Health & insurance
Estonia is a healthy place – the biggest risk you may face is catching a cold in winter.
Before You Go
Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein receive free or reduced-cost, state-provided health-care cover with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for medical treatment that becomes necessary while in Estonia. Each family member will need a separate card. UK residents can get application forms from post offices, or download them from the Department of Health website (www.dh.gov.uk), which has comprehensive information about the card’s coverage.
The EHIC does not cover private health care, so make sure that you are treated by a state health-care provider if you do not want to pay fees. If you do not have proof of EHIC coverage, you will need to pay the provider directly and fill in a treatment form; keep the form to claim any refunds once you return home. In general, you can claim back around 70% of the standard treatment cost.
For travellers from countries outside of Europe, it is advisable to purchase travel medical insurance before your trip.
No vaccinations are required to travel to Estonia, but the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all travellers be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, regardless of their destination.
There is risk of tick-borne encephalitis in rural areas – vaccination is advised if you plan to spend time outdoors.
Availability & Cost of Healthcare
Medical care in Estonia is generally good, particularly in Tallinn and Tartu. Hospitals and clinics in more rural areas may lack sufficient resources and equipment, and may speak limited English.
Travellers carrying a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can obtain medically necessary treatment on the same terms and at the same prices (often free or low-cost) as Estonians. Health-care providers in Estonia are divided into three categories: nurse care, primary or family care, and specialists. In the event that you need to see a doctor (perearst), pick one who has an agreement with Eesti Haigekassa (Estonian Health Insurance Fund or EHIF, www.haigekassa.ee). The EHIF will cover the costs when you show your valid EHIC directly to the provider.
Travellers without an EHIC will need to pay out-of-pocket costs for treatment and in the case of non-emergency care, may face long waits to get in with a public doctor. Medical fees for those without EHIC coverage are often the same for private and public providers, so you may be able to get care quicker with a private doctor as wait times for public providers may be longer (with or without EHIC coverage). Expect to pay around €25 for an initial appointment with a primary/family care doctor.
The 1182 website (www.1182.ee) has a searchable directory of medical services, including doctors, dentists and private clinics in English.
Tap water throughout Estonia is drinkable.