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

Accident on holiday outside Europe

Joona’s scooter crash in Thailand

Joona has rented a scooter on his holiday in Thailand. His scooter ride ends badly, as he hits a pothole and falls off his scooter. Joona strains his back and bruises his arm.

Joona is taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where he spends two days and then continues his holiday. When leaving the hospital, Joona pays all his hospital costs himself. Fortunately, he has taken out travel insurance for his trip. Joona saves the receipts for treatment costs and, after returning from his trip, claims reimbursement from his insurance company.

Grounds for Joona’s right to treatment

The entitlement to receive treatment in a country other than an EU or EEA country, United Kingdom, Switzerland or Australia is based on the legislation of the destination country. Outside Europe, an EU citizen is not automatically entitled to treatment other than urgent medical care, and all the treatment costs must usually be paid personally. Taking out travel insurance is recommended.

In other words, Joona will not receive treatment in Thailand using his European Health Insurance Card and is not automatically entitled to treatment other than urgent medical care.

If Joona did not have travel insurance, he could claim Kela reimbursements of treatment costs under the Finnish Health Insurance Act. The costs of sudden illness outside the EU/EEA countries, United Kingdom and Switzerland are reimbursed in accordance with the Health Insurance Act, which corresponds to Kela reimbursements for private health care in Finland. In practice, Joona would receive the same reimbursement as he would have for visiting a private doctor in Finland.

However, Joona does have travel insurance, which reimburses all the hospital costs incurred in Thailand. He receives the reimbursements directly from the insurance company, which claims reimbursement under the Health Insurance Act from Kela.

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