Keep these things in mind when using the services of a foreign online clinic


You can use the services of an online clinic abroad. In terms of reimbursement of costs and patient insurance, this corresponds to a situation where you intentionally travel to another country to receive treatment. Make sure that the online clinic operates with appropriate licences and has a patient injury insurance in place.

Today, there are different online clinics that can provide treatment across borders. In general, provider of health services can often provide remote services, in which case the patient does not have to travel to another country to receive treatment.

When you use the services of a clinic located in another country or solely online, it counts as seeking treatment abroad. This is still the case even if you stay in Finland for the whole duration of the treatment and your appointments take place virtually.

You can apply for reimbursement from Kela for the treatment costs of an online clinic located in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland or the United Kingdom in the same way as when you intentionally travel abroad to receive medical care. A prerequisite for reimbursement is that the treatment is included in the range of public health care services in Finland and that you would also receive treatment in Finland in a similar situation. In addition, you must have a referral in order to apply for reimbursement, in case such a referral would also have been required in Finland for the treatment in question. If you seek treatment outside the EU and EEA countries, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, you cannot receive reimbursements from Kela.

Learn more about the clinic and patient insurance

The Finnish patient insurance does not cover treatment provided abroad. Treatment provided by a foreign online clinic or a hospital providing remote services is considered such. In practice, this means that in the event of a patient injury, the Finnish patient insurance is not responsible for reimbursements. Instead, you must settle the matter with the country providing the treatment. Exceptions to this are situations in which the Finnish public healthcare has arranged treatment abroad as an outsourced service.

Before using the services of a foreign online clinic, learn more about its operations and make sure that the clinic has the appropriate licence for its operations. Find out which country the clinic belongs to and what kind of patient injury insurance it has in place. You should also find out background information on the doctor treating you, such as rights to practise the profession.

What to do in the case of a patient injury?

If you need medical care due to medical malpractice caused by a foreign clinic, you are entitled to receive it in Finland as usual. A doctor will assess the type of treatment you should receive.

However, reimbursements for a treatment-related complication or malpractice must be settled with the foreign clinic that treated you. In the event of a patient injury, the legislation of the country providing the treatment is always followed. Each EU country has some kind of patient insurance system.

Contact points offer advice if necessary

All EU countries have their own contact point for cross-border health care, which shares information on the country’s health care practices and, if necessary, steers you to the right authority. The contact points offer information on, for example, the country’s patient insurance system and how the quality of treatment is being monitored.

Further information