What is the European Health Insurance Card, and where can I get one?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a card used in the EU and EEA countries, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. By presenting the card, you will receive medically necessary treatment on the same terms and for the same fee as local residents. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait until you return to your country of residence. Besides sudden illness or accident, the card covers, for example, treatment required for long-term illness or pregnancy.
The European Health Insurance Card is free of charge. You can usually apply for the card from the health insurance institution in your country of residence. In Finland, the card is granted by Kela. Read also Kela’s frequently asked questions about the European Health Insurance Card.
Why would I need a European Health Insurance Card if I have travel insurance?
The European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance complement each other. With the European Health Insurance Card, you will only pay the local client fee for the treatment. Without the card, you must first pay all treatment costs yourself. With the European Health Insurance Card, you will also receive medically necessary treatment related to, for example, long-term illness or pregnancy, which may not be included in your travel insurance.
That said, it is good to have private travel insurance as the European Health Insurance Card does not cover, for example, ambulance flights or other special arrangements for return travel. Make sure to check the terms of your travel insurance before travelling.
What if I am asked for a European Health Insurance Card at a hospital, and I do not have one?
In most cases, you will receive treatment in an emergency also without the card. Contact Kela’s Centre for International Affairs to determine if you are covered by Finnish health insurance or if Finland is responsible for the costs of your treatment. Kela will provide you or the hospital directly with a temporary certificate replacing the card.
If you do not receive treatment at the cost of a local client fee but have to pay the actual costs of the treatment yourself, you can claim reimbursement for the treatment from Kela afterwards.
What if the hospital does not accept my European Health Insurance Card?
The European Health Insurance Card can be used in the public healthcare of the EU and EEA countries, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland or with a treatment provider who has an agreement with the public healthcare system. If the treatment provider does not accept the European Health Insurance Card and you have to pay the actual costs of the treatment yourself, you can claim reimbursements afterwards from Kela or from the health insurance institution of the country that provided the treatment.
Why is the European Health Insurance Card in Finnish?
Each country issues the card in its official language. Kela issues the European Health Insurance Card in Finnish or Swedish. The card is similar in different countries, only the language varies.