Living in Finland

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Health services in Finland

You are entitled to use public health services in Finland if you have a municipality of residence (kotikunta) in Finland. The right to a municipality of residence depends on the following matters:

  • the country from which you have come to Finland
  • your reason for coming to Finland (e.g. work, studying)
  • whether you are moving to Finland permanently or staying here temporarily
  • if you are staying in Finland temporarily, the length of your stay in Finland

If you are unsure whether you have a municipality of residence in Finland, find out at the Local Register Office (maistraatti). You can find more information on the Infopankki web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

In an emergency situation, you will be treated even if you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland. The medical costs can be collected from you afterwards.

If you are not entitled to public health services, you can make an appointment at a private clinic. Private health services are considerably more expensive for the customer than public ones.

Health services in Finland are offered in Finnish and Swedish. Often you can also get along with English. When making an appointment for health services, ask if it is possible to use an interpreter (tulkki) if you cannot speak any of the above-mentioned languages. Read more on the Infopankki web page Do you need an interpreter?

When you have made an appointment with a doctor it is important to be there on time. If you have made an appointment but cannot keep it, it is very important to cancel it in good time, usually the previous day. If you do not arrive at the clinic and you have not cancelled your appointment, you will be charged a non-attendance fee.

linkkiKela :
Health and rehabilitationFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian | Estonian

linkkiKela:
Medical care of a foreigner in Finland(pdf, 1,38 Mt)Finnish

linkkiKela:
Contact Point for Cross-Border HealthcareFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiHilma - The Support Centre for Immigrant Persons with Disabilities:
Health-related dictionary(pdf, 341,02 kt)Finnish | English | Russian | French | Somali | Arabic | Kurdish

Public health services

If you fall ill, first contact your own health centre (terveysasema) where you can make an appointment with a general practitioner or nurse. You can find information about the health services of different localities on the Infopankki websites for different areas or your own municipality’s website. Health centre services are relatively cheap for clients, because they are funded through tax revenue.

Health centres are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. To make an appointment, it is a good idea to call the health centre in the morning as soon as it opens. You will be given an appointment at short notice if you have a condition that requires urgent care. If you do not need urgent treatment, you will have to wait longer for a doctor’s appointment. When booking your appointment, you will be told how soon you will receive treatment. The person making your appointment will also evaluate whether you need to see a doctor or a nurse. In Finland, nurses can treat a number of illnesses. If necessary, the nurse will refer you to a doctor. If you have a Kela card (Kela-kortti), take it along when you go to the health centre.

If you need the services of a specialist, first book an appointment with a general practitioner. When necessary, a health centre doctor will give you a referral to a specialist. Some health centres, out-patient clinics and hospitals also have specialists. Special health care is given at central hospitals and university hospitals.

In Finland, public health service doctors do not make home visits. Some private clinics offer such services, but a private doctor’s home visit is expensive.

If your illness continues for a long time and you are unable to go to work, you can find more information about Kela’s sickness allowance on the Infopankki web page Support during illness.

On-call public health services

Health centres are closed in the evenings and at weekends. At these times, acute cases are treated at emergency clinics (päivystys). Emergency clinics are intended for situations in which the patient requires immediate treatment. If your illness does not require immediate treatment, book an appointment at your health station the next time it is open.

Duty doctor services are often provided at a hospital department reserved specifically for it and sometimes, in small localities, in a neighbouring town. Emergency services for children and the young are often arranged in a separate unit. Ask for more information at your health centre during opening hours or look for more information on the website of your municipality.

Private health services

The contact information for private clinics can be found online, for example. It will probably be faster to get an appointment with a private clinic than public health services. Private health services are considerably more expensive for the client than public ones. Different clinics offer different services. Private health services can be used by everyone, including those who do not have a municipality of residence in Finland.

Kela pays a small part of the expenses of private health care and dental care if you are covered by Finnish national health insurance (sairausvakuutus). Sometimes a person who is not covered by Finnish national health insurance may also be entitled to Kela reimbursements. Ask for more information at Kela.

Sometimes Kela’s reimbursement can be deducted directly from the sum you pay at the cash desk. Bring along your Kela card. You can also apply for reimbursement from Kela afterwards.

