Medical care abroad

Notify Kela if you are moving abroad. Also check if you are entitled to medical treatment in your new country of residence.

Persons who stay temporarily in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland should obtain a European Health Insurance Card from Kela. You should also arrange travel insurance.

Claim reimbursement for costs for medical treatment incurred abroad on form SV 128e.

Permanently resident abroad

Residence abroad is considered permanent if it lasts for more than 6 months. Your new country of residence determines what kind of medical care you are entitled to. You should well before the move abroad check how you can qualify for coverage by the healthcare system in your new country of residence.

 If you live abroad permanently, you are not, as a rule, covered under the Finnish social security system. You are not entitled to reimbursements for the costs for private healthcare services incurred in Finland or abroad, nor for medicine purchases or travel costs in connection with medical care.

Some groups of people may receive treatment or reimbursements in Finland even if they live abroad on a permanent basis. Such persons include, for instance, posted workers and students who study for a degree abroad. Check with Kela whether you are included in such a group.

Temporary stay abroad

Persons who stay abroad temporarily in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland are entitled to medically necessary treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card. Only a local out-of-pocket fee is charged for the treatment. You can claim reimbursement from Kela afterwards on form SV 128e, if you for some reason have to pay the actual costs for the treatment yourself.

Order the European Health Insurance Card well in advance of your travel. If you cannot get the card in time for your travel and you need it while abroad, you can ask Kela for a certificate that temporarily replaces the card. The certificate can, for instance, be sent by telefax from Kela to a hospital abroad.

The European Health Insurance Card can only be used in EU/EEA countries and in Switzerland. The card cannot be used, for instance, for ambulance flights or other transportation to Finland.

Travel insurance is especially important when travelling to some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland. If you fall ill or are injured in an accident, the costs for a return to Finland may be considerable. It can also be difficult to arrange transportation (e.g. ambulance flight) without extensive insurance coverage.

If you pay the real costs for the treatment yourself in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland claim reimbursement from Kela. Reimbursement is paid to the same amount as if you had received comparable treatment in the Finnish private healthcare system. The reimbursement often only covers a small part of the costs.

Employed abroad

Persons employed by a foreign employer in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland are covered for health insurance in the country of employment. The country of employment is liable to arrange medical care and pay the costs. You are not entitled to the Kela card or a European Health Insurance Card granted by Finland. Your country of residence determines what kind of medical care you are entitled to.

Health insurance and the right to medical care for persons who work in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland depends on the duration of the employment. Persons who stay abroad temporarily, i.e. for less than 6 months, remain covered for health insurance in Finland. Your entitlement to medical care also remains unchanged. If you do not receive reimbursement for medical care expenses from your country of employment, you can claim reimbursement for the costs afterwards from Kela. The reimbursement often only covers a small part of the costs.

When you visit Finland you are entitled to treatment in the public healthcare system only if you have a place of domicile in Finland. If you do not have a place of domicile here, you are only entitled to emergency treatment, and you can be charged for the costs for the treatment in full.

Employees who work in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, but live in Finland, are entitled to all necessary medical treatment both in Finland and in their country of residence.

Posted workers and diplomats

Posted workers and diplomats who stay temporarily in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland and who have a European Health Insurance Card granted by Finland are entitled to medically necessary care in their country of employment.

Persons who work in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland for more than 6 months must register a certificate S1 (Certificate of entitlement to medical care) issued by Kela with the health insurance institution in the country of employment. After the registration you are entitled to all necessary treatment in your country of residence for a local out-of-pocket fee. Kela determines your right to medical treatment and grants you a certificate S1 after being notified by Finnish Centre for Pensions that a certificate A1 (Statement on applicable legislation) has been granted.

Since you are covered for health insurance in Finland while working abroad, you can receive reimbursement for medical care expenses incurred in Finland and abroad. You can also claim reimbursement for medicine purchases and travel costs in connection with medical treatment.

Seamen and cross-border workers

Cross-border workers who work in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, but who live in Finland, are covered by health insurance in the country of employment. The same applies to seamen who work on board a vessel flying the flag of the country in question. You are entitled to all necessary medical care in your country of employment and in Finland. You will be charged a out-of-pocket fee for the care.

In Finland you are also entitled to reimbursement for the costs for private healthcare services and medicine purchases and travel costs in connection with medical treatment. As you are not covered for health insurance in Finland, you do not have the right to use the Kela card. The European Health Insurance Card is granted by your country of employment.

Students and researchers

Students and researchers who move to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland are entitled to medically necessary treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card.

Persons who move to some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland pay the costs for medical treatment in the new country of residence themselves. You can claim reimbursement for the costs afterwards from Kela. Reimbursement is paid, under the Health Insurance Act, to the same amount as if you had received comparable treatment in the Finnish private healthcare system. The reimbursement often covers only a small part of the costs.

Family members

Family members who move to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland have a similar right to medical treatment as the family member who works abroad or receives a pension.

Pensioners

If you move to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland on a permanent basis while receiving a pension from Finland, Kela will check if you have the right to medical care in your country of residence on the terms that Finland pays the costs. If Kela grants you a certificate S1, you should submit the certificate to the health insurance institution in your new country of residence for registration. Your country of residence will charge Kela for you medical care costs. Kela can grant you a European Health Insurance Card for pensioners. The backside of the card is lime green.

The European Health Insurance Card for pensioners entitles you to all necessary medical care in the Finnish public healthcare system for a local user fee. You will receive reimbursement for the costs for private healthcare services. You also receive reimbursement for the costs for medicine purchases and travel costs in connection with medical care

Pensioners who stay temporarily in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland are entitled to medically necessary treatment if they have a European Health Insurance Card granted by Kela.

Persons who stay in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland pay the costs for medical care in the new country of residence themselves. Persons who are covered under the Finnish National Health Insurance system while staying abroad can claim reimbursement for the costs afterwards from Kela.

Further information