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Understanding The Basics of Estonia's Healthcare System

March 31, 2021
Going to a new place, especially one that you're unfamiliar with, is pretty scary, isn't it? IF you don't know how things go around here, how will you ever be able to survive? This rings true, especially with healthcare. Let's take the country of Estonia, for example. Not the most popular place in the world but it still has thriving tourism nonetheless. But how does one go about getting healthcare here? What kinds are there in this country? How much does one have to pay to get treated? Here's are some basics of Estonia's healthcare system that might answer these questions!
Understanding The Basics of Estonia's Healthcare System

Becoming Eligible For Estonia's Healthcare

As with many other countries, from Belgium to Mexico and back, you'll only get to access Estonia's healthcare system if you legally move there. Or if you're legally working or studying there. Operating on a universal system, the country is able to provide a public health option to all residents in the country. Specifically, students, employed, unemployed (bur registered at the Unemployment Insurance Fund), pregnant women, and adults with kids are all covered by the public option. Some are even required to get coverage. Access is equally available in all regions of Estonia.

Estonia's Public Health Option

Expounding more on Estonia's public healthcare option, though it's available for all residents of the country, it's easier to gain access to it if you're employed. More often than not, locals here get public coverage as soon as they're employed by the company. Part of the taxes deducted from their monthly salary automatically goes to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, a social security entity that funds the country's healthcare system. The self-employed also help pay for Estonia's healthcare through their own social taxes. Most healthcare benefits of the public options include subsidizing medical costs, gaining access to hospitals, doctors, and the like.

Understanding The Basics of Estonia's Healthcare System

Getting Private Health Insurance

For those who aren't legal residents, studying, or are employed in Estonia, a private insurance plan is the most suitable option. Since they can't access the country's public healthcare due to their legal status, it's up to them to get their own coverage from private providers. Local companies like Minudoc and Viveo Health are worth checking out as they cater to international visitors as well. They operate in foreign languages (especially English) and have sufficient online platforms you can access online. Furthermore, international providers like Cignal Global and Alliez Care are also wise options too!

Estonia's Dental Care

While some countries tend to offer their dental care for free, this is not the case here in Estonia. Despite whatever type of healthcare coverage you have, adults are still required to pay for dental care here. However, your health insurance can help you get reimbursed for about €40.00 per year. This applies to all types of dental treatments, ranging from root canals to crowning and repairs. If you think that's too little for a year, don't! Dental care isn't exactly the most expensive of medical costs in Estonia. It is, however, an important part of healthcare in the country nonetheless.

Understanding The Basics of Estonia's Healthcare System

How To Get A Doctor Here

When you get healthcare coverage in Estonia, be it through the public option or a private plan, do note that it doesn't automatically connect you with your own doctor. There are multiple ways to select a General Practitioner (GP) here in this country. One is to call the Estonian Health Board (+372-794-3500) to find out about the doctors working in and around your area. You can also go to a nearby public clinic located in your registered place of residence to ask for one there. Either way, it's important you register for one the moment you get insured in Estonia.

Estonia's Emergency Services

If there's one part of Estonia's healthcare system that available to all, it's the country's emergency services. From paramedics to ambulance services, all of these are available for everyone in the country, regardless of their legal status. All you have to do is to call 112 and wait for the response team who will get to your location as soon as possible. Do note that emergency services are only available up until urgent medical care has been given. Any further treatment after that requires intervention from your health insurance. And have no coverage whatsoever can leave you paying for extremely high medical costs!

Pharmacies in Estonia

Need to buy medicine? Not to worry! Estonia's pharmacies are located throughout the entire country. From the districts of Tallinn to the more rural areas, you'll likely find a pharmacy in any shopping mall, commercial centers, or connected to prominent hospitals. Generally, they only stay open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, however, there are some that remain open 24/7. Make sure you know where the nearest one in your area of residence is the moment you settle down there. It's also important to remember that general medicine are usually sold over-the-counter while antibiotics and specific drugs require prescriptions!

Understanding The Basics of Estonia's Healthcare System

Visiting or moving to Estonia soon? Get to know all the basics of its healthcare system first. Only when you understand how they do health insurance here will you be able to have a comfortable and worry-free stay here no matter how long it is!