Your guide to health insurance in Latvia
Thinking of moving to Latvia? You must be curious about the healthcare system there! Latvia is home to one of the lowest ranking healthcare systems in Europe. Nevertheless, certain medical services are state-funded and effective, particularly in major cities such as Riga.
Here, we will provide a snapshot of the healthcare system in Latvia, as well as the types of medical service expats and travelers can expect in the country. You can also find our handy guides to other European countries here.
Latvia has a universal healthcare system funded through government taxation. Though underfunded, their healthcare system is broadly effective. This state fund they’ve set aside for universal healthcare covers most of the costs of each eligible treatment. As a result, patients only need to co-pay a small amount of money.
What is covered under the universal healthcare system?
Except for specific conditions outside of their scope, the Latvian government pays for all medical services with co-payments from patients. These healthcare benefits are available at the state, municipality, and private inpatient and outpatient healthcare institutes. Some of the state-covered services include, but are not limited to:
- Preventive examination once a year by your general physician
- Specialist-provided treatment
- Laboratory tests with a referral from your family doctor or specialist
- Home care
- Emergency care and treatment
- Rehabilitation after treatment
- Reimbursed medicines and medical devices
It is important to note that Latvia only reimburses certain medications and services. Therefore, be sure to check which treatment is covered by the state before heading to your local hospital!
Who is eligible for state-funded medical services?
Latvia’s state budget covers a wide range of individuals, including:
- Citizens of Latvia
- Non-citizens of Latvia
- EHIC holders
- Foreigners with a permanent residence permit
- Children of the aforementioned groups up to 18 years of age
- Spouses of the citizens and non-citizens of Latvia, having temporary residence permits in Latvia, may obtain state-funded pregnant women care and child-birth assistance free of charge.
How do I access state-funded healthcare services?
You can access all state-funded healthcare services in Latvia by first registering with a family doctor in the area you live in. They could then refer you to other state-funded services when the need arises. Again, do make sure that the medical facilities and the doctors you visit are state-funded so you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket. Most specialists require a referral from your family doctor except for direct availability specialists, such as a children’s surgeon or a psychiatrist.
You are welcomed to phone consultations with your Latvian doctors outside of their office hours. Simply dial this number: 66016001. This is incredibly convenient if you are mildly ill and wish to seek medical advice from professionals. Please note that email or skype are also available. However, if you are severely ill, please seek out the emergency services which are also covered by the state fund.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
Are you a European citizen? You can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Latvia to receive the same level of treatment as Latvians! The EHIC is available to all citizens of the EU/EEA.
In fact, EHIC could cover up to 70% of the total cost of state-funded medical services in Latvia. Look for doctors who are registered with the National Health Service (Nacionālais veselības diensts or NVD for short). The NVD will reimburse treatment costs directly to your healthcare providers. Patients like yourself are only charged a small fee, if any at all, at the time of treatment. Keep in mind that repatriation costs are not covered by the EHIC.
If you are neither an EU/EEA citizen nor eligible for state-funded healthcare services, then you should turn to private health insurance or pay out-of-pocket. This is particularly the case if you are ineligible for Latvia’s universal healthcare program. Reach out to our team of expert insurance advisors right now to receive free advice on the best international private health insurance plans for your stay in Latvia.
In this section, we will go over the insurance alternatives available in Latvia.
Private health insurance
It’s always best to invest in a private insurance plan if you don’t want to shoulder all the medical costs on your own. This is especially the case if you aren’t eligible for Latvia’s state-funded healthcare services! No matter where you are in the world, an international private health insurance plan ensures that you will always have access to the best private medical facilities.
Compared to public facilities in Latvia, private institutes are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and have a much shorter waiting time. There is also more English-speaking staff so you will have a much smoother healthcare experience.
How to find the best private health insurance in Latvia
Choosing the right private health insurance plan can be a daunting task as there are numerous options available in Latvia. One of the best decisions you can make as an expat is to chat with our insurance experts at Pacific Prime.
We have over two decades of experience in the industry and are committed to finding the perfect health insurance plan to suit your budget and needs. Most importantly, our highly-trained experts at Pacific Prime provide free quotations, leverage our close partnerships with all major insurers, and have an extensive portfolio that consists of all the best plans. Contact us today so we can help!