You can choose between public health care 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 health care that includes health care 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 health care. If you work for at least 4 months in Finland you are usually covered by health care insurance and you will be issued with a health insurance card referred to as the 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 of science and art have their own health care foundation, that has receptions at different university towns. Health care for pupils/students at compulsory school, students at vocational colleges and at upper secondary school as well as at vocational university colleges is arranged through the municipality. Students receive dental care in the same way as other health care.
The Kela card
Everybody who is a permanent resident in Finland is issued with a Kela card. The Kela card confirms that you are entitled to sickness insurance benefits in Finland. You need the card to receive sickness insurance compensation at a pharmacy and at private medical practices.
Reimbursement of costs
You can normally have your sickness insurance reimbursement deducted directly from the cost of the medicine or doctor’s fee. If you do not receive reimbursement immediately you can apply for this at Kela within 6 months.
You can receive reimbursement for items such as medicine and part of the private medical fees according to a special rate as well as travel to the doctor, health care centre, hospital or private medical practice.
You are entitled to sickness allowance if you are aged between 16-67. Your sickness allowance is normally determined by your actual taxable income. The amount of the daily benefit is dependent on whether you have been a student, unemployed or have attended rehabilitation or your incomes have varied.
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 income. Your employer is required to pay your sick pay for the excess period. Excess period for a self-employed persons is 4 days (the day you became sick plus 3 subsequent weekdays).
If you receive salary while on the 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 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.
As a student your entitlement to sickness daily benefit from Finland depends on whether you are covered by the social insurance in Finland while you are studying abroad. If, according to the population register, you live in another country, you are not entitled to daily sickness benefit from Finland. If you have been gainfully employed in the country where you are studying, you are entitled to employment-based sickness daily benefit there.
The employer is required to take out accident insurance for its 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 companies that provide statutory accident insurance.