Seeking treatment in Finland with a prior authorisation

You can apply for a prior authorisation from the health insurance institution of your country of residence for treatment to be provided in Finland, if you live in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland. With a prior authorisation you will receive treatment at the same price as local residents. The prior authorisation is based on Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems.


The prior authorisation is a promissory note, based on which the party granting the permission reimburses the state of Finland for the costs related to the treatment. The patient pays the same client fee for the treatment as local residents. You can apply for a prior authorisation if you live in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland. You must always seek prior authorisation from the authorities in your country of residence, even when the costs of your treatment are not covered by your country of residence.

Prior authorisation must be granted if the treatment cannot be arranged in the country of residence

According to EU legislation, a patient shall be granted a prior authorisation for treatment provided in another member state if

  • the treatment required by the patient is included in the selection of health care services in their country of residence

and

  • the treatment cannot be arranged in the patient’s country of residence within a time that can be medically justified, while taking into account the patient’s current state of health and the probable progress of the illness.

Prior authorisation can also be granted at the authority’s discretion for reasons of language or culture even if the prerequisites are not otherwise met.

What do I need to do when I come to Finland for treatment with a prior authorisation?

  1. Seek a care provider that suits you and find out whether the prior authorisation is accepted. Agree on the arrangements involved in obtaining treatment with the care provider.
  2. Apply for a prior authorisation from the authorities of your country of residence.
  3. Submit the requisite medical records to the treatment provider and, if necessary, have them translated into a language that the care provider understands. Finnish and Swedish are the official languages in Finland.
  4. Take with you the prior authorisation form provided to you.
  5. You will pay the local client fee for the treatment. Request you medical records to take home with you.
  6. Remember that treatment is provided in accordance with the Finnish national legislation and health care system. Treatment practises may differ from those of your own country. Treatment providers usually speak Finnish, Swedish or English.
  7. The statutory patient insurance of Finland will be applied to patient injuries.

The prior authorisation can only be used in Finland’s public health care. If you have received treatment under the prior authorisation in the private health care sector of Finland and you have had to pay all treatment costs yourself, you can apply for the reimbursement of treatment costs from Kela. Kela will reimburse costs on the basis of the Health Insurance Act and on similar grounds as for people covered by health insurance in Finland. Kela reimbursements for treatment are approximately 10–30% of the care costs.