For more information about the Finnish national health insurance, go to the Infopankki web page Finnish social security.

linkkiKela:
Reimbursements of the costs of private medical treatmentFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiTerveystalo:
Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiDiacor:
Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English | Russian

linkkiMehiläinen:
Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiAava:
Private clinicFinnish | Swedish | English

Health care for Nordic citizens

If you are covered by health insurance in another Nordic country, you are entitled to health care in Finland. You will receive care under the same terms and pay the same amount for the services as Finns do. Bring along an official identity card when using health services.

Health care for EU citizens

If you are covered by health insurance in another EU member state, EEA member state or Switzerland, you are entitled to essential health care in Finland. In order to receive treatment, you must have a European Health Insurance Card. You must obtain a European Health Insurance Card from the country in which you are covered by health insurance.

If you have a European Health Insurance Card, you are entitled to use public health care services. If you use private health care services, Kela may reimburse some of the expenses.

The European Health Insurance card entitles you to receive treatment if you fall ill or have an accident. You will also receive treatment if your long-term illness requires it. The card also entitles you to receive treatment related to pregnancy and delivery. You will pay the same amount for your treatment as permanent Finnish residents do.

linkkiKela:
Information on the European Health Insurance CardFinnish | Swedish | English

Health care for employees and entrepreneurs

If you have come to Finland to work, you may be entitled to use public health services in Finland. This depends on the duration and type of your contract of employment, as well as on the country from which you have come to Finland.

In Finland, employers have a duty to pay for preventive health care for their employees.

Entrepreneurs can organise occupational health care for themselves, if they wish. In other words, entrepreneurs are not under an obligation to arrange occupational health care for themselves. An entrepreneur is, however, required to organise occupational health care for any employees working for them.

Occupational health care can be arranged at a local health centre or, for example, private clinic.

You can find more information on the Infopankki web page Occupational health care and on the website of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Occupational health careFinnish | Swedish | English

Health care for students

If you come to study in Finland from a country other than a EU member state, EEA member state or Switzerland, you will usually need a comprehensive national health insurance policy from your home country before you can get a residence permit for Finland. If the estimated duration of your studies is no less than two years, you will usually be granted a municipality of residence in Finland and will thus be covered by municipal health services. In that case, it is enough that your insurance policy primarily covers medical costs. If you are unsure whether you have the right to a municipality of residence in Finland, check the matter at a Local Register Office. You can find more information about municipality of residence on the Infopankki web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

The website of the Finnish Immigration Service (Maahanmuuttovirasto) provides additional information about residence permits for studies and national health insurance, which you will need for the permit.

Vocational education institutions organise school health care for their students, and university students are served by the Finnish Student Health Service organisation. Ask for more information at your educational establishment. To find out more about student health care, go to the websites of FSHS (YTHS) and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (Sosiaali- ja terveysministeriö).

linkkiFinnish Immigration Service:
Information about a student's residence permitFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFSHS:
Finnish Student Health ServiceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiMinistry of Social Affairs and Health:
Student health careFinnish | Swedish

Health care for refugees and asylum seekers

If you have come to Finland as a quota refugee, you have a municipality of residence in Finland and you are entitled to use public health services.

If you are an asylum seeker and your application has not been processed yet, you cannot register as a resident of the municipality at the Local Register Office, nor use municipal health services. Ask for more information at your reception centre.

If you have gained a residence permit on the basis of a need for protection and are given the right to a municipality of residence in Finland, you are entitled to use the health services of your own municipality.

You can find more information about the right to a municipality of residence in Finland on the Infopankki web page Municipality of residence in Finland.

Health care for undocumented migrants

If you are in Finland without a residence permit, you can get medical assistance and advice from the Global Clinic. Global Clinic operates in the following cities:

  • Helsinki
  • Turku
  • Oulu
  • Joensuu

You can call or send an e-mail to the Clinic. A nurse or a doctor will answer the call. You will find the contact information on the Global Clinic website.

The services of the Global Clinic are free of charge. The Global Clinic will not report its customers to the police or other authorities. The location and opening hours of the clinic are not listed publicly.

linkkiGlobal Clinic:
Health services for undocumented migrantsFinnish | English | French | Romanian

Other information websites

linkkiTuberkuloosi.fi:
Information on tuberculosisFinnish | English | Russian | Somali | Arabic | Kurdish