Health & Social Security 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 healt 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 to 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:
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 you 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 E106 (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 E109 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), taxes must be paid in Estonia, and an Estonian ID number is needed. You get an ID number together with a temporary residence permit or residence permit for employment or as an EU- citizen when you register your right of residence. Your employer will send the information about your employment to the EHIF.
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 number by contacting the Ministry of Interior Population facts 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 number by post. You will have to present your ID number 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-number, you should get a private health insurance to have full coverage.
Some people have the same rights as taxpayers, such as children and pregnant women whose pregnancy has been established by a physician.
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 E109 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 E106 form, which you should bring with you to Estonia. Go to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund with 2 copies of the E106 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. Insured person
Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Registration
Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Voluntary registration
Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Health Services
Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Digital prescriptions. FAQ
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).
Here you can find information about family physicians, hospitals and emergency, as well as dental care.
The first level of the health care system in Estonia is Family Physicians. Everyone has the right to choose their own family doctor. You can register yourself as a patient of your family physician right in his or her office. Family Physicians send their patients to medical specialists if and when necessary. Family doctors also write prescriptions for prescription-medicines.
Prescriptions that have been issued in other EU member countries are not valid in Estonia. So in the event that you need to buy any prescription medicines, you need to contact a doctor here.
For visits to medical specialists, a visit fee of up to 5 Euros is charged. No referral is needed to visit a psychiatrist, gynaecologist, dermatovenerologist, ophthalmologist, dentist, pulmonologist (for tuberculosis treatment), infectious diseases specialist (for HIV/AIDS treatment), surgeon or orthopaedist (for traumatology).
Visits to family physicians are free of charge if you have valid Estonian health insurance or a European Health Insurance Card. You must pay 5 Euros for a home visit.
In case you need help finding a family physician, you can contact your nearest EURAXESS Services centre for assistance. The Estonian Health Insurance Fund has established a health advice hotline that works 24 hours every day; the service is free of charge and you can use it by dialling 1220.
There is an online registry of Family Physicians in Estonia. The page is in Estonian.
(Some relevant vocabulary: perearsti nimeosa = part of the name of the family physician; teenuse osutaja = service provider; teeninduspiirkond = service area; perearst = family physician; teeninduspiirkonna aadress = address of the service area; perearstikeskus = medical centre; registreerimise telefon = telephone number for making an appointment, vastuvõtuajad= reception hours; kontakt= contact)
Emergencies and hospitals
In an emergency situation, call:
112 Emergency calls, Ambulance
Calls to emergency numbers are free of charge and can be made from any phone, including pay-phones and the mobile phones of any service provider (incl. foreign).
You should report the following when making an emergency call:
- What happened?
- Where did it happen?
- Who is calling?
- Is somebody injured? What is their condition?
- Can somebody give first aid?
Emergency health care is free of charge to everyone irrespective of your insurance situation.
If the situation is not that dangerous that an ambulance needs to be called, but you need to contact a doctor after regular reception hours, you can turn to the emergency reception in a hospital.
Dental care is free for Estonian residents under the age of 19. Compensation (28.77 Euros per year) for dental care has been established for pregnant women, mothers of children up to 1 year old and those in greater need of dental treatment because of sickness. There is also additional compensation for dentures. Since 1st of January 2009, all others have to pay the full amount of their dental care themselves.
Dental care in Estonia is relatively cheap compared to average European prices. There are some public dentistry clinics and a large number of private dental clinics.
On the Estonian Dental Web Portal Hambaarst.ee you can find an up-to-date register of Estonian dentists and dental companies. Register in Estonian only
In case you need help finding a dentist, you can contact your nearest EURAXESS Services centre for assistance.
It is possible to use a special taxi service for disabled people in both Tallinn and Tartu. To use this service you should contact the local social welfare department.
A lot remains to be done to enable disabled people to manage on their own. Disabled people can obtain support and additional information from their local government’s social welfare departments.
Tartu Department of Social Welfare and Health Care
Address: Raekoja plats 3, 51003, Tartu
Phone: (+372) 736 1300