The following factors affect the invoicing for the use of healthcare services abroad:
- The country that you are receiving treatment in
- Whether you have suddenly fallen ill during your stay in the country or travelled to the country for the purpose of using healthcare services
- Whether you are receiving treatment in the local public or private healthcare.
A foreign treatment provider may require making an advance payment or paying a deposit before providing treatment.
Finnish authorities cannot provide detailed information concerning the prices of healthcare services abroad. Whenever possible, please contact the treatment provider or the authorities in the target country in advance in order to determine the costs that will be invoiced.
If you have paid the costs of treatment abroad, apply for reimbursement from Kela on form SV 128 within six months of the payment.
In the EU countries, prices must be equal for everyone
Healthcare service providers within the EU are free to set their own prices. The prerequisite is, however, that the prices must not discriminate between the permanent residents of the country and patients seeking treatment who arrive from other EU countries.
In the EU countries, healthcare service providers are required to either
- apply the same healthcare tariffs to patients arriving from other EU countries and local patients
- charge a price that has been calculated on an unbiased and non-discriminatory basis if a suitable reference price for local patients does not exist.
The treatment provider is obliged to provide you with a cost estimate of the planned treatment. The treatment provider must also issue a clear invoice and payment receipt for your treatment that can be used as a basis for reimbursement.
Fees charged for treatment
The possible costs charged for treatment may include the following, for example:
- Customer fees, which may be equal for all patients
- A deductible, which is usually a portion of the total costs of treatment
- Emergency care fees
- Medication provided at the hospital, which may be priced by tablet or by medicine, for example
- Outpatient care visit fees
- Inpatient care or hospital care fees
- Laboratory fees
- Separate fees for doctor’s certificates and statements as well as translations thereof
- Medical transport fees
- Treatment supplies
- Other supplies and services used during the treatment, such as linen, hospital clothes, cleaning, meals, television, telephone and the use of a private room.
In many EU countries, the customer fee for the patient in public healthcare is lower than the one collected in Finland. However, the customer fee may also be higher. It is also possible that the treatment provider charges the full cost of the treatment as a customer fee.
Whenever possible, please try to determine the costs of treatment in advance.
In foreign countries, treatment providers will typically charge the customer for the treatment costs during treatment. In some countries, you need to pay the doctor or hospital during treatment or immediately afterwards.
Generally, foreign treatment providers expect a cash or credit card payment at the place of treatment. There have been cases where a customer has not been allowed to leave the place of treatment before the payment is made.
Some treatment providers will issue an invoice that needs to be paid later. However, this practice is rare. Please note that:
- Paying the invoice from Finland will require sufficient information concerning the recipient, such as their IBAN account number
- In addition to the bank service fees, you may be responsible for transfer costs.
For bank transfers to the outside of the EU or for sending banker’s cheques, you should also request the address details of the receiving bank.
If possible, please contact the treatment provider in advance in order to determine how they will invoice the provided treatment and how the payment can be made.
Ensure that you receive a receipt for all your payments.