Finland Medical Insurance
Finland is a country of distinctive geography and even more remarkable citizenry. Finland is located in the north-east of the Baltic Sea, bounded by Sweden to the west, Norway to the north and Russia to the east. At 338,424 km²sq ft, Finland is the 8th largest country in Europe and with a population of just 5.4 million, residing primarily in the south, it is the most sparsely populated nation on the continent. Finland is the most heavily forested country in Europe and also home to 187,888 lakes. The climate calls for cold winters and warm summers whereby the Gulf Stream has some influence. Its capital city, Helsinki, is the northernmost capital in the EU.
Finland incorporates both an extensive public health care system as well as private and occupational supplemental options. The Finnish constitution mandates that public authorities shall guarantee for everyone adequate social, health and medical services and promote the health of the population and best possible quality of life for all and to reduce differences in health. Patients can expect good facilities and efficient service (3.25 doctors per 1000 patients) under the Finnish system. This is evidenced in Finnish children consistently having one of the lowest rates of infant mortality in the world.
The majority of Finnish health care services are provided through the municipal health care system. Municipalities are legally required to organize adequate health services for their residents. There are currently 336 municipalities in Finland. To fund medical services, municipalities levy taxes and receive state subsidies to cover shortfalls. Specialist care in the municipal system is provided by 20 hospital districts, each of which is owned and funded by its member municipalities. Each hospital district has one or several hospitals, one of which is the central hospital.
The national administration defines general health policy guidelines and directs the health care system at the state level. In addition to the public municipal system, occupational health care schemes provide a distinct form of care run through employers covering both preventive services and primary health care, even though occupational services are often actually delivered by private or public municipal providers. About 6% of Finnish doctors work in occupational health care.
Finns may, and often do, purchase supplemental private health insurance, which guarantees them quicker access and more choice. Currently 20% of children, but only 5% of adults possess some form of private Finland Health Insurance. More than 10% of Finnish doctors earn their living solely as private practitioners. About one third of doctors run a private practice in addition to working in a hospital or health centre. Most private practitioners work in group practices.
The mandatory national health insurance scheme reimburses some of the fees paid by patients to private doctors, the costs of prescribed medicines, and travel costs arising from the treatment of illness. Finns can receive partial reimbursement for private health care services and purchase of outpatient pharmaceuticals through the obligatory National Health Insurance (NHI) system. All Finnish doctors are covered by the reimbursement system, which is administered by the Social Insurance Institution. As with all nationalized medical schemes, good access for its citizens is bought at the price of waiting lists and lack of choice in treatment. Variances in the level of medical treatment available between urban and rural municipalities should also be expected.
Health centers vary greatly in size. The largest employ hundreds of doctors and provide highly specialized services. In health centers in remote areas, doctors have to be able to cope with emergencies as well as offering basic health care. Attached to each health centre there is usually a hospital for people with mild or chronic illness, a small laboratory, a radiological unit and a physiotherapy unit. Finland has five university hospitals. These provide the most advanced medical care, including highly specialized surgery and treatment for rare diseases. The university hospitals are also mainly responsible for the clinical training of medical students, and for medical research.
Finland spends less on health care than most other EU member states. Healthcare outcomes now are close to matching EU averages, showing a steady and marked improvement over the last 30 years. This is due both to the efficiency of the system and to the relatively low level of wages in the health care sector in Finland. However, a number of factors including an aging population, lower levels of medical graduates from universities, and changing expectations within the Finnish population mean that these positive trends look to be unsustainable. The government is implementing several rounds of sector-wide reviews of funding and provision aimed at cost cutting and strengthening Healthcare organizations to standardize provision across the nation.
If a visitor is suddenly taken ill or involved in an accident during a trip to Finland, treatment is available at the same subsidized cost as for Finnish citizens, provided the visitor is from the European Economic Area and can present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive insurance is advised for all other nationals. Check with your country's health department to see if a reciprocal cover agreement is in place with Finland. You may need private traveler’s insurance or an annual health care service policy to cover any medical costs incurred during your stay in Finland.
Prospective campers should take precautions against tick bites and certainly consider immunization against tick-borne encephalitis if visiting the Åland Islands. Mosquitoes are a pest during the damp summers, particularly in the north.
Pacific Prime will consult and offer a wide range of policies to meet your individual needs should you plan to travel to Finland. We offer a wide variety of health care plans and travel insurance policies with possible benefit packages including dental, maternity, inpatient, outpatient, specialist consultations, and many more. Please contact our professional advisors today for a free quote and enjoy the security that our extensive Health Insurance Plans can provide.