The healthcare system in Finland: a detailed guide for expats

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The healthcare system in Finland: a detailed guide for expats

Finland has a public (universal) healthcare system, which means that everyone can receive medical care and other related services here. However, depending on the purpose of the foreigner's stay and the country of origin, the conditions for obtaining such services and their cost may differ. Find out more about the healthcare system (public and private), health insurance, emergency services and medical tourism in Finland


Finland is an attractive place to move to for many expats, because the country is a world leader in the quality of life index and has been in the top of the happiest countries in the world for many years. In addition to fantastic nature, clean air and the best education system in the world, the state also has high indicators for the level of development of the healthcare system. The country offers its residents free or low-cost medical services.

Everything that foreigners need to know about the healthcare system and health insurance in Finland, we have collected in our guide.


General description of the healthcare system in Finland


In Finland, the public health care system, also known as the universal health care system, offers services to everyone living in the country. Health care in Finland is financed by the state through taxes and social insurance payments. Patients pay only a small co-payment during visits to the doctor.

In general, state policy is focused on disease prevention and health promotion. The healthcare system in Finland is considered to be of high quality. Although waiting times for secondary care can be long (up to 3 months), as in any public health care system in the world, all primary care centers offer telephone consultation. There you can describe your symptoms and get an urgent consultation before seeing a family doctor.


Who can receive medical care in Finland?


- Finnish citizens and permanent residents

Public health care is available to all permanent residents of Finland, regardless of their financial situation. Primary care services are provided by municipal health centers (terveysasemat), and specialized care is provided by district hospitals (sairaalat).

All residents of Finland are issued a Kela Card (Finnish social insurance card), which confirms their right to social security and national health insurance in Finland. Kela Card also provides discounts on the purchase of medicines. However, it is only available to people who have lived or worked in Finland for more than four months and have registered with the National Health Insurance (NHI).


- Citizens of the EU/EEA or Switzerland

Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are entitled to public healthcare in Finland if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).


- Representatives of the rest of the world

If you are not a citizen of the European Union, it is important to take out health insurance before visiting Finland. This will allow you to use private medical services in the country. Citizens of the European Union can also purchase travel insurance before traveling if they prefer private healthcare.


What medical services are provided by state primary care centers?


- Consultation of a therapist, and for the treatment of chronic diseases, patients can be referred to specialized specialists.

- Health consultations (maternity care, medical examinations, advice on contraception, etc.).

- Screenings and vaccinations.

- Dental services.

- Health care of pupils and students.

- Mental health services.

- Emergency treatment.

- Care services at the patient's home.


Specialized assistance in the health care system of Finland


Specialized care in the Finnish healthcare system is highly effective and affordable. The system focuses on providing individual treatment options for patients with certain diseases.

For example, there are specialized hospitals and clinics dedicated to the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health. These institutions are equipped with advanced equipment, and highly qualified specialists who specialize in these areas also work here. This ensures that patients receive the best care for their specific needs.

In addition, the Finnish healthcare system emphasizes early intervention and prevention, allowing people to receive specialized care before their condition worsens.


Private healthcare system in Finland


The private sector of the health care system in Finland consists of primary care centers, dental offices and specialized specialists. However, because the public health care system is highly developed, the private sector is relatively small. However, expats living in Finland often prefer private medical facilities as they offer shorter waiting times, especially for specialist medical care in Finland, dentistry and physiotherapy services.


The best private medical institutions in Finland


List of private institutions that provide qualified assistance in the treatment of various diseases:


- Q-medical – specializes in dental services.

- Orton - specializes in diseases of the musculoskeletal system and prosthetics.

- Docrates – specializes in oncological diseases.

- Felicitas Mehiläinen – specializes in midwifery and artificial insemination.

- Helsinki Hospital - specializes in surgery (orthopedic, plastic, maxillofacial, removal of malignant tumors).


Emergency services in Finland


Expats can dial 112 for emergency medical assistance in Finland.

If necessary, the hospital concerned will send an ambulance as a priority to collect the patient. The National Health Insurance will take care of the costs of the ambulance.


Pharmacies in Finland


Unlike many countries, in Finland you cannot buy medicine in any shop. Only pharmacies have the right to sell medicines on the territory of the country. The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) is the authority that issues licenses to these pharmacies and regularly monitors their activities in Finland.

In addition, pharmacists in Finland are highly educated and qualified professionals who can offer guidance on the correct use of medicines. To access prescription drugs, patients must first obtain a prescription from a physician. In addition, pharmacies in Finland offer a wide range of over-the-counter medicines and health and self-care products.


Medical tourism in Finland


  Finland is recognized for its high-quality healthcare system and specialized medical expertise. The country offers a wide range of medical services, including orthopedic surgery, cosmetic procedures, dental treatment and reproductive health.

Medical facilities in Finland are known for advanced technology, qualified medical staff and adherence to strict quality standards. The country's focus on patient safety, efficient healthcare processes and patient-centered care have contributed to the country's growing popularity as a medical tourism destination.


The health care system in Finland is developed at a high level and provides citizens and expats with appropriate services. The state should also be considered as a center of medical tourism.


We will remind you that in 2024, Finland was recognized as the best travel destination. The country is also famous for its work-life balance, which encourages expats to move here.






Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World


To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need health insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.





Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:


Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Finland;

Legal advice on business, tourismimmigration and education in Finland;

Travel insurance for foreigners in Finland;

Medical insurance all over the world;

Insurance for international students in Finland.




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