Guidance

Healthcare in Finland

Healthcare information for UK nationals visiting, living in or moving to Finland.

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This content was originally published on the NHS website.

Healthcare in Finland after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in or visiting Finland.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Finland in place.

For example, if you are a current S1 form holder, or a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will not be able to rely on these to access your healthcare as you do now.

If you live or work in Finland

The Finnish government has published legislation governing the rights of UK nationals in Finland if there is a no-deal Brexit.

It states that UK nationals who are lawfully residing in Finland before the withdrawal date will be guaranteed residence rights until 31 December 2020, if they register their residency before exit.

As healthcare in Finland is residency-based, there should be no change to healthcare benefits to UK nationals who register before Brexit.

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

  • registering to live in Finland
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you are applying for residency or if you are not eligible for local schemes

If you are a UK posted worker, you are likely to need to buy into the state system if you are eligible.

You will get a Kela card, which will allow continue to receive the healthcare you need on the same terms as a Finnish national.

Or you may need to consider getting private healthcare insurance.

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.

For further information, please visit Prime Minister’s office or the Ministry of the Interior.

S1 certificate holders

Your S1 certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you have to pay in full for treatment.

Studying in Finland after Brexit

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

After the UK leaves the EU, you are likely to need to apply for a student residency permit.

If you’re already studying in Finland before the UK leaves the EU, the UK will cover your healthcare costs for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

Get help paying for medical treatment after Brexit

During the first 6 months after Brexit, if you need medical treatment and you’re being asked to pay for it, the UK can help.

This may be through arrangements with the country you live in, or by paying your healthcare provider directly.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Using NHS services when visiting the UK

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in Finland and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge, when visiting the UK after exit day if you are living in Finland before exit day and you:

  • have a UK-issued S1 form
  • have a UK-issued EHIC
  • would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access, if exit day had not occurred

Returning to the UK permanently

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you will be able to access NHS care without charge.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Finland.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk to your insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.

Your EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Living and working in Finland

This information is about healthcare in Finland before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living and working in Finland after Brexit.

You should be issued with a Kela card if you are living and working in Finland. This gives you access to all social security offerings including healthcare, giving you the same access to healthcare as Finnish citizens.

If you are not insured with Kela, or privately, you will still be attended to, but you will be charged in full for your treatment.

UK posted workers

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Finland, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

This information is about healthcare in Finland before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals studying in Finland after Brexit.

S1 certificate

This information is about healthcare in Finland before Brexit. Find out about S1 certificates after Brexit.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Finland and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Finland. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. You can apply for an S1 certificate through the NHS Business Services Authority.

Make sure you have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

For other exportable benefits, you may need to liaise with a different team depending on the exportable benefit.

You can find more information under claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

Studying in Finland

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you are a UK resident and studying in Finland, your UK-issued EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

Read more about healthcare when studying abroad.

For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read the NHS guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

Visiting Finland

This information is about healthcare in Finland before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals visiting Finland after Brexit.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Finland.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Finland at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you are staying there temporarily.

Make sure you’re treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Finland if you have a pre-existing health condition.

You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.

The Money and Pensions Advice Service has information about buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel.

Take any documents about your health condition or medicine with you.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read the NHS guide on seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Healthcare services in Finland

State healthcare services are provided by municipal health centres. Most municipals provide a 24-hour helpline if you need information about health, illnesses or healthcare services. The service is run by experienced medical professionals, such as nurses.

If you are visiting Helsinki, call (0)9 310 10023. You’ll be charged the local standard rate of a phone call.

Finding help in an emergency

If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Calls are free of charge.

Dentists

You should contact a local health centre if you need dental treatment during your stay because of illness or an accident.

You’ll have to present a valid EHIC to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

Most health centres charge €10.20 for a basic visit and then charge for additional treatments according to a fixed scale of charges (usually less than €150).

Not all health centres maintain a 24-hour dental service.

Hospitals

You’ll need a doctor’s referral for non-emergency hospital treatment. The Choosing Healthcare in Finland website offers contact details of public hospital districts in English, as well as other essential information about using healthcare services in Finland.

When you’re admitted to hospital, you’ll need to present a valid EHIC to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

Hospital fees are:

  • €22.80 to €50 a day for inpatient care
  • €41.70 for outpatient care
  • around €136.80 for day surgery, but it can be less

There is no reimbursement in respect of the basic daily charge.

Prescriptions

The Finnish word for pharmacy is apteekki. You can take your Finnish-issued prescription to any pharmacy, but you’ll have to pay the full price of the medicine. You may be asked to show your EHIC.

A well-known pharmacy chain is Yliopiston Apteekki, which has longer opening hours and operates on Sundays.

A pharmacist may ask you if you prefer the original medicine or a generic version. Generic medicines are the same as original medicines but under a different name and are often cheaper to buy.

It is your choice whether to buy the medication the doctor has prescribed or the generic alternative.

Bringing your own medicines to Finland

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad.

Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

Read more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

Published 23 September 2019