Learn About the Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats in Lithuania
Situated on the south-western shore of the Baltic Sea, Lithuania (officially the Republic of Lithuania) has been a member of the European Union since 2004. It is a popular destination both for business and holiday. Rich in folk art, festivals, and traditional music, the country steeps in history. Its capital city of Vilnius is one of Europe’s most enchanting and is famous for its lakes, forests, hills, and castles. Medical tourism is a big draw in Lithuania. A lot of patients travel to Lithuania to avail of medical treatment. The affordable cost of procedures is one of the main attractions. Though private clinics charge on the higher side, the medical costs are extremely competitive, resulting in considerable savings. Here’s what you need to know about the Lithuania healthcare system and medical insurance options for expats.
Overview of Healthcare in Lithuania
The entire health system is under the responsibility of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania. Primary health and secondary healthcare come under the councils of municipalities. Tertiary care level is mostly in university hospitals and comes under the government. It is usually through a general practitioner that a patient enters the healthcare system. The patient can also access the system directly through a specialist doctor.
The number of medical professionals per 1000 people in Lithuania is more substantial than in most developed nations. Hospitals have high-tech equipment and have adequate facilities to perform even complicated surgeries. Though most medical services in Lithuania are free of charge, the healthcare system is plagued by corruption, but the situation has been steadily improving. At present, the Lithuanian Health Programme 2020 is under development. The main aim of this program is to improve the overall health of the Lithuanian population, coupled with competent healthcare.
On the other hand, it is essential to visit your doctor before departing your home country. The CDC has more information on vaccinations you should get before traveling to Lithuania.
How the Lithuanian Healthcare System Works for Expats
All European nationals holding the EHIC document get free access to healthcare in Lithuania. However, EHIC does not cover any private treatment. It also does not include any kind of emergency evacuation from Lithuania to another country.
For anyone staying in Lithuania for more than 90 days, holding an EHIC card is not enough to cover the medical costs. You must register with the government and become a part of the Privalomasis Sveikatos Draudimas (PSD) program. In this program, they will contribute to the national insurance scheme, and the amount depends on their citizenship, residency status, and health insurance.
All visitors traveling to Lithuania should secure appropriate health insurance. Having adequate coverage ensures a hassle-free experience should you have a medical emergency. Hence, it is also essential to consider adding emergency medical evacuation in your policy.
Public Healthcare in Lithuania
The public healthcare system in Lithuania ensures free healthcare for almost all its citizens. This state-funded healthcare is available to long-term residents and expats too. Some of the local hospitals have a poor standard, but the doctor to patient ratio compensates for that.
City hospitals are far better than the ones in small cities and rural areas. With the government trying to increase funding and prioritizing the medical sector, the general standard of public healthcare facilities is improving. People who can afford private healthcare either pay out of their pocket for healthcare services rendered, or they may purchase private medical insurance to take care of the medical costs incurred.
Private Healthcare in Lithuania
Treatment in private hospitals is less of a struggle as compared to public medical centers. It has state-of-the-art equipment with highly qualified and multilingual staff. There is hardly any wait time, and medical insurance covers most of the treatment. Furthermore, private clinics offer high standard treatments to overseas patients, especially those who travel to the country as medical tourists.
The main specialties that are popular with medical tourists are cosmetic surgery, dental work, and cardiac procedures. We advise global citizens, expats, and digital nomads to retain all medical documents and payment receipts to ensure an easy reimbursement process.
Pharmacies and Emergency Services in Lithuania
Dial 112 in case of an emergency. Emergency treatment is free, while the non-urgent cases get a referral to a general practitioner.
Most medications are available in the pharmacies across major cities of Lithuania. However, carrying all prescription medicines while traveling is better than having to rely on alternative drugs.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Lithuania
We advise global citizens, expats, and digital nomads visiting Lithuania to purchase appropriate medical insurance cover, preferably one that includes emergency medical evacuation. Before finalizing on a health insurance policy, it is prudent to consult with both your doctor and insurance company and decide accordingly. A pre-existing medical condition requires that extra insurance is purchased. This additional insurance can give you access to private healthcare in Lithuania.
Expats in Lithuania can opt for an international health insurance plan. Global health insurance ensures proper coverage of your medical expenses at the time of any medical emergency. There are a lot of global insurance companies that provide an extensive range of plans. Some of the best companies include Allianz Care and Cigna Global.