International summer event with tips for cosmopolitan pensioners


Kela’s international summer event was organised on 28–29 August 2018. This year’s event focused on employees and pensioners in international situations. The first day was live-streamed online from Kela’s head office, whereas the second day’s public event took place at the Iso Omena Service Centre in Espoo. The Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare was present on the second day, which concentrated on pensioners.

More and more Finnish pensioners spend at least part of the year abroad. Some may briefly take refuge from the cold Finnish winter, while others have made a fairly permanent change of scenery. Many interesting speeches were heard about international situations concerning pensioners, highlighting things that pensioners who move abroad or spend part of the year there would do well to bear in mind.

Bureaucratic challenges tackled by a simple information package

The day started with a presentation by Torbjörn Sandell from the Population Register Centre, who told the audience how the domicile of pensioners who spend part of the year abroad is determined. Barbro Lillqvist from the Finnish Centre for Pensions gave a comprehensive presentation on the things that pensioners must report to the pension insurance institution when moving or living abroad. Jonna Salmela introduced the audience to Kela’s pension practices in international situations.

Kela’s viewpoint was also presented by Päivi Kuivasniemi, who introduced the right to social security for those planning to move abroad, and Sanna Kuorikoski, who talked about the kind of treatment to which pensioners are entitled in international situations. The day was concluded by Kaisa Mensonen from the Tax Administration, who provided instructions on the taxation of pensioners moving abroad.

During the day, we heard about the international situations of pensioners from the perspective of many different authorities, providing an enormous amount of useful information! Luckily, the presentations were recorded on video and published on Kela’s YouTube channel, where they will remain freely available for viewing.

“How does this happen in practice?”

The Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare concentrated on offering practical advice to pensioners attending the event. For example, what to do if you suddenly fall ill abroad, where to find information about health services in Spain or why the European Health Insurance Card is also useful for pensioners. Our colourful desk was also a place where pensioners could easily stop and talk about other topical issues, with or without an international perspective.