Basic social assistance and medical expenses

Kela can grant basic social assistance towards medical expenses.

Minor medical expenses are included in the basic amount of social assistance and are not accepted as additional expenses. This includes medicines that are available without a prescription, emollient creams and lotions, vitamins, and adhesive bandages.

Besides the expenses covered by the basic amount of social assistance, certain other medical expenses as well can be accepted as basic expenses:

Health care user fees

Kela can recognise, for basic social assistance purposes, also user fees for public health services obtained in Finland.

Any user fees you pay can be recognised as expenses. If the municipal authorities have arranged for a treatment to be paid for with a service voucher, the cost of the treatment can be taken into account as an expense up to the amount that the treatment would have cost if produced by the municipal authorities, that is, up to the amount of the client fee charged by a public healthcare provider.

Some of the user fees for public healthcare that social assistance can cover include:

  • fees related to the use of physician or dental services (e.g. health centre fees)
  • costs of home calls made on a temporary basis by a home health provider or other health care professional
  • outpatient clinic charges 
  • charges for hospital services
  • costs for doctor's statements related to the care provided
  • physiotherapy charges in public health care

User fees covered by social assistance do not count towards your annual out-of-pocket maximum for public healthcare expenses.

Other costs that may be recognised are copayments for psychotherapy for which Kela provides reimbursement under the rehabilitation scheme, user fees charged by the Finnish Student Health Service, and the health care portion of the compulsory student union membership fee.

Expenses for private health care are recognised only in exceptional cases.

Travel costs in connection with public health services

You can get social assistance for costs related to travelling to a public health care provider or to rehabilitation on condition that the trips you make are reimbursable under Kela's rules. Kela can pay basic social assistance for the part of the travel costs that you must pay yourself.

You can get a voucher for a trip to a public health care provider if you cannot afford it yourself and you meet the other conditions for basic social assistance. Kela reimburses travel costs on the basis of the least expensive method of travel, taking into account the impact of your illness and health status.

You can also get a voucher for your own share of the cost of Kela-reimbursed taxi trips if you have a certificate showing that you need a taxi on a continuous basis and that you have not reached the annual out-of-pocket maximum limit on travel costs.

Book a taxi by contacting the central dispatch service and, when booking, say that you have a voucher that covers the part of the fare you must pay yourself.

Oral and dental care

Kela can provide basic social assistance towards the cost of the oral and dental care you receive within the public healthcare system. If needed, public healthcare units will order the technical work related to dentures from a private dental technician. The public healthcare unit must also handle the acquisition, repair and relining of the dentures.

Eyeglasses

Kela can provide a voucher towards the cost of obtaining eyeglasses. The voucher is good at approved opticians and eyewear stores. You may, if you wish, buy a more expensive pair of glasses, but you will have to pay the excess over the contract price yourself.

If you buy your glasses without a voucher, only the amount which the glasses would have cost if purchased with the voucher from a Kela-authorised store can be taken into account.

However, there must be at least 3 years between each pair of glasses, unless there is a particularly weighty reason for granting the benefit with shorter intervals.

In the application form, state under ‘Additional information’ if you need a voucher for eyeglasses.

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