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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Estonia

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will allow you to access state-provided healthcare in Estonia at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

The Estonian tourist information website offers advice for people travelling with special needs, such as wheelchair users or the blind and partially sighted. The information is provided in English.

Find help in emergencies

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Ambulance transport is free of charge in an emergency.

Other important phone numbers to note down:

  • 110 – police
  • 112 – fire brigade
  • 1120 – if you need medical advice, call the family practitioners information line (00 372 630 4107 if you call from the UK)
  • 16363 – information line for the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (00 372 669 6630 if you call from the UK)
Tip

Most emergency services and doctors speak English, but there is no guarantee. If possible, have a local person assist you with your call. 

 

Health services and costs

Your EHIC does not cover private treatment. Ensure you are treated by a healthcare provider that has a contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF).

You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

TipContact EHIF for more advice before you travel. Call 00 372 669 663 from the UK or dial 16363 within Estonia. The EHIF website offers information in English.

 

TipRemember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.

If you move to Estonia long term or plan to work in the country, you'll have to register with EHIF.

Doctors

Visiting a family practitioner (GP) is free of charge. You'll need a referral from a GP 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).

You will have to pay part of the cost of any medical treatment you receive, including home visits from a family practitioner. The fee will be up to €5, but this may vary. This is non-refundable.

Dentists

You will have to pay for any medical treatment you receive from a dentist. This is non-refundable.

If a tooth needs to be removed or an abscess needs to be lanced, in emergency cases this is free of charge.

Dental treatment is also free of charge for children under the age of 19.

Hospital treatment

If you are admitted as an inpatient, you will have to pay a fee of up to €2.50 per day for up to 10 days per hospitalisation. This is non-refundable. There is no inpatient fee for:

  • children below the age of 18
  • cases related to pregnancy and childbirth
  • intensive care

For more information about specialised medical care, visit the EHIF website.

Prescriptions

You will be charged a standard fee. Sometimes you will also have to pay a percentage of the costs above the standard fee. For detailed information about prescription medicines, including discount rates, visit the EHIF website.  

If the medicine you have been prescribed is not on the national list of medicinal products, you will have to pay the full costs. This is not refundable.

TipIn Estonia some medicines that are available over the counter in the UK, such as Aspirin and various ointments, are only available in pharmacies.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you'll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you go. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider as these are not covered by the EHIC.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You’ll also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK, however, most suppliers will be able to advices you on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquid: Call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on:

Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You need to speak to the co-ordinator in your UK Dialysis Unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Estonia nearest to where you will be staying. The Renal Association offers a way to look up UK renal units.

TipEnsure you make your arrangements according to your UK schedule. There also may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. In addition, visit the National Kidney Federation website, which offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients, and guidelines for transplant patients.

Read more advice about travelling with other conditions: 

Living and/or working in Estonia

Everyone who is eligible for health insurance in Estonia is registered with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF). This is the only organisation in Estonia that deals with compulsory health insurance.

In order to receive healthcare services, you should show your ID card to the healthcare provider. Insurance is checked on the basis of the ID code. If you are not insured with EHIF and you are not registered on the basis of the E106, E109, E121 or portable document S1 forms, you should show your EHIC or portable document S2 or DA1. 

Find more detailed information on the EHIF website.

Living in Estonia

If you are living in Estonia and receive a UK state pension or long-term incapacity benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for the E121 form (a certificate of entitlements).

If you are already in Estonia and you do not have the E121 with you, write an application to EHIF stating your name, identification number, pension number and the institution responsible for paying your pension. Add a copy of your passport or residence permit and send it to the following address:

Välissuhete osakond
Eesti Haigekassa
Lembitu 10
10114 Tallinn

EHIF applies for the E121 on your behalf.

Once you have an E121, write an application for registration to one of EHIF's local offices. Enclose two copies of your E121 and a copy of your passport or residence permit. 

As soon as you have registered your E121 with EHIF, you will be entitled to a UK-issued EHIC, allowing you to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries besides the country you are resident in, including when you return to the UK.

For applications and advice, contact the Department for Work and Pensions Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999. Also read the living abroad section on this site.

Early retirees

From July 1 2014 you are no longer able to apply for residual S1 form.
If you already have a residual S1 this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Find out more about the new rules.

Working in Estonia

If you are planning to work in Estonia for more than two years (maximum up to five years), your employer should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the following forms:

  • E101: this will show that tax and NI contributions are paid in the UK
  • E106: this will give you and your family the same medical cover as Estonians

HMRC
Charity, Assets and Residence
Room BP1301
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

For more information, visit the working abroad section.

If you are a EU-posted worker with an E106 form and want to apply for health insurance in Estonia, you should do the following:

  • Fill in the application form for registration at your local Estonian Health Insurance Fund's office. Enclose two copies of your E106 form and a copy of your residence permit or diplomatic passport.
  • If there are any family members living with you in Estonia, write their names and dates of birth on the application form. Enclose copies of their Estonian identity card or residence permit.

The form will be sent to EHIF's Pärnu department and, if no problems occur, you will have insurance coverage within one month.

TipFor background information about forms that certify your benefits (social security) situation when moving within the EU, visit the Your Europe website.

How to claim refunds

You may be asked to pay your bill up front and then claim a refund using your EHIC. You should always try to apply for your refund before you return home.

For information on the reimbursement of costs in Estonia, contact the Estonian Health Insurance Fund for more advice. Call 00 372 669 6630 from the UK or dial 16363 within Estonia.

Should you need to make a claim once you return to the UK, call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999. Ensure that you have your National Insurance number and UK bank or building society details to hand.

TipRemember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.

You will not be eligible for a refund if you have been treated privately.

Comments

Page last reviewed: 29/05/2013

Next review due: 29/05/2015

EHIC changes

You will no longer be able to claim a refund in the UK for most patient co-payments for treatment received after July 1 2014

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