Cyprus Mail

Turkish Cypriot pensioner denied Gesy access despite paying contributions

Asım Ebeoglu and Tanyol Ceribasi

A Turkish Cypriot pensioner who is paying Gesy contributions out of his Cyprus state pension is suing the government because he is unable to register for the national health scheme as he does not have an address in the government-controlled areas.

Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris said on Wednesday the first hearing into the case brought by Asım Ebeoglu is expected to take place on December 3. The paper said that filing the case already cost him around €4,000 and he needs more money to continue the procedure.

Kibris said the issue will be a test case as there are thousands of other similar cases of Turkish Cypriots who contribute to social insurance in the Republic but permanently live in the north.

Asım Ebeoglu who lives in the north used to work in the south and before the implementation of Gesy he was eligible to visit state doctors and pharmacies.

After the implementation of Gesy, Ebeoglu and his friend Tanyol Ceribasi, who used to work in the British bases, attempted to register online but the system did not accept their addresses in the north, even though they contribute 1.7 per cent of their pension for the health scheme.

“What we are asking for is to stop being charged, or to benefit from the scheme,” Ceribasi said.

After attempting to register online, Ebeoglu paid a visit to the doctors in the Republic who told him to wait until September for the problem to be fixed. He also sent a letter to the social insurance department explaining the situation. They replied that they will continue to deduct the percentage from his pension according to the law, but they cannot include him in the scheme because he lives in the north. The letter added that only if he moves to government-controlled areas will he be eligible for the healthcare services.

The Turkish Cypriot pensioners also wrote a letter to the ombudswoman about the matter but have not yet received a response.

The current Gesy contribution will rise to 2.65 per cent when it is fully implemented in March 2020.

A Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) official told media earlier this month the issue of the Turkish Cypriot pensioners had been discussed in the past but the board rejected their request.

He said that according to the law only persons living permanently in the government-controlled areas are eligible Gesy beneficiaries and that the same problem is also faced by Greek Cypriots whose permanent residence is in the non-government-controlled areas.

He added that the HIO board is able to make exemptions, but has only allowed Turkish Cypriots currently working in the government-controlled areas and the enclaved who live in the north to benefit from the scheme.


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