Estonia is a small country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. The Estonian healthcare system has undergone significant reforms since the country regained independence in 1991. The government has focused on creating a universal healthcare system that is accessible and affordable for all citizens and residents of Estonia. In this article, we will discuss the standard of healthcare in Estonia, how healthcare is paid for, the services provided by hospitals, follow-up care after hospital treatment, and the rules regarding medical treatment of foreign visitors.
Standard of Healthcare in Estonia
Estonia has a high standard of healthcare, and the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks it as the 28th best healthcare system in the world. The country has a decentralized healthcare system, which means that the responsibility for healthcare is shared between the national government, local governments, and private healthcare providers.
The Estonian healthcare system is primarily funded by taxes, and healthcare services are provided to all Estonian citizens and legal residents. There is no charge for primary care, and patients only need to pay a small fee for specialist consultations, hospital treatment, and prescription medication. However, some medical procedures, such as dental care and certain medications, require additional out-of-pocket payments.
Healthcare Payment and Private Insurance in Estonia
As mentioned, healthcare in Estonia is primarily funded by taxes. The Estonian Health Insurance Fund is responsible for managing healthcare funds and allocating them to healthcare providers. Everyone who is working and paying taxes in Estonia is eligible for healthcare coverage, and the government provides free healthcare to children, retirees, and those who are unable to work due to a disability.
Private health insurance is available in Estonia and is usually purchased by individuals who want additional coverage or prefer to have access to private healthcare providers. However, private insurance is not necessary to receive quality healthcare in Estonia.
Services Provided by Hospitals in Estonia
Hospitals in Estonia provide a wide range of medical services, including emergency care, surgery, diagnostic imaging, laboratory testing, and rehabilitation services. There are four university hospitals in Estonia, as well as several general and specialized hospitals. Patients are referred to hospitals by their primary care physicians, and hospital care is free for all Estonian citizens and legal residents.
Patient Care and Follow-Up Treatment in Estonia
In Estonia, patients are generally expected to take care of themselves while in the hospital, although some help may be provided by hospital staff. Families are not expected to provide care for patients, but they are allowed to visit and provide emotional support. After leaving the hospital, patients may receive follow-up care from their primary care physician or a specialist. The cost of follow-up care is covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.
Medical Treatment of Foreign Visitors in Estonia
Foreign visitors to Estonia are required to have medical insurance to cover any healthcare costs they may incur during their stay. However, the Estonian government has signed agreements with several countries to provide emergency medical care to their citizens while they are in Estonia. Visitors from countries that do not have such agreements are required to pay for any medical treatment they receive.
In conclusion, Estonia has a high standard of healthcare and provides accessible and affordable healthcare services to all its citizens and legal residents. The government has implemented a universal healthcare system that is primarily funded by taxes, and private health insurance is available but not necessary. Hospitals in Estonia provide a wide range of medical services, and patients are not expected to provide care for themselves or their loved ones while in the hospital. Follow-up care is provided by primary care physicians or specialists, and the cost is covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Foreign visitors to Estonia are required to have medical insurance or pay for any medical treatment they receive, although emergency medical care is provided to citizens of certain countries.