Latvia Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
Latvia is a small yet beautiful European country with breathtaking views and a peaceful environment. The country’s pristine lakes and dense forests, low taxes, and high-quality of life make it a dream destination for expats. The country’s healthcare system is decent, with Riga, the country’s capital, offering some of the most competitive healthcare services. Here’s what you need to know about the Latvia healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
Overall though, Latvia’s healthcare standards are much lower than those of other European countries. Out of the services available, expats living in the country prefer better-equipped private healthcare facilities. Those planning to move here must procure comprehensive international health insurance that can offer them an optimum health cover around the world.
It is important to always visit your doctor a month before leaving the country. The CDC has vaccinations you need to get before traveling to Latvia.
Overview of Healthcare in Latvia
Healthcare services are available for free for citizens of Latvia. The country’s Ministry of Health manages its healthcare system through the combined administration of social insurance institutional body, legislative healthcare provision (financed by taxes), and numerous public and private providers. Furthermore, those within the European Union can use their European Health Insurance Card to obtain emergency medical assistance in the country.
General practitioners (GP) working across Latvia are highly professional. Those seeking free or subsidized treatment must ensure that the doctor treating them is part of the National Insurance Scheme.
How the Latvian Healthcare Works for Expats?
Expats living in Latvia must know that public healthcare services aren’t as effective as private healthcare services in the country. It is why most of them choose private treatment where facilities are better and have hardly any waiting queues. Expats, just like native Latvians, can choose their GP to seek a free consultation. However, they can only visit a GP for free twice a year. Hence, we recommend expats to obtain an international health insurance plan that can cover them not only across the country but also when they are traveling overseas.
Those with a pre-existing medical condition must carry all their medicines with them while traveling to Latvia since all the drugs may or may not be available at pharmacies across the country. In case they run out of supplies, they may have to import those medicines again.
Public Healthcare in Latvia
Latvian National Health Services, or Nacionālais veselības dienests, oversees the country’s public healthcare system that it funds through social security and subsidized payments for certain types of treatments. Expats can also access the Latvian public healthcare system, but they have to pay a small fee for it. They must not expect to get the same level of healthcare services that are available in the majority of European countries. They may also need to wait in long queues at times, owing to the shortage of staff and appropriate equipment.
Private Healthcare in Latvia
The private healthcare system in Latvia does not come under the benefits’ plan provided by the state. Most of the private hospitals and clinics are concentrated in the capital city of Riga other major cities. These centers have sufficient modern equipment and are managed by top private practitioners of the country. Their services can be quite expensive. Therefore, those seeking treatment at private hospitals and clinics should get a comprehensive international health insurance plan beforehand.
Emergency Medical Services in Latvia
Expats seeking emergency medical services can call 112 (the standard number for all emergency services). Dial 113 to call an ambulance. In case of a critical condition, air evacuation may become an absolute must.
Pharmacies in Latvia
According to the government, numerous pharmacies are functioning all across the country. Most of them are concentrated in major cities, including the capital. While most pharmacies are adequately stocked, expats can face challenges finding medications for their long-term conditions. Hence, expats may have to bring those medicines along to avoid unnecessary stress.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Latvia
Expats visiting the country can certainly expect to have a great time throughout their stay in Latvia. To ensure stress-free travel, we advise expats to obtain comprehensive international health insurance from leading global insurance companies like Cigna Global and Aetna International. Expats can compare multiple plans offered by these companies before choosing the best one for them.