The Government is proposing amendments to the Act on Cross-Border Health Care, also referred to as the Border Act, and the Health Insurance Act. The basic principle is that the costs of health services received abroad would be reimbursed only when the service is included in the health services offered in Finland. This would mean health services, the costs of which, if given in Finland, would be the responsibility of the county in question. The Government submitted its proposal to Parliament on 1 June. It is envisaged that the Act will enter into force at the beginning of 2019.
People seeking care in another EU country would get health services on the same reimbursement grounds as in Finland. Moreover, no prior authorisation or notification would be necessary for direct-choice services referred to in the Freedom of Choice Act. Reimbursement for other health services would be subject to a prior care needs assessment or referral.
People seeking care in another EU country would still be obliged to pay their care and travel costs first themselves. Costs would be reimbursed retroactively up to an amount corresponding with the costs of organising the same care in the health services of the county where the person is a resident. People would still pay the client fee charged from patients receiving the same or corresponding care in Finland.
Counties and liability for health service costs abroad
In future, the county responsible for organising services would be liable for the costs of health services delivered to its residents in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland. The proposed amendments would secure a higher reimbursement when individuals purposely seek health services in another EU country.
Health service providers would be obliged to accept as clients people from other EU or EEA countries or Switzerland on the same grounds as Finnish residents without discrimination. The users of health services could be charged a normal client fee as well as a fee based on the product price.
Counties could receive reimbursement from the state for costs incurred from certain health services provided to people without a municipality of residence in Finland. These would include involuntary treatment following a mental examination, necessary care for pregnant women, certain examinations relating to child protection services as well as isolation, care and medication under the Communicable Diseases Act.
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health press release of 1 June 2017: Costs of seeking care in another EU country will be smaller