The Estonian Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa/ EHIF) will finance emergency care and tests from the family doctor for uninsured people if they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus (COVID-19). People who do not have a family doctor can seek help from the nearest family doctor's center.
A comparison of data from Statistics Estonia and the EHIF revealed at the beginning of the year there were almost 66,000 people in Estonia without health insurance, although some of them may have health insurance in another country. The exact number of people without health insurance is not known, reported ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday evening.
The EHIF said the cost of medical treatment for these people, both for emergency care and for the coronavirus, will be covered by the fund. This concerns hospital treatment for coronavirus as well as tests prescribed by a family doctor.
Heli Paluste, head of the health network at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said: "The state pays for their emergency help no matter what, wherever they turn, and we now equate all acute illnesses with emergency care."
Asked for a list of symptoms of acute illnesses, she said: "Maybe fever - a little lower, a little higher -, maybe cough, sore throat, bone and joint pain, runny nose."
There are an estimated 20,000 people in Estonia who do not have a family doctor, although they may be covered by health insurance. They are advised by Paluste to contact their nearest GP. As family doctors will be paid for their services on a service basis, the EHIF confirmed.
Editor: Helen Wright