You feel like you might be ill.
Panicking, you struggle to get in touch with a general practitioner. Then if you’re lucky enough to find one, you schedule a visit, then you wait for 3-5 days, then you figure out transport, then you go to the doctors, then you sign in with the reception, then you sit down, then you wait as you try to block out the crying baby, then you hope that the patient next to you doesn’t have something contagious, and then you wait some more. Who has time for this nowadays?
Healthcare in Estonia is mostly provided and funded by the state via the Health Insurance Fund. However, to be eligible for this, you must be, in a nutshell:
- Employed with a contract for at least one month; or
- A permanent or temporary resident paying premiums into voluntary insurance.
If you don’t have access to the Health Insurance Fund, you can use the following primary healthcare providers if you’re starting to feel under the weather. Starting with:
Public and Private Clinics in Estonia
We’re all familiar with clinics.
You’re down with the flu and need to take a sick day. The clinic is where you see a doctor to tell you what you already know — with the added inconvenience of booking an appointment, waiting several days, trekking across town, and waiting in a queue.
If you’re not fortunate enough to be registered with a family doctor that speaks your language and you have to visit a private clinic, you can add expensive to that list of problems.
Read this if your looking ways how to find an English-speaking Family doctor in Estonia.
Confido and Qvalitas
Confido and Qvalitas are the most well-known private healthcare providers in Estonia. They offer a wide range of services, from GP consultations and state of the art facilities. However, if you do decide to turn to private healthcare for help, you should factor in that they are:
- Really expensive — seeing a doctor can set you back €60 per visit and €100+ per specialist visit;
- That their digital solutions are usually catered for locals — for example, local bank payments and accepting locally issued ID; and
- A service that is ultimately reliant on face-to-face visits.
Private Health Insurance in Estonia
Private health insurance is a type of healthcare coverage that you purchase independently, rather than getting it through an employer or family member — ideal for expats from outside of the EU and living in Estonia on their own.
However, some insurances can only be accessed through employers and have requirements that need to be met (such as minimum salary requirements). It’s an expensive option that might give you peace of mind, but this coverage doesn’t extend to your family members, and it’s not guaranteed that the insurance will cover your expenses.
ERGO, BTA, and If Health Insurance
ERGO, BTA, and If are the go-to health insurance providers here in Estonia. However, before you start reaching into your wallet, here are some points you should consider:
- Health insurance providers aren’t doctors — they simply cover the costs and put you in contact with a network of medical specialists;
- They might provide peace of mind when it comes to costs, but since they themselves don’t provide healthcare services, you may still struggle to see a doctor; and
- Health insurance is usually only accessible via employers — you can get cover for around €400 a year. Still, you never know what the policy covers, and your family will be excluded from coverage.
Telehealth in Estonia
Telehealth is a term that refers to delivering healthcare services via communication technologies, such as video conferencing, email, and smartphones.
One of the significant benefits of telehealth is that it can improve access to care for people in rural areas and those who have trouble getting to the doctor’s office, such as the elderly or bedridden.
Minudoc is an online platform that connects patients with registered health and healthcare service providers — think Tinder for finding healthcare in Estonia.
Patients can use the platform to find providers in their area, book appointments, and track their health progress. Minudoc is a convenient and secure platform that makes it easy for anyone to get the healthcare they need, no matter where they are.
Sounds more 21st century, doesn’t it? Although it has made receiving consultations more convenient, it does come with its downsides. When it comes to the nitty-gritty side of healthcare, it falls short. Minudoc faces issues such as:
- Cannot provide physical examinations;
- Unable to arrange blood test; and
- Providing flexible schedules.
21st Century Healthcare Solutions in Estonia
Still not satisfied with the healthcare solutions in Estonia?
Do not stress. What if we told you that healthcare and the digital era are finally catching up with each other? There is a telehealth provider that has all the benefits of the above, minus the drama.
Food is delivered to your doorstep within 30 minutes, bank transfers can be done within seconds from your phone, but you still have to make an appointment at a clinic to get medical care. We want to raise primary care to the same level as other services that people use daily.
Salu is a subscription-based solution that provides you with all the primary healthcare services you could ever need, both online and off.
Traditional telehealth services have you browse a catalog of doctors who provide different services and fees — and you’re at the mercy of their availability. With Salu, you are connected to an army of medical professionals ready and waiting to help, who can give you a solution in minutes. If you need to see a doctor or specialist in-person, Salu partners can make a referral on the spot.
Salu offers users:
- Affordable and transparent healthcare starting from €11.90 a month;
- Doctors who speak your language, including English, Russian, and Estonian; and
- Answer over 90% of your health queries without you ever having to set foot out of bed.
Not looking for a doctor, and you’re just fed up with searching for an answer — no worries. Salu specialists are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about healthcare in Estonia.
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