Health Care System in Estonia
One major question a foreign student faces is how to get medical care while living in Estonia.
The Health Insurance Fund covers the costs of health services required by the person in case of illness regardless of the amount of social tax paid for the person concerned. The purpose of health insurance in Estonia is to cover the costs of health services provided to insured persons, prevent and cure diseases, finance the purchase of medicinal products and medicinal technical aids, and provide the benefits for temporary incapacity for work and other benefits.
All persons insured with the Health Insurance Fund have a family practitioner. A person needs a referral from the family practitioner to visit a medical specialist. No referral is needed to visit a psychiatrist, gynaecologist, dermatovenerologist, ophthalmologist, dentist, pulmonologist (for tuberculosis treatment), infection specialist (for HIV/AIDS treatment), surgeon or orthopaedist (for traumatology).
In the case of emergency treatment, a person may always go to the emergency reception or call an ambulance.
One can reach an ambulance on 112 from all over Estonia.
The attending physician decides whether the patient needs in-patient treatment.
The amount of the patient's financial participation in the following cases:
- out-patient examination - a family practitioner can charge a visit fee of up to 3.2 EUR, when making a home visit;
- specialised medical care - a visit fee up to 3.2 EUR;
- transportation by ambulance in the case of emergency - free of charge;
- hospitalisation - an in-patient fee of up to 1.6 EUR per day and for up to 10 days per hospitalisation.
Medical care structure in Estonia.
Family practitioner - Has the key position in the system since he/she is the first medical personnel an individual meets with. The family practitioner has the right to forward to higher medical institutions or consultations upon the seriousness of the given health problem. It is recommended to call beforehand and to make an appointment prior to the visit.
For family practitioners in Viljandi check: http://viljandi.ee.ee/?tid=1&id=1600&level=3 .
Specialist - All specialists' visits are organized through the family practitioner except the cases listed above. In the case of a foreign student, it is advisable to choose all the specialists through the family practitioner or the medical advisors. Usually specialists have consultations in the polyclinics and there is a few-week waiting line. In the private clinics waiting lines are rather short.
Pharmacies - Pharmacists can assist with simple medical problems. Even though, most of the drugs are issued upon a medical prescription written by a doctor, some of the painkillers, antacids, ointments, and other simple drugs could be obtained without one.
Dentists - For adults, dental care is not free. Usual visit may cost from 10 EUR upwards depending on the given problem.
For dentists in Viljandi check: http://viljandi.ee.ee/?id=560&tid=1 .