Seeking treatment abroad

You are free to seek and use healthcare services abroad. You can seek services of both primary healthcare and specialised medical care and you can also receive treatment for a chronic condition. You do not need to notify Kela or other authorities in advance of the matter. Kela reimburses the costs of treatment given in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland afterwards.


Patients are accepted for treatment and treatment is arranged in accordance with the legislation of the country in question. Clarify thoroughly in advance the procedures and payments involved in practice relating to the treatment.

Treatment in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland

If live in an EU country, you can seek treatment in another EU country. EU legislation requires that you receive treatment in the same way as local residents in the destination country. The prerequisite is that an EU country is responsible for the costs of your medical care.

You can use the local public healthcare services of another EU country in the same way as the residents of the country in question. Providers of statutory healthcare services operating in an EU country are required to accept clients from another EU country seeking treatment.

However, an EU country is not obliged to offer the following health services to clients seeking treatment from abroad:

  • long-term care and other services aimed at providing support to an individual in ordinary daily activities
  • Organ transplants
  • vaccines and vaccination programmes

Providers of healthcare services in EEA countries and Switzerland decide independently on whether to accept clients from abroad for treatment.

Treatment in the EU and EEA countries and in Switzerland is provided in accordance with the national legislation. All the patients in treatment must to be treated equally with respect to arranging care.

Costs of treatment

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 healthcare services in Finland if you have specifically travelled to the destination country to obtain treatment. The prerequisite is that the treatment in question is included in the range of services available in the Finnish healthcare system.

If you do not want to pay the costs of treatment provided in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland yourself, you can apply to Kela for prior authorisation to seek treatment.

Seeking treatment in non- EU countries

You can also seek treatment in countries other than EU member states, but access to treatment depends on the legislation of the destination country. In other countries the treatment provider is not obliged to accept you for treatment if you have travelled to the country for the purpose of accessing healthcare services.

Kela does not reimburse costs incurred from treatment if you have sought treatment in countries other than EU or EEA member states or in Switzerland.

Checklist for seeking access to healthcare services abroad

  • Find out the possibilities of obtaining the treatment you need in another country yourself and find a suitable place of treatment.
  • Agree on the arrangements involved in obtaining treatment with the care provider.
  • 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.fi.
  • You must procure a doctor´s referral for treatment if the place of care requires this.
  • 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.
  • Apply to Kela for reimbursement within six months of paying the costs on form SV 128.
  • Remember that treatment is provided in accordance with the national legislation and healthcare system of each respective country.
  • 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 but compensation must be applied in that country where care was given.