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The healthcare system in Estonia

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In contrast to other countries such as Finland, where the healthcare system is municipal, Estonians have opted for a solidarity-based social insurance system. This means that healthcare services in Estonia are for everyone according to the individual needs. It also means that you can expect the same kind of quality treatment to be available across the country, no matter which region you’re currently in.

Are you entitled to healthcare in Estonia?

If you have an employment contract in Estonia, and your employer is covering your social taxes (or, if you’re a freelancer and you pay your own social taxes, from which 13% will be transferred into your health insurance), then your medical bills are covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF, or Haigekassa). Just make sure you have a registered right of residence in the country. For more information, read our section on Visas. If you are currently unemployed but registered in the Unemployment Insurance Fund, then you also have access to health insurance.

How the Estonian healthcare system works

First, you need to find a General Practitioner, also called a “family doctor”. You can find information about doctors and the areas they serve through the Estonian Health Board registry, but be aware that the website is in Estonian. You can also call the Estonian Health Board (Terviseamet) at 3726509850; they will help you find the GPs in your area.

 Useful link:
Estonian Health Board registry

Once you have selected your doctor, you need to register to the appropriate clinic by applying (Avaldus perearsti nimistusse registreerimiseks) either in person, via the post or e-mail. You can take a look at the application form in English here, but bear in mind you’ll have to submit it in Estonian. Once your application is submitted and reviewed, you will be notified within seven business days whether you got accepted in the directory of your selected doctor or not.

 Good to know:
A doctor in Estonia may decline to add you, if their directory is already full, or you don’t live in their service area. If that happens, you should apply to another clinic.

If your health issue is a minor one, or if it is unexpected, you should call 1220, the 24-hour line for GPs. (The services are provided in Estonian and Russian.) Should you need emergency care, you can go to one of the emergency rooms located at hospitals. Everyone in Estonia has a right to emergency healthcare, so don’t worry if your insurance hasn’t been sorted out yet -- the costs will be covered by the state.

 Good to know: As per Estonia’s hospital network, there are currently 19 hospitals funded by the EHIF and over 20 private hospitals.

Private healthcare


If you are not eligible for health insurance from the state, you should get your own, from a private provider. In any case, you need to be covered by health insurance for the whole duration of your stay in Estonia. You can find some private companies providing health insurance for expats, but you should also know that in some cases you can actually purchase your health insurance directly from the EHIF. You can do that if you’ve been insured with them in the past (for at least 12 months within the past two years), or if someone who meets that criteria buy the insurance for you. This whole process is called “voluntary insurance contract”, it can last up to a year, and you’ll have to pay insurance premiums to the Health Insurance Fund.

 Useful links
EHIF Voluntary Insurance

Health Board: How to choose a family physician
ERGO Private Insurance
SALVA Private Insurance

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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