Healthcare in LithuaniaThe Baltic state of Lithuania is an increasingly popular destination for city breaks, adventurous holidaymakers and business people. Lithuania has been a member of the EU since 2004, and this means that UK citizens are entitled to use the Lithuanian state healthcare system if they fall ill on a visit as long as they have applied for an EHIC card online before leaving home. EHIC will cover the basics of healthcare but doesn’t necessarily mean that treatment will be free, and there are significant advantages to taking out additional travel insurance too.
EHIC and LithuaniaThe state healthcare system in Lithuania is called VLK, and their website carries up to date information in English about how the system works and how to access medical care in an emergency. In order to access state healthcare under the EHIC agreements, you have to show your EHIC card and passport, so ensure you have these readily to hand. GP visits are free of charge, and any further consultations with hospital specialists are also free. You should not be asked to pay and fees or charges for being treated in hospital in Lithuania, as long as you make it clear that you expect to be treated under the state provision and not as a private patient. If you are asked to pay upfront, you may be able to claim a reimbursement at a later date, so always keep receipts.
Most dental treatment is not covered in the Lithuanian state system, so if you require urgent dental care, you will be expected to pay for this yourself. Medication prescribed by a doctor is subsidised, but you will have to contribute towards the cost. Some senior doctors in larger hospitals will speak English, but this cannot be guaranteed when you go to see a family doctor or are sent to hospital in a rural area. Have a Lithuanian speaker with you wherever possible.
Travel Insurance for LithuaniaLithuania has a thriving private medical sector, especially in the capital, Vilnius. If you choose to be treated in a private hospital this generally means you will be seen more quickly and can choose which doctor you see, giving you more flexibility over treatment and the ability to opt for an English speaking medic. If you do not have additional medical cover through your travel insurance, you will have to pay in full for any private treatment you have. If you think you might be covered for private treatment, always confirm this with your insurance company first and keep checking at every stage of treatment to ensure cover continues.
Travel insurance also has a number of other benefits which kick in if you should fall ill in Lithuania. Most policies will pick up the cost of alternative travel home if you are stuck in a hospital bed, and will sometimes pay for accommodation for loved ones too. Policies vary, so always check the terms and conditions of your policy, and let them know about any pre-existing medical conditions which could affect your cover.