The Finnish Social Security Institution (Kela) has received during the last few days lots of questions about how someone who falls ill abroad can receive treatment during the coronavirus epidemic.
According to Kela, in the EU and EEA countries and in Switzerland, patients holding the European Health Insurance Card should receive necessary medically necessary treatment due to illness just as before. However, the Social Security also reminds that, according to the instructions from the Government, travel should be avoided.
Medically necessary treatment means treatment that cannot wait until you return home. The need of treatment is assessed by the local doctor providing treatment.
In the Nordic countries, you do not necessarily need a European Health Insurance Card, because you can obtain treatment also by presenting a valid passport or other official ID. You can also obtain treatment in Great Britain and Northern Ireland by presenting your passport.
Outside Europe, treatment can be obtained for a corresponding user fee as that paid by local residents only in the Australian public healthcare system by presenting your Kela card and your passport. In other countries, you must pay all the costs for the treatment yourself.
Getting treatment in Finland
Kela explains people can also receive medically necessary treatment in the Finnish public healthcare system with a European Health Insurance Card granted by another country. Finland invoices the patient’s home country for the costs for the treatment afterwards.
Patients from the Nordic countries do not necessarily need a European Health Insurance Card, because they can obtain treatment by presenting a valid passport or other official ID. People from Great Britain and Northern Ireland can present a European Health Insurance Card or their passport.
Patients who are residents of a Finnish municipality (have a place of domicile in Finland), they are entitled to all necessary treatment in the Finnish public healthcare system.
The same applies to people who have a European Health Insurance Card for pensioners issued by Kela or a certificate on entitlement to medical care in Finland. The person’s citizenship or country of origin are not relevant.
If the patient does not have a place of domicile nor a certificate on entitlement to medical care, they are entitled to urgent medical care in the public healthcare system. But in this case patients have to pay all the costs for the medical care, and it is not possible to obtain any reimbursement from Kela.
What if you do not have the EU card?
If you fall ill in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland and you do not have a European Health Insurance Card, you can contact Kela’s Centre for International Affairs. If you pay the costs for treatment abroad yourself, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela afterwards.
Kela reminds that currently, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there may be differences in the access to medical treatment, depending on the country.
Kela's update page on the coronavirus situation contains information about the effects of the coronavirus epidemic on the benefits and services available from Kela and the processing of applications. The page will be updated as the situation evolves. You can access it HERE