There are two parallel health care systems in Finland:
- the public sector health care (municipal health care) which the municipalities finance, and
the private sector health care.
Both sectors are available to everybody in case of necessary treatment. Your country of origin and your residence status determine your rights. See a more detailed description on the Kela website.
Which System to Choose?
Both sectors are available to all, but students who come from the EEA or Nordic countries without a European Health Insurance Card, students who come outside the EEA or Nordic countries, and are without a domicile in Finland, will pay a higher fee for the services.
Private sector services are more expensive, although special services are more extensive, and access is usually faster than in the public health care sector.
Public health care is financed by the municipalities. There are many public health-care centres and hospitals in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Public health centres provide physician, dental, laboratory and radiographic services. Services in public health care are not always entirely free of charge, since various types of administrative fees etc. may apply. There are many public health care centres and hospitals in the Helsinki metropolitan area (see links below).
When determining the right to treatment and the costs, the municipality of residence is crucial. International students staying in Finland for at least two years will have right to a registered municipality of residence in the country and are entitled to municipal health care. Also family members are entitled to treatment, if they share a household and are registered as residents.
Students coming from EU/EEA countries or from Switzerland are entitled to necessary medical treatment while staying temporarily in another EU/EEA country. A European Health Insurance Card is needed for public health services in Finland. The card entitles you to the same benefits in case of acute treatment as the local population. You should apply for the EHIC card in your home country before leaving for Finland. You are recommended to consider also a private travel insurance as an additional security.
Students coming from outside the EU/EEA area are suggested to contact the private health stations in the area. Only urgent medical care is provided at the municipal health care centers and the costs are charged according to the real costs of the treatment. Thus, it is good to have a private medical insurance coverage, but please note that it is required also for the residence permit. Depending on the insurance provider, the costs might first be charged directly from the patient and reimbursed only after an insurance claim.
For more information, see the websites of municipal health care services: