Patient’s rights to treatment

The right to use the services of Finnish public healthcare is primarily based on residence in the country. A person arriving from abroad may be entitled to treatment on the basis of EU legislation or international conventions even if they are not permanently residing in Finland. Everyone is entitled to emergency treatment within public healthcare regardless of citizenship or country of origin.


Everyone is entitled to emergency treatment

Everyone is entitled to receive emergency treatment in Finland, regardless of their citizenship, country of origin or basis of their residence in Finland. Emergency treatment refers to treatment provided due to a sudden illness or accident.

A person arriving from abroad is usually responsible for the costs of emergency treatment if they come from outside of the EU and have no place of residence in Finland. Their insurance company may also cover the costs.

A permanent resident of Finland’s right to treatment

A permanent resident of Finland is always entitled to all public healthcare services for the customer fee collected from the residents of the municipality. Permanent residence means that the person has a place of domicile in Finland.

The Register Office records the place of domicile information in the population register system. Public healthcare units, such as health centres, check the place of domicile information in the population register system. The place of domicile information is verified in order to allow the treatment provider to invoice the costs to the correct municipality.

A person with a place of domicile in Finland pays a customer fee for the public healthcare services. The maximum amounts of customer fees are legally stipulated. Municipalities and joint municipal authorities may also collect lower fees or provide the service for free.

The right to treatment of a person coming from an EU or EEA country or from Switzerland

A person temporarily residing in Finland is entitled to medically necessary treatment if their medical care costs are covered by another EU or EEA country or Switzerland. Temporary residence usually refers to a stay of less than year in Finland for the purpose of, for example, a holiday or studies. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that the person requires, at a minimum, in order to safely resume their residence in Finland according to the original plan. A healthcare professional, usually a doctor, decides on the type of treatment that the person requires. The assessment for the need for treatment will take into account the duration of the person’s stay in Finland.

A person arriving from another EU or EEA country or from Switzerland will receive medically necessary care in the same manner and for the same customer fee as the residents of Finland when they present their European Health Insurance Card within public healthcare.

EU legislation guarantees the right to receive treatment within public healthcare also to persons working in Finland but living abroad.

Conventions on social security guarantee specific groups the right to receive treatment within public healthcare

Finland has signed bilateral conventions on social security with several different countries. Each convention has separately defined the sectors of social security and the groups of people that the convention applies to. The conventions on social security usually apply to pensions. The conventions signed with Australia, Quebec in Canada and Israel also contain provisions concerning medical care. Each convention has separately defined the groups of people that are entitled to treatment within public healthcare, and whether the entitlement only concerns immediate care or all public healthcare services.