Health benefits

In Finland you can choose between public healthcare and private doctors. The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, Kela, will reimburse part of your costs if you visit a private doctor.

If, according to the population register, you live in Finland, you are usually entitled to public healthcare that includes healthcare centres and hospitals in your municipality. You can also use private medical practices.

If you work, it is often your employer who is responsible for your healthcare. If you work for at least 4 months in Finland you are usually covered by healthcare insurance and you will be issued with a health insurance card, also known as a Kela card. You are permitted to use the public health care services if you come from another EU/EEA country, even if you work in Finland for less than 4 months.

Students at universities or university colleges have their own healthcare foundation with healthcare facilities in different university towns.

The Kela card

Anyone who is a permanent resident in Finland is issued a Kela card. The Kela card confirms that you are entitled to health insurance benefits in Finland. You need the card to receive health insurance compensa-tion at pharmacies and private medical practices.

Reimbursement of costs

You can normally have your health insurance reimbursement deducted directly from the cost of the medi-cine or doctor’s fee. If you do not receive reimbursement immediately you can apply for this from Kela within 6 months, using form SV 127.

You can receive reimbursement for items such as medicine and part of the private medical fees according to a special rate, as well as for trips to the doctor, healthcare centre, hospital or private medical practice.

Seafarers and border employees resident in Finland have the right to receive healthcare in the country of work as well as the country of residence. Treatment costs are paid by the country where the seafarer or border employee has health insurance.

Upon request, Kela grants seafarers and border employees a paper document, ”Certificate of eligibility for healthcare benefits in Finland.” The document has previously been used only within Finnish public healthcare. Starting 1 June 2011, seafarers and border employees have been able to also use it in pharmacies to receive a direct reimbursement on medicine purchases by showing the certificate. 

Sickness allowance

You are entitled to sickness allowance if you are aged 16–67. Your sickness allowance is normally de-termined by your actual taxable income. The amount of the daily benefit is dependent on whether you have been a student or unemployed, or have attended rehabilitation or have had a varied income.

When you have been given sick leave for 10 weekdays by a doctor (the day you became sick plus the 9 subsequent weekdays), you are entitled to sickness allowance from Kela as compensation for loss of in-come. Your employer is required to pay your sick pay for the excess period. Excess period for a self-employed person is 4 days (the day you became sick plus 3 subsequent weekdays).

If you receive salary while on sick leave, Kela will pay the sickness daily benefit to your employer. If your salary payment ceases despite still being on the sick leave, you will continue to receive the sickness daily benefit.

If your sickness means that you are unable to work for a long period, you can apply for rehabilitation support or a pension.

Occupational injuries and diseases

The employer is required to take out accident insurance for the employees. Each employee is insured against accidents that occur at work and in circumstances that are a consequence of the work, and against occupational illnesses. In the case of students there is a special system that compensates for injuries that occur while the student is participating in practical assignments. In Finland there are 13 insurance compa-nies that provide statutory accident insurance.