The state healthcare service is funded through general taxation. The Ministry of Health oversees the health service in Malta.
Healthcare is free for everyone in and Malta and therefore, there is no mandatory system of contribution.
Employees and employers pay weekly national insurance contributions, which fund the healthcare service as well as other social services like pensions. Dependant family members are covered by the contributions paid by employed family members.
The unemployed, old age pensioners and people on long-term sickness benefit or maternity leave do not have to pay healthcare contributions. Foreigners immigrating to Malta from the European Economic Area (EEA) also qualify for free healthcare.
If you are self-employed, you need to get additional insurance to cover members of your family. The Department of Social Security means tests low-income citizens to determine whether they qualify for assistance.
Those that do, receive a card entitling them to free prescription medicine. Citizens who suffer from a chronic illness listed on the government list of chronic disease also qualify for free prescription medicine regardless of their financial status.
The state fund covers most medical services including treatment by specialists, hospitalisation, prescriptions, pregnancy and childbirth and rehabilitation.
An increasing number of citizens take out private healthcare insurance and some choose to use private GP and Consultants’ services on a ‘pay as you go’ scheme.
Large employers often contract private doctors to tend to the needs of their employees. Most state employed GPs also work in private practice, which is considered more lucrative and prestigious.
Maltese citizens have to pay for their prescription medicine unless they belong to one of the vulnerable groups of society e.g. low-income earners, pregnant women, people with chronic illness and the unemployed.