If you’re a citizen of Switzerland, or any country of the European Economic Area (EEA), you should apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This amazing little card allows you to travel throughout all other participating countries with peace of mind, knowing that you’re entitled to use any public health care facility, either at a reduced rate, or totally free of charge. This includes any treatment you may need for pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, as well as emergency care. Always check ahead and make sure that the country you plan to travel to has all the care you may need, especially if you have ongoing medical issues. Remember that Europe is a hugely diverse continent, and as such, health care can vary greatly from country to country.
Estonia is a small Baltic state in north-eastern Europe, just below Finland, and is often overlooked by holiday makers. This fascinating little country is known for its beauty; its beautiful countryside, its buildings, and its beautiful women. But before you go exploring, are you covered in the event of an emergency?
With a valid EHIC card yes, you are. Estonian health care, while not world leading, is of a very high standard. You can expect professional, quality care wherever you go within the country. There are a number of good hospitals in Estonia, and most of these are near large cities as you would expect. It is estimated that there is approximately one doctor for every 300 people in the country, which is better than in the UK.
Holders of a valid EHIC card can expect to receive substantial reductions on health care costs, but will still have to pay something in most cases. Part of the costs of doctors services will be charged, while under 19’s receive free care. The same goes for dental treatment, but there are some common procedures which are completely covered by your EHIC. There is a set fee for prescriptions, but if your medication is not on the country’s approved medicines list, you will have to pay full price for them. Try to plan ahead and carry whatever medicines you expect to need when on your travels. If you are hospitalised, there is a fee to be paid per day, for up to 10 days from admittance. For maternity or intensive care treatment, or for under 19’s, there is no fee. Ambulance travel is free for all EHIC holders.
It is estimated that around 45% of Estonian citizens speak English to some degree; what this degree is is open to interpretation. It is highly recommended that you carry a phrasebook with you at all times, containing as many medical phrases as possible, so that you may convey your medical needs to any relevant health care professional without any undue confusion.
Don’t travel to Estonia without a valid EHIC card. Enjoy this beautiful country with total peace of mind, knowing that you will get all of the help you need at a reduced cost, or for free.