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Health care in Finland provided by European Health Insurance Card

© fotolia.com - Alexander Raths
© fotolia.com - Alexander Raths
Patients from other European countries receive the same access to health services and benefits as Finns by presenting a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Health care in Finland is mainly provided on the basis of residence and is primarily financed with general tax revenues. There are both public and private providers. Primary health care services are the responsibility of municipalities and are generally provided through local health centres. The health centres provide residents with physician, dental, laboratory and radiographic services. The municipalities own and operate almost all of the hospitals.


Private-sector services, which mainly provide out-patient care, complement the public services. The private sector also comprises a few hospitals, rehabilitation facilities as well as all pharmacies with the exception of those operating in conjunction with a general hospital. Patients who use private-sector services pay the entire cost of the service to the provider, after which they can apply for reimbursement from Kansaneläkelaitos (Kela) under the Health Insurance Act.


In the case of emergency, the number to call is 112.


How to find a doctor


Patients can contact a municipal health centre, where health-care professionals will assess the need for medical care according to national instructions and treatment practices. Patients have to prove their right to benefits by presenting a valid European Health Insurance Card. Patients may be asked to prove their identity with the passport or other travel document. Some health centre services are by law free of charge, but the health centres may charge for certain services. For a visit to a doctor, the health centre usually charges EUR 13.80 – 27.50. Persons under 18 are not charged this fee. Patients can also contact private physicians, in which case they pay the full fee.


How to find a dentist


In the event of an urgent need of treatment, patients can contact the dentist on call at the local health centre. A valid European Health Insurance Card must be presented. The health centre will charge the patient the relevant co-payments (cost-sharing by the patient) according to a fixed scale of charges (usually less than EUR 80). Persons under age 18 receive dental services free of charge. Patients can also contact private dentists, in which case they pay the full fee.


How to get medication


Patients can obtain the medication prescribed by a doctor or dentist from any pharmacy. The full price of the medicine must be paid at the pharmacy. The patient gets a receipt, which can be used to obtain a reimbursement.


How to get hospital treatment


Hospitals require a referral from a physician in order to admit a patient. However, in emergencies patients can contact a hospital directly. A valid European Health Insurance Card must be presented in order to get the medical benefits to which residents are entitled in a public hospital. The charge for hospital bed-day inpatient care is EUR 32,60. Persons under age 18 need not pay the daily charge for more than seven days within a calendar year. The charge for hospital out-patient care is EUR 27,50. The charge for day surgery is EUR 90,30. If a person is admitted into a private hospital, the patient must pay all costs, but a reimbursement can be claimed from a local office of Kela.


How to get reimbursements in Finland


If services are obtained from a private doctor or dentist, the patient must at first pay the full fee charged. The patient should then bring or post the receipts, the statements, the valid European Health Insurance Card and any other relevant documents to a local Kela office. There is an application on the reverse side of the doctor's statement of fees which the patient must complete, or at least write down his/her permanent address and the current date, as well as provide information about his/her bank account, and then sign the application. It is also possible to send the documents along with the copy of the European Health Insurance Card by post to the local Kela office. Please read further details and tariffs for the reimbursements from the Kela website.


Certain treatments must be pre-arranged before arriving in Finland


If you need dialysis or oxygen therapy during your stay in Finland, you or your health care institution must arrange the treatment with a relevant hospital before coming to Finland. Hospital contact information is available on the internet. Most but not all hospitals on the list provide oxygen therapy and dialysis.