The availability of health care services in Latvia is regulated by the Medical Treatment Act. It states that state-funded health care services may be also received by third country nationals with the permanent residence permits in Latvia. It is possible to receive the state-funded health care services only in those medical institutions that have an agreement with the National Health Service (NHS). Information on these medical institutions is available at the Internet site of the NHS. If you wish to check whether a particular medical institution has an agreement with the NHS, we advise you to contact the NHS.
If you have a temporary residence permit in Latvia you and your children are not entitled to the state-funded medical assistance and you will have to pay for these services yourself, using a health insurance policy where possible. If you use your health insurance policy, the costs of the health care services will be compensated according to the insurance conditions of your health insurer.
If you are a spouse of a Latvian citizen or a Latvian non-citizen with a temporary residence permit, you can receive care services for pregnant women and assistance in childbirth free of charge.
Receiving of emergency medical care is available to everyone in situations where the person’s health and life are under a threat. For third country nationals who are staying in Latvia with a temporary residence permit the emergency care is covered by the health insurance policy. The only exception is Ukrainian citizens and pensioners of the Russian Federation who may receive the emergency medical care free of charge under an agreement stipulated in an intergovernmental treaty.
To call for the emergency care in Latvia you have to call 113 or 112. It might be necessary to produce the health insurance policy in order to receive the emergency care therefore it is advisable that you always carry it with you.
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
The permanent residents of Latvian, including foreigners with permanent residence permits, may enjoy health care services at a lower cost, provided the specialist physician is visited with a referral from the general practitioner. If you have a referral from the general practitioner or another specialist physician you can receive a state-funded consultancy from the specialist physician or diagnostic examination and pay only the patient fee. If you have a temporary residence permit the state does not ensure state-funded health care services for you and you have to cover the full cost of the visit to the specialist yourself or by means of your health insurance.
Registration with a general practitioner is not compulsory because primary health care services may be received from all physicians who provide the primary health care services. If you decide to register with a general practitioner you can do so both at the doctor’s office or at home if the doctor has arrived for a home visit. If you pay for health care services privately or through an insurance company you can choose freely the doctor and the medical institution where to receive health care services. Furthermore, you can also visit a specialist physician at once, without a referral from the general practitioner. The fee for the service in the case of a private visit may differ with different institutions and also for the services provided by different specialists (on average 20 – 60 EUR).
HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY
The Latvian laws state that foreigners may arrive and stay in Latvia if they have a valid health insurance policy that guarantees coverage of costs related to health care in Latvia. You have to produce your health insurance policy in order to receive the temporary residence permit. The term of validity of the policy should not be shorter that the foreigner’s expected period of stay in Latvia and it should guarantee at least the following health care services:
- emergency medical care;
- treatment of a critical condition that is threatening to life and health at hospital;
- transporting to the nearest medical treatment institution in both of the abovementioned cases;
- transporting to return to the country of origin in the event of a severe illness or death.
Health insurance of a private individual may be a solution for receiving of more advantageous health care services. However, it should be taken into account that different insurance companies may have different insurance conditions and offer different coverage of the costs of health care services. It is possible that health care services that are not covered by one insurer are covered fully or partly by another insurer. Therefore we advise that you contact several insurance companies before purchasing your health insurance policy in order to find the insurance conditions that suit you best. You should also find out at the insurance company what you have to do when you wish to use your policy.