Navigating health insurance in Malta: a guide for employers

health insurance malta

Malta’s sunny climate and rich history make it extremely appealing for business and travel. The island is also home to a highly-skilled, multi-lingual, and cost-effective workforce – making it an attractive proposition for overseas expansion.

The country is a particularly popular location for companies in industries such as tourism, financial services, manufacturing and gambling.

Any employer launching in the area will need to consider whether to offer health insurance to staff and, if so, how to go about it.

This guide breaks down how the Malta healthcare system works, including some of the private healthcare options available to companies.

We also look at typical employer practice in the area, courtesy of the latest Axco reports (data accurate as of May 2024).

The article will be of particular interest to companies wishing to:

  • Cover remote workers based in Malta
  • Establish new offices and workspaces in Malta
  • Provide cover for expats assigned to Malta

Need help supporting your global workforce in Malta or other international locations? Contact our award-winning health and protection brokers on 01273 974419 or email [email protected].



How does the Malta health system work?


Malta was known as the ‘Nurse of the Mediterranean’ back in 1916 due to its role in providing medical care to wounded soldiers during World War I. Today, its healthcare system is generally well regarded although, like many countries, it has issues with personnel shortages and increasing demand from an ageing population.

The public health system is overseen by the Ministry of Health, the Elderly and Community Care. It is funded through social insurance and social security contributions.

If you’re a legal resident of Malta and make social insurance and social security contributions, you are entitled to use the country’s public healthcare system.

Services include:

  • GP access
  • Medical tests and diagnostics
  • Preventative treatments
  • ‘Curative’ surgeries and treatments
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Doctors’ visits
  • Outpatient care
  • Emergency care

Primary healthcare also includes:

  • Immunisations
  • Dental care
  • Antenatal and postnatal care
  • Diabetes treatment
  • Specialist paediatric care.

Some services such as dental and optical treatment are means-tested.

Prescription drugs are free of charge for those suffering from prescribed chronic conditions and for those on low incomes.

Alongside Malta’s public system, there is also the option of private healthcare.

** The Mater Dei is the main public hospital in Malta, located in Msida. A speciality and training facility, expats can also use this public hospital but pay out of pocket depending on private health insurance policies.



Should employers provide health insurance to their workers?

There are two aspects to this: what is required legally and what is advisable in order to compete for talent in the region.

Legal requirements:

As an employer you pay social insurance and social security contributions, and so will your employees through the tax system. This means your employees will qualify for free health insurance regardless of their nationality

Best practice:

Nonetheless, it’s common for employers in Malta to provide private health insurance plans to their employees, according to data from Axco.

Below we have listed reasons businesses might invest in health insurance for staff in Malta.

  • Competition for talent: Companies have to compete for skilled talent from a relatively small population size. Indeed, Malta ranked 21st in The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023.
  • High expat population: Around 1 in 5 of all residents in Malta are expats, so providing a fully-equipped health insurance policy ensures all staff are covered, no matter where they are from.
  • Fast access to health services: Giving employees peace of mind they have access to the highest standard of healthcare when in a new location.
  • Provide cross-border cover: If cover is set up as an international plan, employers can support staff across multiple countries.
  • Fill in any health gaps: Even though Malta’s healthcare is generally well regarded, there are inevitably stresses on the system from time to time, which a private health plan can navigate.
  • Added extras: Many Group Health Insurance plans will include mental health support tools, virtual GP and Employee Assistance Programmes. Via an international health plan, you can also get medical repatriation services if required and a wide range of other services.

Are you seeking out a health insurance policy for your Malta-based team? Engage Health Group is here to answer all your questions and give you the most expert advice and tailored quotes. Call 01273 974419 or email [email protected] for a free no-obligation consultation.



What is typical employer practice?

The following information is drawn from Axco’s Employee Benefits Report which tracks typical employer practice in Malta.

Firstly, it is common for employers to provide supplementary medical benefits through a Group Health Insurance plan. In fact, a Group Health Insurance policy is often required under collective labour agreements.

Group Health Insurance plans will typically include the basics for most employees, including core services such as outpatient services and minor operations. But high-paid employees are likely to expect more features and have policies tailored to their needs.

Dental and optical coverage is usually provided under a separate plan and restricted to senior managers and directors.

Employees may be given the option of upgrading coverage at their own expense.

Employers usually finance 100% of the Group Health Insurance premium. This means the employee is rarely expected to contribute.



How should you invest in a health policy for Malta?

As with any global location for businesses, employers in Malta can invest in a single-country domestic health insurance scheme or a broader International Group Health Insurance plan.

Option 1: Invest in a one-country health insurance scheme

If a company only has staff working in Malta, then it makes sense to invest in a single health insurance policy covering Malta only.

Option 2: Invest in a global health insurance plan

International Business Health Insurance is a private medical insurance policy designed to cover a globally diverse workforce under a single policy. It gives staff access to top healthcare facilities in multiple countries, as well as therapy services for physical and mental health.

An International Group Health plan also helps businesses avoid the complexities of navigating different local healthcare systems – a big plus for HR teams

International schemes provide very comprehensive care and features, much more so than one-country domestic plans. Features can include medical repatriation, extra maternity support, 24/7 multi-lingual helplines, even support with chronic conditions – as always inclusions and exclusions vary depending on the policy.



Who provides Group Health Insurance policies covering Malta?

The main health insurance providers for Malta are Cigna, Allianz, Bupa, AXA, and Now Health.

As always, there are domestic and local insurers to also explore based in Malta for more localised care and support.

The international health insurance market is complex. Navigating your options alongside all the local legislation technicalities takes time, work, and patience. Turning to expert consultants, like our international brokers at Engage Health Group, can guide you through and explain all available options. The goal is to land on the perfect solution fits the unique requirements of your business and its staff.



Enlist the help of an International Health Insurance broker

Engage Health Group’s international team of brokers can help! Our award-winning team has a wide global broker network spanning more than 70 countries, enabling us to provide the best guidance for businesses no matter the location. We will talk you through all the complexities, perform full market reviews and deliver quotes designed around the specific needs of your business.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 01273 974419 for FREE no-obligation reviews, price comparisons and advice tailored for your unique business.

Further reading: Exploring the health insurance market in Gibraltar: a guide for employers – Engage Health Group

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Eleanor Chilvers

Eleanor started at Engage in 2021, and is now a Digital Content Writer after studying BA English Literature at University of Sussex for the last 3 years.

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