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

As a student in an EU or EEA country, United Kingdom 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, United Kingdom 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 because she is entitled to seek treatment in other EU or EEA countries, Switzerland, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and receive reimbursement for the treatment. Milla will be reimbursed for the costs as if she had received treatment in a similar situation in the Finnish public health care system.  Milla must pay for the treatment herself and claim reimbursement from Kela afterwards.