Leaving Finland for treatment abroad

You can travel to another EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland to seek treatment. Kela will reimburse the costs as if you had received treatment in a similar situation in the Finnish public health care system. Kela will obtain the necessary information from your wellbeing services county. Clarify thoroughly in advance the practical issues relating to the treatment. This page contains a checklist of them for your convenience.

Things to remember

Determine the destination country and place of treatment

Agree on practical arrangements and travel for treatment

Pay the costs of the treatment and apply for reimbursements

You can use health care services in EU area

If you live in an EU country, you can travel to another EU country to use public and private health care services. The costs will be reimbursed as if you had received treatment in a similar situation in the Finnish public health care system. However, you always pay at least the client fee yourself. You can be reimbursed for the treatment costs in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland.

Please note that treatment is always provided in accordance with the national legislation and health care system of each respective country.

The legislation of the country providing the treatment is also applied in the case of treatment injuries. This means that the matter must be clarified with the treatment provider and that any compensation is sought from the authorities of the country in question. Finnish patient insurance does not cover injuries that occur abroad.

What is seeking treatment?

Seeking treatment means that you travel from your country of residence to another country specifically to receive treatment. If you receive treatment abroad on account of a sudden illness or accident, this is not counted as seeking treatment.

With or without prior authorisation?

In terms of costs, there are two options for seeking treatment: with or without a prior authorisation pursuant to the relevant EU regulation. The more common way, which we describe on this page, is to travel for treatment without prior authorisation, in which case you will pay all the costs related to the treatment yourself and apply for reimbursements from Kela retrospectively.

You can also apply for prior authorisation, i.e. a payment commitment, from Kela.
Read more about prior authorisation and on what grounds it can be granted

Read more

Are you considering treatment abroad? Read the stories of Jorma and Leena.

Jorma seeks dental care in Estonia
– Seeking treatment without prior authorisation

Leena’s twin pregnancy care in Germany
– Seeking treatment with prior authorisation

Things to remember when you want to seek treatment abroad

Determine the destination

  • Find out the possibilities of obtaining the treatment you need in another country
  • Find a suitable place of treatment and ensure that the treatment provider is licensed

Agree on practical arrangements

  • Agree on the date of treatment and fees
  • Confirm the language of treatment and arrange interpretation, if necessary
  • Obtain a doctor’s referral, if required. If the treatment you receive abroad would require a referral in Finland, you must also have the referral in order to receive reimbursement

Remember medical records and translations

  • Have your medical records translated and deliver them to the treatment provider
  • Ask the treatment provider for all the documents related to you and bring them with you to Finland
  • Have the documents translated into Finnish if you need follow-up treatment

Pay the costs and apply for reimbursements

  • Pay all the costs related to the treatment and save the receipts
  • Apply for reimbursement from Kela within six months of payment