Health services for students in higher education: Kela takes on new responsibilities

Starting 1 January 2021, Kela will have administrative responsibility for providing health services to higher education students, including the collection of a healthcare fee. The services will continue to be delivered by the Finnish Student Health Service (YTHS). 

Parliament has passed an act concerning health services for higher education students. The act seeks to ensure that students of academic universities and universities of applied sciences have equal access to quality health services.

The services delivered by YTHS will on 1 January 2021 become available to all students in higher education. At the same time, a healthcare fee will be collected from all higher education students. All students who are registered as attending are required to pay a fee to Kela for each academic term. The fee covers the full range of student health services. Separate user charges will not be collected.

The amount of the fee is specified in a Government decree, which will be issued annually. Kela will begin to collect the healthcare fee in the spring term of 2021. Until that time, higher education students will continue to pay a YTHS fee to their student union.

Student health services are funded with a state transfer payment and with healthcare fees

Kela compensates the YTHS for the cost of providing student health services. At present, the compensation is paid out of National Health Insurance funds. Starting in 2021, the compensation will be funded with a state transfer (77%) and with healthcare fees collected from students (23%).

Kela oversees the operations, services and budget of the YTHS through inspections, evaluations and ongoing monitoring.