The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will affect the rights of those staying in the UK to receive medical care. The Kela website provides the most up-to-date information on the practical effects of Brexit on medical care. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health also provides information about Brexit on its website.
When will Brexit happen?
In March 2017, the United Kingdom announced its intent to withdraw from the European Union. The deadline for the withdrawal has been postponed three times through an agreement between the UK and EU, and the latest deadline is set for 31 January 2020. However, the UK may withdraw from the EU earlier, if the withdrawal agreement enters into force earlier.
Should the UK withdraw from the EU, the withdrawal may proceed either in accordance with the terms of the EU–UK withdrawal agreement or without an agreement. The effects on medical care will be different in each case.
Withdrawal from the EU with an agreement: you will retain your right to medical care and reimbursements for medical costs until the end of 2020
You will retain your right to medical care and reimbursements for medical costs during temporary residence or living until the end of the transition period, i.e. until 31 December 2020. You will be able to use your Kela-issued European Health Insurance Card in the UK – for example, if you suddenly fall ill during a holiday trip, or if you are temporarily living in the UK because of your studies or a similar reason. Correspondingly, those coming from the UK to Finland will remain entitled to medical care and reimbursements for medical costs while residing temporarily or living in Finland until the end of the transition period.
If you travel to the UK for treatment during the transition period without prior authorisation, you cannot receive reimbursements from Kela for treatment costs. If you travel to the UK for treatment with prior authorisation, you will receive treatment at the same price as local residents in the UK until the end of the transition period.
Withdrawal from the EU without an agreement: you cannot use your European Health Insurance Card in the UK
If you are temporarily residing in the UK, you will no longer receive treatment there with your Kela-issued European Health Insurance Card. If you are covered by Finnish social security, you can apply for reimbursement for the costs of medically necessary treatment from Kela afterwards. However, reimbursement based on the Health Insurance Act only covers part of the costs. It is recommended to take out travel insurance.
Correspondingly, if you come to Finland from the UK for a holiday, for instance, you cannot use your European Health Insurance Card in Finland. You will only be entitled to urgent medical care in Finland, and you will be responsible for all treatment costs yourself.
If you live in the UK, you must find out from the local authorities how your medical care will be arranged.