Seeking treatment abroad without a prior authorisation

You are free to travel to another EU country to use health care services. You do not need to notify Kela or other authorities in advance. Kela will reimburse retrospectively the costs of treatment given in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland in the same manner as for private health care given in Finland.


What do I need to do when I travel abroad for treatment without a prior authorisation?

  1. Find out the possibilities of obtaining the treatment you need in another country yourself and find a suitable place of treatment. Make sure that the location of treatment operates with appropriate licences in the country in question.
  2. Agree on the arrangements involved in obtaining treatment with the care provider.
  3. Submit the requisite medical records to the treatment provider and, if necessary, have them translated into a language that the care provider understands. You can check your information entered in Patient Data Repository (KanTa) at My Kanta Pages.
  4. Obtain a doctor’s referral, if required by the location of treatment. A referral written in English in Finland is usually acceptable in EU and EEA countries and in Switzerland but the treatment provider may also require a referral from a local doctor.
  5. Pay the costs arising from treatment as well as any other costs, such as travel, medicines, accommodation, interpretation and expenses of a person accompanying the patient yourself.
  6. You must apply for the Kela reimbursement within six months of the payment of the charge.
  7. Remember that treatment is provided in accordance with the national legislation and health care system of each respective country.
  8. The statutory patient insurance of the country providing treatment is applied in the case of treatment injuries. You cannot receive compensation from Finland for a treatment injury incurred abroad. You must apply for compensation from the country that provided the treatment. However, possible medically necessary follow-up treatment can be provided in Finland.

Seeking treatment in EU and EEA countries and Switzerland

If you live in an EU or EEA country, you can seek treatment in another EU or EEA country. Seeking treatment means that you travel to the country in question for the express purpose of receiving treatment. EU legislation requires that you receive treatment in the same way as local residents in the destination country. If there is a waiting time, you will have to wait as local residents. The prerequisite is that an EU country is responsible for the costs of your medical care.

Treatment is provided under national legislation. All the patients in treatment must to be treated equally with respect to arranging care.

You must usually pay the costs of treatment yourself if you seek treatment abroad

Kela reimburses retrospectively the costs of treatment provided in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland on the same basis as private health care services in Finland if you have specifically travelled to the destination country to obtain treatment. The prerequisite that the treatment in question is included in the range of services available in the Finnish health care system. Treatment must be similar to treatment provided within the Finnish public health care system, or it must be eligible for reimbursement under the Health Insurance Act from Kela. You can see the procedure-specific reimbursements in Kela’s reimbursement rates.

You can also apply for Kela’s prior authorisation for seeking treatment. If the authorisation is granted, you will pay the local client fee for the treatment.