A wonderful destination for both summer and winter holidays, Finland has so much to offer the discerning traveller. Before you go, however, it is advisable to invest in comprehensive travel insurance. Although Finland is in the EU and honours the reciprocal healthcare agreements with the UK, there are limits to what is covered. Here we outline what the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides and why it is best to have a comprehensive travel insurance as back up.
Accessing Medical Care in Finland
If you need non-urgent care when on holiday in Finland, you should make your way to a local municipal health centre, where you will able to see a GP, dentist or even a radiographer. Once you have found a municipal health centre, you must make an appointment, which you need to get to or face a €39.60 no-show fee. Your EHIC card entitles you to some free healthcare, but small contributions may be asked for depending on the municipality your health centre is in. A visit to the doctor, for example, could cost between €16.10 and €22.10, depending on if the visit is a regular one or an out-of-hours one. This includes laboratory services and x-rays, too.
Under 18s are treated for free, unless they are treated privately. In this case payment is required up front and only comprehensive travel insurance will enable you to claim back monies paid.
The hospitals in Finland are almost all municipally owned, but if you do prefer to receive private treatment, there are a few private hospitals too. Of course, your EHIC does not cover private treatment in Finland, unless the treatment given was deemed necessary on a clinical basis, and even then you can only claim back 20-30% of the cost. Should you find yourself in this position you must make a claim for reimbursement within six months and the claim must be made to the Finnish government social insurance authority, known as Kela.
Prescriptions are paid for when you receive them in the pharmacy but you can claim the cost back as long as you keep the receipts for presentation in a local Kela office.
Accessing Dental Care in Finland
In the event that you require dental treatment while in Finland, as long as you have a valid EHIC you will pay the same fee as a resident. Initial visits usually cost around €10, and then extra treatments are charged depending on what is required. A comprehensive travel insurance policy will however likely cover you for all dental treatment, but check the policy before you travel.
And Visiting a Hospital?
Hospital visits in Finland of a non-urgent nature necessitate a doctor’s referral. The word for hospital in Finnish is sairaala. As long as your EHIC is in date and the hospital is not a private one you will be able to benefit from the minimal treatment fees, just as a Finnish resident would. Comprehensive travel insurance, on the other hand, will probably cover the whole cost of any treatment, whether you are in a private or public hospital.
When in Finland, an EHIC is invaluable. But if you want to ensure that you are completely covered for any eventuality, adequate travel insurance is a wise investment.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip and comprehensive travel insurance policies. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.