One of the special characteristics of our public service system has been the arrangement of health care services according to the place of residence. The services are local and provided to the residents of the municipality in question. Everyone covered by the Finnish health insurance is entitled to receive health care reimbursements.
Foreigners without a municipality of residence and Finns living abroad permanently may also be entitled to public health care services and health care reimbursements in Finland. This is ensured by national legislation, the legislation of the European Union and international agreements binding Finland. For example, a pensioner living in Spain, whose health care costs are the responsibility of Finland, is entitled to receive health care by paying the client fee of the municipality in question.
– A person without a municipality of residence must always be prepared to prove his or her entitlement to treatment, for example with the European Health Insurance Card. Therefore, it is important for health care professionals to know in what different ways a client can prove his or her entitlement to treatment, says Planner Sanna Kuorikoski of Kela’s Centre for International Affairs.
The European Health Insurance Card is the most common way of proving entitlement to treatment and receiving treatment at a health centre or hospital by paying the client fee. If a client comes from another Nordic country, the entitlement to treatment can also be proven with an identity card or passport. A client coming from Great Britain or Northern Ireland can also prove his or her entitlement to the use of health care services with a passport. In the case of those coming from Australia, only a passport is accepted as entitlement to treatment.
– If a client carries the European Health Insurance Card for pensioners granted by Kela, he or she is entitled to basic health care and specialised medical care services by paying the same price as the residents of the municipality in question. Kela can also grant a certificate to a person without a municipality of residence regarding his or her entitlement to treatment benefits in Finland, says Kuorikoski.
The certificate regarding entitlement to treatment benefits and the European Health Insurance Card must be valid at the time treatment is provided. If a client does not have a municipality of residence in Finland and he or she cannot be granted a certificate providing entitlement to treatment, he or she is only entitled to emergency treatment within the public health care system. In this case, the client him- or herself pays the costs of providing the service.
Kela’s Centre for International Affairs serves all people moving to Finland and abroad and clients finding themselves in other international circumstances.