Social Security & Health Insurance in Estonia
The Estonian health-care system is organised by the Ministry of Social Affairs and is built on solidarity-based health financing, a well-equipped infrastructure for primary care based on family physicians, nurses and modern hospital services.
The Estonian health-care system might be somewhat differently organised compared to the health-care system of your home country. On the tabs below you can find more information about arranging your health insurance and medical care in Estonia. For first, to make sure you are well informed on all the procedures, we have compiled a checklist of things you need to know/do before and upon arrival in Estonia.
Checklist – How to arrange your health care in Estonia
- Update your health insurance. Prior to coming to Estonia make sure you are familiar with your new health insurance situation. For more information go to Health & Social Security - Health insurance tab
- Know emergency procedures (112). Familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures of Estonia.
- Register for a family physician. Upon arrival you are encouraged to register at a family physician. You can register at a family physician either before or at your first consultation. You can find a list of family physicians Medical care & Emergency page or contact your nearest EURAXESS Service Centre for assistance
- Find a dentist. There are some public dental clinics and many of private dental clinics in Estonia that you can contact for an appointment. For more information on dental care go to Medical care & Emergency or contact your nearest EURAXESS Service Centre for help in finding a dentist in your area
Social Security checklist
Before leaving for Estonia, please go through the social security and health care checklist: answer the following questions and read the comments below. You have to bear this information in mind while arranging your social security in Estonia.
1) I work in which countries:
a. Only in Estonia
b. In several EU/EFTA member states
If the answer is that you work in several member states, please turn to the social insurance institution in your country of residence in order to have your competent country determined. After you have received the A1 certificate from your competent country, please show it to the employers in any other country, so that they know to which country they should pay your social security contributions. The competent social security institution in Estonia is the Social Insurance Board. Please check also the database of social security institutions.
2) Do you have health insurance in any other EU member state besides Estonia?
If the answer is yes and you work in several EU member states, please have your competent country determined (see the comment to question 1) and make sure that you have health insurance only in the competent country. If you work in Estonia only, please make sure that your health insurance in any other EU member state is terminated.
3) In which member state is your permanent residence?
4) If your country of residence is outside Estonia, how often do you return to your home?
a. At least once every week
b. Less often than once a week
If your country of residence is different from your competent country, then, in certain circumstances, you might have the right for form S1 (the certificate of entitlement to sickness insurance benefits in kind for persons residing in a country other than the competent country) from your competent country. Please turn to Estonian Health Insurance Fund for more information.
5) Do you have any family members in other EU countries?
If you are insured in Estonia and your children, spouse/partner live in another EU member state then you may be entitled to family benefits from Estonia. Please contact Estonian Social Insurance Board for further consultation.
6) Does your spouse/parent of your children work in another EU member state?
The information about employment is important for the calculation of family benefits.
7) Do you have family members who live in another EU member state and need health insurance?
If you are insured in Estonia and your dependant family members live in another EU member state then the family members, in case they do not have an individual right for health insurance, might have the right to be insured through you. For that you need form S1 from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Please contact Estonian Health Insurance Fund for consultation.
We would recommend you to hand the checklist over to the personnel office of your work place and/or get a consultation in one of the Service Centres of EURAXESS network in Estonia.
Health insurance in Estonia
The Estonian health insurance system is based on solidarity – all insured people have the same rights. To receive health insurance from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF):
- social tax must be paid in Estonia
- an Estonian ID code is needed
Non-EU citizens will get the ID code together with the temporary residence permit. EU-citizens will get it when they register their place of residence. Your health insurance by the EHIF is valid since when your employer has registered you in the Estonian employment register (managed by the Estonian Tax and Customs) board and two weeks of assessment time has passed. For registering your employment, your employer will need your ID code.
If you are working in Estonia for a short period and do not have a residence permit or have not registered your right of residence, you can receive an ID code by contacting the Ministry of Interior Population Register department and filling in an application form or filling in the application form in an Estonian foreign representation. You will then receive notification of your ID code by post. You will have to present your ID code to your employer. Your employer will then forward all the necessary information to the EHIF, the Tax and Customs Board and the Social Insurance Board, so that you will have health insurance and other rights resulting from paid taxes. If you have not received an Estonian ID code, you should get a private health insurance to have full coverage.
