. 
Gold plan
€700+
Full refund covers hospitalisation, surgical procedures and cancer treatment, outpatient general practitioners’ and specialists’ consultations and tests, alternative therapy, CT and MRI scans, and pregnancy support. 

The plan includes preventive care, dental cover, funeral expenses, second medical opinion cover, and medical assistance over the phone.

Malta medicine for foreigners 

If you visit Malta as a tourist, you can visit a hospital for a fee or use your travel medical insurance. And if you apply for a Malta residence permit, you must buy a health insurance policy. 

As we have already mentioned, insurance cost starts from about €275 per year. The price depends on age, the insured person’s chronic diseases and insurance coverage.

The usual price for health insurance for a person who applies for Malta permanent residency by investment is €400 or more.

How to get free medicine in Malta

All Malta citizens can use state medicine for free; for private clinics, they buy additional insurance. 

Foreigners can obtain Malta citizenship on different grounds: through registration, ordinary naturalisation or naturalisation for exceptional services. 

To obtain Malta citizenship for exceptional services by direct investment, one must: 

  • contribute €600,000+ to the National Development and Social Fund,
  • donate €10,000 to a non-government organisation,
  • buy a property which costs €700,000, or rent real estate for five years for €16,000 per year.

Contribution to The National Development and Social Fund is €750,000 if the investor applies for citizenship a year after getting a residence permit. The contribution of €600,000 is valid in case of submission three years after getting a residence permit. Also, there’s an additional payment of €50,000 for each family member in the application.

Investors’ spouses, children under 29, and parents and grandparents over 55 can get Malta citizenship alongside the investor. All of them can benefit from the Maltese healthcare system and travel to other EU countries for free to get treatment.

Main points on Malta’s healthcare system

  1. Malta medicine implies the EU standards; however, it is cheaper for patients than in some countries, like Germany or France. The government spends about 10% of the country’s GDP on healthcare, which is quite a lot.
  2. Malta citizens can get medical treatment in state hospitals for free, and other EU countries nationals can get some kinds of treatment free of charge, too. 
  3. Foreigners must buy health insurance to acquire residency in Malta. The insurance policy covers their expenses fully or partially.
  4. The insurance costs depend on the chosen plan, the person’s age and the health condition. In our experience, health insurance costs €400 or more if one applies for Malta permanent residency by investment.
  5. Foreigners can get Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment and get an opportunity to get treatment in Malta as one of the passport’s benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Malta medicine good?

Yes, Malta’s healthcare is quite good. The government invests in healthcare around 10% of its GDP, which is not far from Germany, the EU’s leader in costs with 12,5% of GDP. 

Statista ranked Malta 11th in 2021 in their worldwide health index, which means that people in Malta have access to all necessary services to support their health.

Is Malta healthcare free?

It is free only for Malta citizens and EU nationals. Other foreigners use medical insurance.

Is dental care free in Malta?

Some dental services are free in Malta for its citizens, and third-country national must pay for them. To cover the expenses, one must buy insurance.

How much do foreigners pay for medicine in Malta?

Foreigners use health insurance to get medical treatment in Malta. 

The cost of insurance is affected by the age and chronic diseases of the insured, and, of course, it depends on the coverage plan.

Are Malta’s healthcare services cheaper than in other EU countries?

It depends: there are countries with more expensive medicine and cheaper ones. So, glance at the range of prices on medicine in Malta.  

Is Maltese medical education good?

It is believed that medical education in Malta is at the same level as in the UK. And medical specialities are the most expensive ones in Maltese universities: for example, to study as a dentist at the University of Malta costs €26,000 a year.

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Malta healthcare system: the complete guide for expats