Latvia, a country with a population of approximately 2 million people, has a health system very similar to the rest of the European Union, although only about 47% of its population considers it to be in good health.
We can divide Latvia's healthcare system into two forms, services provided by states and municipalities, which can be used by all permanent residents free of charge, and the private healthcare system, which contains fees and must be paid.
It was only in 2014 that electronic medical record systems began to be accepted in the country. Where the health information system started to be used to store patient information in a more organized and technological way, in addition to facilitating the exchange of information between patients, doctors, and health institutions.
Besides to the already known advantages of electronic medical record systems (EHR), which are giving patients greater control over their health, improving health in society, reducing time spent on bureaucracy and improving patient treatment, and giving greater effectiveness to health. Thus, the project "one resident - one medical record" was created.
Free medical system
Within the health system provided by the government, in longer treatments, it is necessary that the family doctor - the general practitioner (GP), turn the patient over to a specialist to have the state pay for these charges, although this process may take a few months before the patient is definitively seen.
All residents can choose their family doctor, and to be free of charge this choice must be registered, although it is not possible to register with several family doctors or general practitioners at the same time.
All GP services are covered by the government, and today, there are even completely free scheduled visits, if not covered, the patient has to pay a fee of around 2 euros for the service.
Dental care is free for children and teenagers under 18, all others must cover the costs themselves, with only some medications having partial coverage by health plans.
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In order for the patient to have free care from specialists, his general practitioner must refer him to the same. In some cases, the patient needs to contribute a fee of around 5 euros.
Some specialists can be consulted without a referral, such as gynecologists, ophthalmologists, and pediatricians. And if the patient's expenses exceed about 570 euros, the patient is exempt from paying more health fees in the year.
Hospitals and pharmacies
With an indication from the general practitioner, a treatment plan in hospitals, or drug treatments, the patient is able to refund almost all the money spent, and save a contribution to the hospital of around 8 euros for the first 24 hours and 14 euros for each following day. And even that fee can be covered by a health plan.
Within the main hospitals with 24-hour service, we can indicate:
- Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital
- Riga East University Hospital
- Children's Clinical University Hospital
In the case of pharmacies, both prescription and non-prescription drugs can be purchased at pharmacies. And just like in Brazil, for drugs that need a prescription, it is necessary to go through a clinician or specialist to get them, and if the drug is covered by the state, the doctor must inform the patient.
As for pharmacies, we can indicate the consultation in the Pharmacy Map.
Health insurance for immigrants and tourists
Moving from country to home or just to spend a season as a tourist involves a lot of planning before actually traveling. When it comes to health, it is no different, if you have a health plan in your home country, it is necessary to understand that on an international trip your health plan will most likely not cover it, or you will have to pay different rates, it is worth finding out before switching plans.
For international coverage in Latvia, we can suggest the Cigna, with the global Cigna plan that covers several countries, such as Morocco, India, Greece, Germany, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Costa Rica, among others, from all continents.