Moving to and living in Finland is not only the beginning of a great adventure in a new country, but it also means that you need to deal with some more practical issues, such as insurance or healthcare systems, just to name a few. How does Finnish healthcare work for expats? Does Finland have free healthcare? What does it cover? What social benefits could I get while living in Finland? You will find the answers to all these plus some other questions below.
In Finland, social security is financed from tax revenues, social security contributions and a share of funds paid by the state to the municipalities. The municipalities are responsible for the healthcare and social security of their residents. In order to use such support, you need to be officially registered and have a place of residence.
People living or working in Finland are entitled to use benefits granted by Kela, which is the Finnish Social Insurance Institution providing the following support and aids:
- parental benefit;
- housing benefit;
- child benefit;
- coverage of treatment costs.
When you move to Finland, you will have to apply for social and healthcare coverage, by filling in a few forms. You need to include such details as personal information, the reason for moving to Finland, and the time of the move, and you also need to share who you are moving with. We also encourage our employees to attach their employment contract to the application forms. It is also important to answer the question of whether a person is covered by social security in another country. Pursuant to bilateral social security agreements between EU member states, an EU citizen may not be covered by social security in more than one country at the same time.
If a person from a non-EU state moves to Finland, a decision on granting the right to receive social security benefits is made after verifying if such a person has a place of residence in Finland and whether he/she holds a permit to stay for at least one year. A permanent resident in Finland is a person who has lived here previously (or is a member of a family who lives in Finland permanently) or has an employment contract in Finland for at least two years.
As mentioned before, the organisation of primary healthcare is handled by the municipalities. You can use the following healthcare services:
- healthcare clinics;
- in-patient treatment;
- dental care services.
In addition, Barona provides the employees access to occupational healthcare services in a private healthcare centre, which they may use in case of illness. Employees are also covered by work accident insurance while at work or on their way to or from work.
KELA CARD DISCOUNTS
Sickness insurance covers a part of the costs of medicines prescribed by a doctor. In order to receive such discounts, you need to scan your Kela card at the pharmacy.
It may take up to three or four months to have the Kela card issued, however, an employee is covered by the insurance from the first day of work, as the contributions are deducted from the very first day. If you will have any healthcare-related costs while waiting for your Kela card, you will have to keep the receipts and prove of payments. You many later apply for reimbursement of the costs, once the positive decision on Kela coverage has been issued.
EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD (EHIC)
Also, we recommend applying for the European Health Insurance Card. It is a document which proves that you are entitled to receive public healthcare benefits in any (other than your home country) EU country, EEA country, the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Switzerland. The card entitles you to receive necessary and unscheduled medical treatment within the public healthcare system of a particular country and to use it under the same conditions as the citizens of such country.
If you are still unsure how the Finnish social security and healthcare system works, visit the Kela website or ask one of our HR coordinators. They will be happy to guide you on this matter.