International students studying in Estonia are not covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) unless they are employed in Estonia or have the right of permanent residence or a long-term residence permit. Thus, you need to ensure that you have some other health insurance for your period of study in Estonia.
If you are an EU citizen and have valid health insurance in your home country during your studies in Estonia, then you should apply for the EU health insurance card (EHIC) or a substitute certificate of an EU health insurance card (form E128). You should apply for that from the social service authorities in your home country before arriving in Estonia.
Necessary health care is not always free of charge – the patient’s co-payment should be paid according to Estonian tariffs. Therefore, it is recommended to also buy travel insurance from a private insurance company.
Note that EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property. More information about what is covered by EHIC can be found from the EHIC website. To be eligible for EHIC, you must be insured by or covered by a state social security system in any member state of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
IMPORTANT: You should have some form of health insurance!
There are strict requirements in Estonia for health insurance cover when applying for a residence permit and having the required health insurance cover is necessary for applying for a temporary residence permit for studying.
A student who has been granted residence permit for study is not covered by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Students can come to Estonia with travel insurance but are then required to obtain proper health insurance in Estonia. You have to have an insurance contract guaranteeing that any costs related to your medical treatment as a result of illness or injury during your stay in Estonia will be met.
Non-EU students should follow the requirements of the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board and obtain a medical insurance in Estonia for the same period as the temporary residence permit is valid. Arrange your insurance contact within two months of your arrival to Estonia. Please present the contract to the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. If you do not provide proof of proper insurance to the Police and Border Guard Board your temporary residence permit may be cancelled.
All insured people have a family practitioner who is the first contact point in case of illness. The family practitioner treats minor illnesses, can make home visits and gives referrals to visit a medical specialist. No referral is needed to visit a psychiatrist, gynaecologist, dermatovenerologist, ophthalmologist, dentist, pulmonologist (for tuberculosis treatment), infection specialist (for HIV/AIDS treatment), surgeon or orthopaedist (for traumatology).
For more information on family practitioners and how to find one, see the website of Estonian Health Insurance Fund or read the following blog post from our Student Ambassador Anirudh: "4 Steps to Getting a Family Physician: What I Did to Get Myself Registered". In case you need further support in finding a family practitioner you can always turn to your university`s international students service.
Emergency medical service and accident ward
Accident wards and emergency medical service units are open 24/7 and you may seek help there especially at weekends and at night time when family practitioners are off duty.
- East-Tallinn Central Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine
Ravi tn 18, 10138 Tallinn, C building
Reception desk (+372) 620 7040, triage nurse (+372) 620 7942
- Department of Emergency Medical Care of North Estonia Medical Centre
19 J. Sütiste Str, 13419 Tallinn
Information line: +372 617 1995
- Emergency medical care unit of Tartu University Hospital
L. Puusepa 8, Section G1, Tartu
Phone: +372 731 8195; +372 731 8202
In Estonia (and elsewhere in the EU) there is one emergency phone number - 112 - in use for calling the ambulance, police and rescue workers. The emergency phone number 112 is always accessible and free of charge.