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The phone numbers for booking a Kela taxi will change
Those who use Kela-reimbursed taxis will experience improvements in their freedom of choice in 2022, as there will now in each region operate two service providers with whom Kela has signed an agreement. At the same time, the phone numbers for booking a Kela taxi will change.
As of 1 January 2022, each region will have two service providers from which customers can book taxi rides reimbursed by Kela. Customers can choose from which one to book their taxi. The new dispatch numbers will be available from 20 December 2021. Starting then, customers can call the numbers to book rides for 1 January 2022 or later. Customers who intend to travel by taxi during 2021 should still use the current numbers.
In order for Kela to reimburse a taxi ride, the customer must order the taxi from one of the service providers in their local region. The customer will then only have to pay the copayment, which is EUR 25 for a one-way trip.
From 20 December until 30 December, the new numbers can be reached Monday to Friday between 8 am and 4 pm. Starting 8 am on 31 December, the new numbers can be reached around the clock.
The service providers are responsible for ensuring that all the Kela-reimbursed taxi rides are handled in accordance with the bookings and that the vehicle used to transport the customer is suitable for the purpose. It is a comprehensive service that includes booking, ride sharing and dispatch services, the organisation and supervision of the transport services, and payment processing and reporting. When processing payments, Kela’s electronic direct reimbursement procedure is used.
The numbers for the text message service for hearing and speech-impaired people will change
Customers with a hearing or speech impairment can book a taxi by sending a text message. However, the customer's personal information must be provided over the phone before the first ride. Even if a customer has used the text message service before, this information must still be provided over the phone to the new service providers. During the call, the customer will receive additional instructions on how to book a taxi by text message.
In addition to the improved freedom of choice, we will also be implementing other changes that have been requested by our customers. In the future, customers who so wish can receive a text message when a taxi has accepted their booking. The text message also includes the driver’s phone number. Another important change is that information concerning a customer’s continuing right to use a taxi, or that the annual limit on out-of-pocket costs (EUR 300 in 2022) has been reached, will be transmitted directly from Kela to the service provider.
An electronic lookup service, Takso, is used to transmit the information. With the customer’s permission, this service can also be used to transmit other information relevant to the taxi ride. This includes, for example, whether the customer is going to bring assistive devices on the ride. With the customer’s consent, information can also be transmitted regarding whether the customer in connection with social assistance has been granted a voucher for their own share of the cost of the taxi ride (the copayment). If a customer does not consent to the use of an electronic voucher, Kela can issue the voucher on paper.
The right to a familiar taxi driver will remain
If Kela has previously granted a customer the right to a familiar taxi driver, this right will remain even if the service provider changes. It is advisable for the customer to ask their current familiar taxi driver if the driver will continue operating under one of the new service providers. If the customer’s current familiar taxi driver will not continue to transport the customer as of 1 January 2022, the customer must contact the service provider to arrange for a new familiar taxi driver. Kela recommends that customers request a new familiar taxi driver after they have had some time (for example the beginning of the year) to compare the service providers in their region.
Kela reimbursed 2.7 million taxi rides in 2020
Kela provides reimbursement for part of the cost of trips made to health care providers in connection with treatment, pregnancy or childbirth. Travel costs are usually reimbursed based on the lowest-cost available means of transport. If the health of the customer or traffic conditions necessitate the use of a special means of transport, the reimbursement can be paid on the basis of the resulting costs.
In 2020, Kela reimbursed approximately 2.7 million taxi rides to approximately 367 610 people. A total of EUR 169 million was paid in reimbursements for taxi rides.
Check the new phone numbers for booking a taxi: www.kela.fi/web/en/changes-to-reimbursements-for-taxi-travels-1-january-2022-