How to maintain health insurance after finishing school?


Eda Palm, service manager for health insurance at the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Photo: private collection

After finishing high school or vocational school, young people who have turned 19 have their health insurance valid for three more months. In order to continue health insurance coverage, the young person must either continue their studies, start working, or enlist in military service within three months after finishing school. Health insurance can also be continued by registering as unemployed or by signing a voluntary insurance contract with the Health Insurance Fund.

Continuing studies at a vocational school or university

If you continue your studies at a vocational school or university, you are insured under health insurance for the entire nominal duration of your curriculum and also for three months after finishing school. When entering a vocational school or university, you don't need to submit separate documents to the Health Insurance Fund to continue your health insurance - the Ministry of Education and Research provides the information of students studying in Estonia to the Health Insurance Fund.

If you fail to complete your studies within the nominal duration or if you are expelled for some other reason, your health insurance will end one month after the nominal duration of the curriculum or expulsion.

If you take academic leave, your health insurance will be suspended and will resume after the end of the academic leave. However, health insurance does not cease if the reason for taking academic leave is illness, injury, or if you are insured on some other basis (such as working or being pregnant).

Continuing studies abroad

When going abroad to study, you need to submit an application to the Health Insurance Fund at the beginning of each academic year along with a document proving your enrollment in a foreign educational institution in order to continue your health insurance. You can find the application and additional information Health Insurance Fund's website.

Students with Estonian health insurance can receive necessary medical care upon presentation of the European Health Insurance Card in European Union countries, as well as in the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, and Switzerland, under the same conditions as insured persons living in those countries. For more detailed information about the European Health Insurance Card, you can visit Health Insurance Fund's website.

Entering military service

While serving in the military, your health insurance is provided by the state, and the necessary information for obtaining it is submitted by the Defence Forces or the Defence Resources Agency.

After completing military service, your health insurance remains valid for an additional one month. If you have completed military service but are not insured on any other basis within one month, your insurance will be extended for an additional two months.

Starting employment

If you plan to start working after finishing school, you have the right to receive health insurance through your employer. Health insurance is valid for the entire duration of your employment and ends two months after the termination of the employment relationship.

After starting employment, it is advisable to periodically check your health insurance details. The Tax and Customs Board submits the necessary information for health insurance to the employment register.

If you decide to become a sole proprietor (self-employed individual), you must apply to have your data as a sole proprietor entered into the business register and also pay social tax to obtain health insurance.

It is worth noting that for individuals working under a contract for services (such as commission or service contracts), it may take up to two months for health insurance to take effect, as the emergence of health insurance is linked to the declaration of social tax paid on the remuneration.

When working under a contract for services, it is also important to note that in order to receive health insurance, social tax must be declared by one or more employers in a manner that ensures payment of social tax at the minimum rate. For more detailed information about health insurance for individuals receiving remuneration under a contract for services, you can find it here.

Registering as unemployed

If you are not continuing your studies or heading to military service, but are still in search of employment, you have the option to register as unemployed. You can find more detailed information about registering as unemployed on the website of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund.

In case of eligibility for health insurance, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund will forward your information to the Health Insurance Fund.

Voluntary insurance

If you do not belong to any health insurance group, you have the option to obtain insurance by entering into a voluntary insurance contract with the Health Insurance Fund. You can enter into the contract if you have been insured by an employer (including as a sole proprietor) or by the state for at least 12 months in the previous two years, or if you have paid social tax for yourself.

If you enter into a voluntary insurance contract while having valid insurance, the insurance will continue uninterrupted. If the insurance has lapsed at the time of entering into the contract, it will become effective one month after the voluntary insurance contract is signed.

Voluntary insurance is subject to a fee and can be paid in quarterly installments or as an annual payment. For more information about the Health Insurance Fund's voluntary insurance contract, you can find it here.