Children and pregnant women (pregnancy has been confirmed by a physician) have the same rights as taxpayers.
There is no refund system in Estonia. Where the health service provider has a contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, all costs are directly reimbursed to it by the Fund. The patient shall pay only the amount of own contribution.
The EHIF pays for visits to doctors and hospital treatment, and covers part of the cost of some medicines. The EHIF covers the costs of medical treatment, apart from the own contribution amount for the fee for visiting medical specialists (up to 5 EUR) and the hospital in-patient fee (up to 2.5 EUR per day). First aid in the event of emergencies is free of charge for everybody.
The EHIF pays for:
- visits to the doctor;
- diagnostic examinations;
- treatment procedures;
- preventive procedures;
- surgeries; technical aids put in place during or after the surgery.
The EHIF pays sickness benefits on the basis of a certificate of incapacity for work, which you receive from your doctor and must then present to your employer. The sickness benefit is 70% of the average income per calendar day and is paid by the employer from the fourth day of illness. Starting from the ninth day of illness, the sickness benefit will be paid by the EHIF. Your employer calculates the benefit according to your salary in the earlier 6 months. EHIF calculates sickness benefits on the basis of your income in the previous calendar year.
A care allowance in the amount of 80% of average income is paid for nursing a child under the age of 12 from the first day of the nursing leave.
If the family members of an EU citizen stay in their home country, their health insurance can be covered by the EHIF after the S1 form has been issued by the EHIF and registered in the country of residence of the family members.
EU citizens are also insured as long as their European Health Insurance Card is valid on the basis of earlier work or other insurance conditions in their home country. In the event of short-term work, you should check the term of validity of your health insurance and your European health insurance card. If your European health insurance card is valid, you will be granted necessary health care while staying in Estonia. If you are not insured in your home country and you are staying in Estonia for a short time without a residence permit, you should get private health insurance in your home country for the duration of your stay in Estonia.
An employee who is posted for a short term from another EU member state to Estonia can receive necessary health care by presenting his/her European health insurance card. In case you are posted to Estonia from another EU member country for a longer-term assignment (more than 1 year), you are entitled to get health care in Estonia on the same terms as local insured persons. You should receive from your employer the S1 form, which you should bring with you to Estonia. Go to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund with 2 copies of the S1 form and your residence permit or Estonian ID card and fill in an application to be registered in Estonia as a posted worker.
Citizens of third countries coming to Estonia for a short period should obtain private health insurance in their home country or in Estonia. Having valid health insurance is one of the visa requirements. Citizens of third countries staying here on the basis of a residence permit or a residence permit for employment and paying their taxes here have health insurance in Estonia.
It is possible to get a private health insurance from Estonian insurance companies, for example ERGO.
Private medical insurance
If you need a private medical insurance for the duration of your stay or for a shorter period, several things need to be taken into account.
The main things to consider are:
- What is covered? A medical insurance that covers hospital expenses and regular expenses should be preferred to one that covers only medical expenses for accidents and unexpected medical expenses.
- What is the maximum limit covered? This is important in case of major medical expenses - the limit is the actual amount that is covered by the insurance. Should your expenses be higher, this will have to be covered by yourself.
- Area of cover? Please consider that if you decide for an insurance that covers only Estonia, you will need to have a separate travel insurance in case you go for a shorter term to another country.
- Transportation or repatriation for medical reasons?
- Additional benefits? Some insurances cover also dental treatment, travel insurance and legal assistance.
Estonian Health Insurance Fund - Who is an in insured person
Estonian Health Insurance Fund - Voluntary registration
Estonian Health Insurance Fund - Health Services
Estonian Health Insurance Fund - Digital prescriptions
You can check if you are registered with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund through the state portal by logging in with your ID Card. In Estonian: (Kindlustatud = insured; jah = yes; ei =no).
European Union portal - Useful forms for social security rights
Social Insurance Board - Applying for A1
Work in Estonia - Social care
Work in Estonia - For employers, Taxation obligations
Work in Estonia - For employers, Social security matters