Emerging from the shadows of Soviet rule, Estonia is coming into its own as a popular holiday destination. Despite its Russian connections, Estonia shares more geographically and historically speaking with Latvia and Lithuania. Europe has embraced the newly confident Estonia and has fallen in love with its charming cities and stunning countryside.
If you are planning a trip to this unique part of the world, along with your passport remember to pack your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). As Estonia is in the EU, it has reciprocal agreements with the UK with regards healthcare, but just as every other EU state has different rules concerning what healthcare is covered, so does Estonia. That is why, even if you have a valid EHIC, it is best to get insurance too. When travelling with the family, a family travel policy is definitely recommended.
What Does The EHIC Cover?
Only a private insurance, whether it is an individual or a family travel policy, will cover private medical treatment in Estonia. If you are relying on your EHIC, then you have to access a practitioner who is contracted to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF). The EHIF have a helpline number that you can call from the UK before you travel for more information (00372669663), and there is an excellent EHIF website that provides information in English.
Visit a Doctor or Dentist
If you visit a family practitioner or GP in Estonia, you will receive your consultation free of charge. However, should you or a member of your family require specialist treatment you need a referral and will be asked to pay part of the treatment cost. This is not refundable if you only have an EHIC. If you have an adequate family travel policy that insures you comprehensively, you should be able to claim back any money you have paid.
Home visits from a GP will incur a small fee, usually up to 5 euros, although this can vary. This fee is non refundable with your EHIC. For any routine dental treatment there is a charge, but if in the case of an emergency, treatment is free. And, the good news for families travelling with children is that children under 19 receive free dental treatment, whatever it might be.
How About Hospital Visits?
When on holiday with your family, ending up in hospital is something you don’t want to think too much about but it pays to be aware just in case. Inpatient care in state funded hospitals in Estonia is charged at 2.50 euros a day for up to 10 days, even if you have an EHIC, but there is no charge for treating under 18s, pregnancy or childbirth related treatment, or intensive care. The cost of private hospital care for any family member can only be reimbursed if you have a good family travel policy.
Although the healthcare is excellent in Estonia and you are entitled to much of it with a valid EHIC, it is always recommended that you take out a good insurance policy too, particularly if you are travelling with children.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, annual and family travel policy insurance. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.