The health care system in Latvia is based on the residence principle.The state pays for all services except those that are excluded from the scope and patient should pay a contribution in order to receive health care. Health care services are available at the state, municipal and private inpatient and outpatient health care institutions.
The medical assistance guaranteed by the state is provided to citizens of Latvia, non-citizens, persons with permanent residence permits, EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland Health care system persons who are employed or self-employed in Latvia and their family members.
NB! Foreign students and persons, whose remuneration is provided by fellowships, as well as their family members, are not embraced by the state compulsory health insurance.
Medicine can be bought only at Pharmacies (called Aptieka) in Latvia and there is an extensive network of pharmacies around the country. They can also be found inside some hospitals and health centres, shopping malls, stations etc. For some medicines, the prescription from general practitioner or medical specialist required.
In case of minor injuries, sudden sickness and exacerbation of chronic diseases the National Health Service encourages to seek assistance of a family doctor or a paramedic.
However, if it is impossible to visit a family doctor (outside working hours of a family doctor), but the health condition requires urgent attention, the National Health Service encourages:
- to call the consultation phone of family doctors 66016001 (from 17.00 to 8.00; on weekends and holidays – 24h) to get an advise in case of a simple disease;
- to contact physicians on duty in healthcare institutions in your territory (regardless of the family doctor, with which the patient is registered);
- to go to emergency medical assistance points;
- to go to admission departments of hospitals.
If elective medical assistance is necessary, the patient’s health condition will be evaluated by the family doctor (the patient may be referred to examinations or specialised consultations) or a specialist and the patient will be issued a referral to the reception of outpatient services (for example, examinations) or medical assistance in a hospital.
In order to receive consultations from specialists, carry out diagnostic examinations or receive other outpatient medical services paid by the state, the patient should contact outpatient institutions, which offer services paid by the state. In order to receive healthcare services in hospitals, the patient should contact healthcare institutions, which provide inpatient healthcare services paid by the state. Prior to visiting a healthcare institution to receive healthcare services paid by the state by paying the patient’s contributions only, the person should learn whether the physician or the healthcare institution selected by the patient provides services paid by the state (the selected physician or healthcare institution has a relevant agreement with the National Health Service).
Comprehensive health care insurance. Insurance companies offer programs, covering patient charges, "payable" health care services, vaccination, medications, dental services and other health care services. Covering of charges and offered services depend on the selected insurance program and insurance payment. Several insurance companies offer comprehensive health care insurance programs only for organizations (legal persons), which allow employers to provide comprehensive insurance for employees. Please consult your current or provisional employer regarding the possibility to join such comprehensive health care insurance during your stay in Latvia.