STORY: Read about how the right to treatment works in practice

As a student outside the EU/EEA countries, United Kingdom and Switzerland

How Timo beat the flu in Chile

Timo travels to Chile to study for an entire academic year. He gets a nasty flu that will not go away. Timo books an appointment with a doctor, who prescribes him a course of antibiotics and a week of rest. The doctor gives him an invoice that he must pay himself. He claims reimbursement of the fee charged by the doctor from his travel insurance company.

Grounds for Timo’s right to treatment

Since Timo is studying outside the EU/EEA countries, United Kingdom and Switzerland, he cannot use a European Health Insurance Card. Timo should take out travel insurance that covers medical care costs. Otherwise, he would have to pay almost all of his medical care costs himself.

If Timo had not taken out insurance and had suddenly fallen ill in Chile, he could have claimed Kela reimbursements under the Finnish Health Insurance Act. This means that Timo would have received the same reimbursement as he would have for visiting a private doctor in Finland. In practice, such reimbursements are fairly small.

However, since Timo did take out travel insurance, he will receive all reimbursements for his illness directly from the insurance company.


If Timo studied in Quebec, Canada, he would be entitled to receive medical care on the same grounds as local residents thanks to the social security agreement between Finland and Quebec. In this case, he would receive the treatment for the same fee as the local residents. Timo would do well to take out travel insurance in any case, since it may cover air ambulance costs, for instance.

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