On Sunday, May 17, it was the last chance to apply for opening a sick-leave certificate via the patient portal digilugu.ee. Compensating the first three days of the sick-leave ended Sunsay as well. Additionally, expired referrals to specialists given during the emergency situation will be postponed for half a year.
During the emergency situation (March 12-May 17-ed.), several opportunities were created for the public, one of them being the announcing of sick-leave certificates via the patients' portal. Between March 16 and May 15, over 24,000 certificate applications were submitted.
"We can see that people have taken the opportunity happily, and we wish to offer this comfortable solution in the future as well, but offering it outside of the emergency situation requires a legal amendment," Head of the Board at the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa), Rain Laane explained.
From May 18, sick-leave certificates can only be opened at a family doctor´s, meaning that in the case of falling ill or taking care of a loved one, the family doctor needs to be contacted to obtain the sick or carer´s leave certificate.
During the emergency situation, the state opted to help people on sick-leave through this difficult time, and to compensate for the first three days of sick-leave.
The three-day compensation applies for certificates opened from March 13 until May 17. To cover the cost of these days, the state allocated €7 million extra money to the health fund. The previous situation was restored after ending the emergency situation, meaning that the fund is not paying for the first three days of sick leave any more.
During the emergency situation, most scheduled appointments were canceled, and tens of thousands of referrals have expired or about to expire. As a result, the health information system (TEHIK) automatically extended the validity of these referrals for half a year.
The main specialties in which referrals are extended are in the fields of endocrinology, neurology, cardiology, orthopedics, and laryngology. The change affects more than 20,000 referrals, ERR's online news in Estonian reports.
As the health fund still does not have current data for thousands of people, they ask people waiting for sickness benefits to check their data on the state portal eesti.ee in the "my data" section.
Editor: Roberta Vaino