Seeking treatment means that you travel to the country in question for the express purpose of receiving treatment. If you receive treatment abroad on account of a sudden illness or accident, this is not counted as seeking treatment.
You can use the local public health care services of another EU or EEA country in the same way as the residents of the country in question. Providers of health care services in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland can independently decide whether to accept clients from abroad for treatment.
However, the EU and EEA countries are not obliged to offer the following healthcare services to clients seeking treatment from abroad:
- long-term care and other services aimed at providing support to an individual in ordinary daily activities
- organ transplants
- vaccines and vaccination programmes.
You can travel to another country for medical care either independently or with a prior authorisation pursuant to the relevant EU regulation. The amount of reimbursement depends on which route you take to seek treatment. If you seek treatment independently, i.e. without prior authorisation, pay the costs of your treatment yourself and claim reimbursement from Kela afterwards. Kela reimburses the costs of treatment given in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland up to what similar treatment would have cost in Finland in your own wellbeing services county. However, you always pay the client fee for your treatment. Kela will obtain the necessary information from the healthcare unit in your wellbeing services county.
You can ask Kela in advance what kind of reimbursement you can receive for your treatment. Remember to apply for prior notification well before seeking treatment.
As a rule, if you travel abroad for treatment with a prior authorisation pursuant to the relevant EU regulation, you will pay the same client fee as local residents. Seeking treatment with a prior authorisation is more affordable to the patient, but there are terms for granting a prior authorisation.
Patients are accepted for treatment and treatment is arranged in accordance with the legislation of the country in question. Clarify thoroughly in advance the procedures and payments involved in practice relating to the treatment. For more information, read Using health services abroad.
Seeking treatment outside EU and EEA countries and Switzerland
You can travel abroad for treatment in countries other than the EU or EEA member states, but access to treatment depends on the legislation of the destination country. In other countries the treatment provider is not obliged to accept you for treatment if you have travelled to the country for the purpose of accessing health care services.
Kela will not reimburse costs incurred by treatment if you have travelled for treatment in countries other than the EU or EEA countries, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland.