Seeking treatment abroad without a prior authorisation
Checklist for travelling abroad to seek treatment without prior authorisation:
- Find a suitable place for treatment.
- Agree on the treatment arrangements with the care provider. Also ask about the costs of the treatment.
- Deliver your medical records to the treatment provider and have them translated if necessary.
- Obtain a doctor’s referral, if required by the location of treatment. You may also need a referral for reimbursement from Kela.
- You can ask Kela in advance what kind of reimbursement you can receive for your treatment. Remember to apply for advance information on reimbursement well before seeking treatment.
- Pay the costs of the treatment and any other costs, such as travel, medicines, accommodation, interpreting and an accompanying person yourself.
- Claim reimbursement from Kela within six months of payment.
- Remember that treatment is provided in accordance with the national legislation and health care system of each respective country.
- The statutory patient insurance of the country providing treatment is applied in the case of treatment injuries.
Seeking treatment in the EU and EEA countries, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland
If you live in an EU or EEA country, you can seek treatment in another EU or EEA country. 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. EU legislation requires that you receive treatment in the same way as local residents in the destination country. Providers of health care services in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland can independently decide whether to accept clients from abroad for treatment.
If there is a waiting time, you will have to wait as local residents. Treatment is provided under national legislation valid in each country, so it may differ from the treatment you would receive in Finland.
Find out the possibilities of obtaining the treatment you need in another country and agree on the treatment arrangements with the care provider. Ensure that the treatment place operates with appropriate licences in the country in question. Obtain a doctor’s referral if required. A referral written in English in Finland is usually acceptable in EU and EEA countries and Switzerland, but the treatment provider may also require a referral from a local doctor. Submit the requisite medical records to the treatment provider and, if necessary, have them translated into a language that the care provider understands. You can print the information from the MyKanta service.
The legislation of the country providing the treatment will be applied in case of any treatment injuries. You cannot receive compensation from Finland for a treatment injury incurred abroad. You must apply for compensation from the country providing treatment. However, you can receive medically necessary follow-up treatment in Finland.
You must usually pay the costs of treatment yourself if you seek treatment abroad
If you seek treatment abroad without prior authorisation, you must pay the costs of your treatment yourself. You can contact the place of treatment abroad directly to inquire about the costs.
You can ask Kela in advance what kind of reimbursement you can receive for your treatment. Apply for advance information on reimbursement well before seeking treatment, as Kela requests the necessary information from the public healthcare of your wellbeing services county.
Apply for reimbursements from Kela afterwards. After the treatment, Kela will reimburse you for the costs of treatment given in an EU and 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. Kela will obtain the necessary information from the healthcare unit in your wellbeing services county. Being reimbursed requires that your need for treatment is medically justified and the treatment is included in the range of services available in the Finnish healthcare system. The treatment must correspond to the treatment you would have received in the Finnish healthcare system. You will need a referral to the treatment if a referral would be needed to access similar treatment in the Finnish healthcare system. Even if the treatment provider abroad does not require a referral, you may need a referral as an attachment to your reimbursement application to Kela. You can also apply for Kela’s prior authorisation pursuant to the relevant EU regulation for seeking treatment. If the authorisation is granted, you will pay the local client fee for the treatment.