The Estonian Health Insurance Fund (EHIF) will only payout for sick leave which has been initiated through digilugu.ee and approved by the family doctor, it was announced on Wednesday.
Rain Laane, the head of the EHIF, said currently more than 60,000 applications for sick leave have been opened in the last month, the payment of which is awaiting the adoption of the supplementary budget by the Riigikogu.
It is likely sick leave, including the first three days, will be paid out next week.
However, there is an important precondition for this: if a person has taken the opportunity to open a sick note for themselves in the digilugu.ee environment, the family doctor must also have confirmed it. Otherwise, there is no basis for payment and the person will not receive any money.
Laane said opening a sick note should still be done through a family doctor, but if he or she is not available, it is possible to open your own note which lasts for a month. A phone number must be given so the person can be contacted by the family doctor's center. A medical certificate is only valid if the person has been contacted by the family doctor's center and the circumstances of the illness have been specified and recorded.
"Only then is it guaranteed that the sick leave will be paid," Laane explained.
The EHIF has requested an additional €40 million worth of funding which will be used, if necessary, to pay for sick leave.
When the emergency situation started in March the EHIF allowed patients to open their own sick notes online as family doctors were becoming overburdened with work. Usually, a doctor must first sign off agree to issue a sick leave notice.
The first three days of sick leave are usually not paid, but this has also been changed due to the emergency situation.
No plans to restart face-to-face specialist appointments
Laane also said there is currently no to plan to fully reopen specialist medical care.
"It is unlikely that there will be a day where all medical institutions will open their doors and people can go for scheduled treatment at once. It will be gradual," he added, adding that medical institutions will receive instructions next week on how to begin this phased reopening. As far as possible, remote appointments will continue, but this is not possible in every discipline or for every concern.
"A lot depends on today's decision in the Riigikogu about how much money should be given to the health care sector to cover the expenses caused by the virus. If the emergency situation does not last very long, then this situation will also stabilize," said Laane.
Editor: Helen Wright