European Health Insurance Card

By presenting a European Health Insurance Card you can obtain medically necessary treatment when staying in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland. Show the card to the treatment provider. The card must be valid at the time of provision of treatment.


Medically necessary treatment is care decided on by a doctor or other healthcare professional. It is treatment that you must obtain in order to be able to safely continue your stay in the destination country in accordance with your original plans. A need for medically necessary treatment can arise due to, besides sudden illness, a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth too.

Temporary residence usually refers to a stay not exceeding a year in the destination country.

Also be prepared to prove your identity to the treatment provider with a passport or an official identity card. Be aware that a driving licence is not generally accepted as proof of identity abroad.

European Health Insurance Card (Kela)

You can obtain a European Health Insurance Card from your own health insurance institute

A European Health Insurance Card is granted by the country where you are covered by health insurance or which is responsible for your medical costs. The card is personal, i.e. everyone must have his or her own card. A newborn child receives treatment under the mother´s European Health Insurance Card.

In Finland, the card is granted by Kela. Apply for an European Health Insurance Card from Kela through

The card is free of charge. Kela will deliver the card to your home by letter mail about a week after placement of the order.

The European Health Insurance Card is standardised in the EU. The information content of the card is the same in all languages. Each country issues the card in their official language. The card can be a separate card or it can be combined with the country´s national health insurance card.

The card issued by Kela is

  • a blue, two-sided plastic card
  • in Finnish or Swedish
  • valid for two years at a time.

Eurooppalainen-sairaanhoitokortti-etupuoli-300x191Eurooppalainen-sairaanhoitokortti-kääntöpuoli-300x191

Kela will automatically send a new card to your home address about a month before the old card expires.

The European Health Insurance Card is known as the

  • eurooppalainen sairaanhoitokortti in Finnish
  • Europeiskt sjukvårdskortet in the Finnish variety of Swedish
  • Europeiska sjukförsäkringskortet in Swedish elsewhere
  • Carte européenne d’assurance maladie in French
  • Europäische Krankenversicherungskarte in German
  • Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea in Spanish.

The card is commonly know by its acronym, the EHIC card.

If you do not have a card

If you do not get the card in time before leaving on your journey, or you are already abroad and do not have a European Health Insurance Card, you can obtain a certificate from Kela´s Centre for International Affairs to temporarily replace the card

If you are hospitalised in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland, Kela ´s Centre for International Affairs can send a certificate directly to the hospital. The hospital treating you can also request Kela on your behalf to send certificate that replaces the European Health Insurance Card.

The temporary certificate will enable you to receive treatment in the same way as with the European Health Insurance Card. The certificate is free of charge and valid abroad for the duration of your stay, however, for not more than a year.

The certificate is an A4, EU standardised paper form. In general, Kela sends the certificate in Finnish.

The European Health Insurance Card is used only within the public healthcare sector

The European Health Insurance Card can be used within the local public healthcare sector in the destination country. You can use the card when the treatment provider belongs to the destination country´s public healthcare system or it has concluded a contract with the destination country´s statutory health insurance system. When you use the card, you pay the same client charge for treatment as local clients in equivalent circumstances. Kela will invoice costs arising from treatment retrospectively, i.e. you will not have to pay them yourself. Kela will reimburse the costs to the country that provided treatment.

Show the treatment provider your European Health Insurance Card before you obtain treatment.

If the treatment provider does not accept the European Health Insurance Card, you can ascertain the situation regarding the card at the health insurance institution in the destination country. The treatment provider in the destination country may be a private healthcare service facility where the European Health Insurance Card is not in use.

If you don’t receive medically necessary medical care with your European Health Insurance Card at the public health care in the destination country you can sort the problem out through European Commissions service SOLVIT. SOLVIT reminds the authorities in question what your EU rights are and works with them to solve your problem.

Read more about SOLVIT on page .

If a treatment provider, health insurance institution or other authority in the destination country asks you for another certificate in order to receive treatment, contact Kela´s Centre for International Affairs.

If you have to pay for the costs incurred by your treatment yourself, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively from the health insurance institution of the destination country on the basis of a European Health Insurance Card. You can apply for reimbursements retrospectively from Kela, too, on form SV 128.