How to get treatment abroad and other questions about healthcare services


In June, the Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare asked people to describe their need for information about healthcare services as well as their experiences. The purpose of the survey was to find out about clients’ needs and wishes in order to develop the contact point’s communications and the web service. A total of 96 people responded to the survey. 37% of the respondents said that they or their family member had used healthcare services abroad. 40% of the respondents had needed or looked for information for the treatment of their own or their family member’s illness abroad. Only 24% regarded their knowledge of the use of healthcare services abroad as good or very good, whereas 65% considered their knowledge average or worse than average.

Those heading abroad are interested in places of treatment, costs and medicines

Healthcare in countries other than Finland was of particular interest to those who were planning a holiday or moving abroad. One-third of the respondents had also just pondered the subject in general. Many were familiar with the European Health Insurance Card, but knowledge of the use of services, entitlement to treatment and cost reimbursement varied. The respondents needed more information about, for example, places where the European Health Insurance Card can be used, entitlement to treatment, cost reimbursement, prices of treatment and carrying and buying medicines abroad. The respondents also wondered how they should act if they fell ill and how they would be understood by medical staff in another country. In addition, many required country-specific information on healthcare services.

Information is searched for and found online

The sources used most often to find information were web search engines, Kela, various authorities and insurance companies as well as online message boards. Half of the respondents hoped they would find information online, and many of them wanted a website dedicated to the matter. We are happy to say that information on many of the questions that puzzled the respondents are already addressed on the website. Based on the responses, we will further develop the website in order to help an increasing number of people easily find the information they need and get understandable answers to their questions.

Congratulations to respondents in Oulu, Turku and Helsinki!

Respondents who provided their contact information entered a draw for three gift vouchers to a grocery shop. Congratulations to winners in Oulu, Turku and Helsinki. We will contact the winners personally. Thanks to all respondents!

Five tips – read these before travelling or moving abroad

  1. Our country-specific pages provide information on using healthcare services, fees, healthcare authorities and general treatment questions in more than 50 countries.
  2.  – what do I get with it?
  3. What compensation can I get for treatment received abroad?
  4. I need my medication during my holiday; how can I take medicines abroad?
  5. May I seek treatment abroad in cases other than sudden illness?