Moving abroad in retirement

If you move abroad as a pensioner for less than six months, this is regarded as temporary residence and you will retain your coverage under the Finnish social security system. If you move abroad to live permanently, your coverage under the Finnish social security system usually ends on the date of your move. Finland can, however, be responsible for the costs of your medical care if you move permanently to another EU or EEA country or to Switzerland and you receive a pension from Finland.


Notify Kela of your move abroad if you are paid any benefits by Kela or have a European Health Insurance Card. Submit a notification of move to the Local Register Office too. The Local Register Office issues a decision on your municipality of residence.

1. Moving abroad for a period of less than six months

If you reside abroad as a pensioner for a period of less than six months, you will usually retain coverage under the Finnish social security system and your permanent address will remain in Finland, in which case you have a municipality of residence in Finland. If you reside

  • in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland, you will receive medically necessary treatment in the public health care system by presenting a European Health Insurance Card. You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as local residents.
  • In countries other than an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, you are generally responsible for the costs incurred from treatment yourself. Private insurance, too, can reimburse costs directly.
  • In Finland, you will continue to receive treatment as before, since you can use the public health care services and Kela will reimburse the use of private health care services.

2. Moving to an EU or EEA country or to Switzerland permanently

If you permanently move as a pensioner to live abroad, in general coverage under the Finnish health insurance system ends on the date of moving, and you will no longer be entitled to use your Kela card. Under EU legislation, the country from which a pensioner’s pension is paid is generally responsible for the costs of the pensioner’s medical care. Kela will also determine the country responsible for your medical care costs.

If, after moving from Finland, Finland is responsible for the costs of your medical care, you will receive treatment in the country of residence in the same manner as local residents. In order to use the healthcare services, you must register with the health insurance institution or other authority responsible for health services in the country of residence. Request the registration form from Kela. After registering, an authority of your new country of residence usually issues you a document enabling you to prove your entitlement to treatment in the country in question. You will receive treatment in accordance with the legislation and system of that country.

If, after moving from Finland, Finland is not responsible for the costs of your medical care, find out your rights to use the health care services of your new country of residence with the health insurance institution of your new country of residence or the institution paying your pension.

Health services in Finland after your move

If Finland is responsible for your medical care costs after your move, Kela will provide you with a European Health Insurance Card for pensioners, the back of which is lime green.

  • With the card, you will receive medically necessary treatment during temporary residence in other EU or EEA countries or in Switzerland.
  • If you have to pay for the costs of medically necessary treatment yourself (i.e. you do not have your card with you or the treatment provider does not accept it), you can apply for reimbursements from Kela.
  • With the card you can receive treatment in the Finnish public health care system in the same manner as people living in Finland. By showing the card you will be reimbursed directly in private health care, pharmacies and in respect of ambulance transportation.

If Finland is no longer responsible for the costs of your medical care, you can apply for the European Health Insurance Card from the health insurance institution of your new country. With the card you can receive medically necessary treatment in Finland when you are staying temporarily in Finland, for example on holiday.

Health services in other EU and EEA countries or in Switzerland after you move

If you live in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland and Finland is responsible for your medical care costs, you can also travel outside your country of residence to receive treatment in another EU country. You usually pay the costs of treatment yourself and you can apply for reimbursements retrospectively either from Kela or the health insurance institution of your country of residence.

Another alternative is to apply for a prior authorisation for the treatment. With the prior authorisation, you will pay the local client fee for the treatment. Apply for a prior authorisation from the health insurance institution of your country of residence.

3. Moving permanently to a country other than an EU or EEA country or to Switzerland

If you move to live in a country other than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you are not usually covered under the health insurance system in Finland after moving. In that case, you may not use the Kela card.

Your entitlement to treatment in your new country of residence is based on the legislation of that country. Find out before moving what kind of health care services are available for you and whether you need, for example, private insurance.

If you move as a pensioner to live permanently in Chile, you will receive medical care on the same terms as the local pensioners. The healthcare contribution of pensioners resident in Chile is also affected by pensions from abroad. For the purpose of determining the health care contribution, Kela will provide a pensioner on request with a certificate concerning the pensions paid from Finland.

Health services in Finland after you move

The Local Register Office will consider whether you have a municipality of residence after the move.

  • If, after moving, you have a municipality of residence in Finland registered by a Local Register Office, you can use all the services of the public health care system at the client fee set for a municipal resident.
  • If, after moving, you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland, you can usually receive only urgent medical care within the public health care system. You will be responsible for treatment costs yourself.