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

As a student in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland

Milla’s bicycle accident in Germany

Milla is doing a student exchange, spending the autumn in Germany. She falls while riding a bicycle and hurts her tooth. Not to worry: Milla can have her broken tooth fixed by a dentist using her European Health Insurance Card. The price that she pays for the dental treatment is the same as what the Germans pay, i.e. the local client fee. Milla also has travel insurance and she claims reimbursement of the client fee she pays.

At the dentist, Milla says that she would also like to have her wisdom tooth removed. However, the dentist assesses that this is not medically necessary treatment, so Milla cannot have her tooth removed using her European Health Insurance Card. Nevertheless, Milla can have her wisdom tooth removed at her own expense and claim reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.


Grounds for Milla’s right to treatment

Living abroad due to studies is usually regarded as temporary residence, also in Milla’s case. Milla is still covered by Finnish national health insurance, and Finland grants her a European Health Insurance Card. The card is valid in the EU and EEA countries and Switzerland, and Milla can use it to receive medically necessary treatment, i.e. have her broken tooth fixed, for the local client fee. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for the person’s return home from abroad. The doctor will assess the need for treatment in relation to the duration of the person’s stay abroad.

Milla can also claim reimbursement for the removal of her wisdom tooth, since EU citizens are entitled to seek treatment in other EU/EEA countries and Switzerland and receive reimbursement for the treatment. Kela will grant reimbursements on the same grounds and for the same sums as Kela reimbursements for private health care in Finland. In other words, Milla can receive reimbursement for the removal of her wisdom tooth in the same manner as she would for having her tooth removed by a private dentist in Finland. Reimbursements for treatment received in another country will not be granted automatically, so Milla must claim them from Kela.

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