Costs and reimbursements of treatment abroad

A client fee is usually charged for the use of health care services abroad. The pricing of the health care services and the fees collected from the clients are defined in very different ways in different countries. The situation is also affected by whether the country applies EU legislation.


The starting point for treatment abroad is that the client is responsible for the health care costs. EU legislation and international conventions on social security signed by Finland may alter this situation and relieve you from your liability to pay all of the costs of treatment. You will pay the same client fee as the local residents in the following cases:

  • You are receiving medically necessary care in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland with the European Health Insurance Card or a certificate that replaces the card.
  • You have received prior authorisation from Kela for treatment provided in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland.
  • Public health care has arranged your treatment abroad as an outsourced service and it has been agreed that you will pay the local or Finnish health care client fee.
  • You are living in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland and you have registered with the health insurance institute in your country of residence by using a certificate of entitlement to treatment from Kela.
  • You become ill during your temporary residence in Australia and receive treatment within the local public health care system.
  • You are in Quebec, Canada as a temporary worker, student or researcher and have a certificate issued by Kela or the Finnish Centre for Pensions (ETK), which has been registered.

In general, you will usually be responsible for the costs of treatment if you are being treated outside of the EU or EEA countries or Switzerland.

The total costs of treatment may be a combination of several different factors

Treatment costs abroad usually include all the costs related to the treatment, such as the labour and other human resource services of the care personnel as well as the costs for facilities, meals, housekeeping, hospital clothing and linen. Separate fees may also be charged for all treatment supplies, procedures and medicines. Interpretation costs and translation costs for patient documents are also usually included in the invoicing.

Claiming reimbursement

Claim reimbursement of costs of treatment given abroad from Kela if you have paid all of the costs yourself.

Travel insurance or another type of private insurance may cover the costs of treatment abroad. The insurance company may reimburse the costs directly to the treatment provider or retrospectively based on a payment receipt. Please contact your insurance company in order to determine which costs are covered.