Medical treatment abroad

When you travel or stay temporarily in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you can obtain medically necessary treatment for a corresponding user fee that the local residents pay if you have a European Health Insurance Card. Medically necessary treatment means treatment that cannot wait until you return home. If you have a European Health Insurance Card, you can obtain treatment also in connection with a chronic illness, pregnancy or childbirth. Order the card well in advance of your travel by filling out a form or by phone.

In the Nordic countries you do not necessarily need a European Health Insurance Card, because you can obtain treatment also by presenting a valid passport or other official ID. You can also obtain treatment in Great Britain and Northern Ireland by presenting your passport.

Outside Europe, you can obtain treatment for a corresponding user fee as that paid by local residents only in the Australian public healthcare system by presenting the Kela card and your passport. In other countries, you must pay all the costs for the treatment yourself.

Reimbursements for treatment abroad

If you experienced a sudden illness while in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you can choose reimbursement either under the Finnish legislation or that of the country in which you received the treatment. In neither situation can Kela give advance information on the amount of the reimbursement.

Reimbursement under the Finnish legislation means that the costs are reimbursed as if you had received treatment in a similar situation in the Finnish public healthcare system. Kela requests the necessary information from the public healthcare provider of your place of domicile.

If you choose to be reimbursed according to the legislation of the country in which the treatment was provided, Kela will ask the relevant country for the amount of the reimbursement.

If you become ill in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you receive the same reimbursement that you would have received if you had received treatment in the private healthcare system in Finland. The reimbursement often covers only a small part of the costs.

You can also receive reimbursement for travel expenses. Travel expenses in the EU or EEA countries or Switzerland are reimbursed according to travel to the nearest local place of treatment. If you become ill in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland, you cannot receive reimbursement for travel expenses. When you return to Finland, the travel expenses are reimbursed only for the travel expenses incurred in Finland, e.g. going from the airport to the hospital. Please note that for instance the flight from the other country to Finland is thus not reimbursed.

Reimbursement is also paid for medicines purchased abroad.

Claiming reimbursement for medical care expenses

If you have yourself paid the costs for medical treatment abroad, you can claim reimbursement from Kela on form Medical care expenses incurred abroad SV 128e. You must claim reimbursement within 6 months from the date of paying the costs. You can receive reimbursement for treatment provided in any country.

Please enclose copies of any receipts, prescriptions and statements on the treatment provided. When necessary, Kela will ask you to obtain translations of the statements on the treatment provided.

Information on healthcare services abroad

The website Choosehealthcare.fi provides information about the healthcare systems in different countries. The information is intended as help for you if you need treatment for an acute illness while travelling abroad. The information is also useful if you wish to seek treatment abroad.

Further information