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Social security and healthcare in Finland

Picture of a nurse in Finland offering healthcare services

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 do social security and healthcare in Finland work? 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, tax revenues, social security contributions, and funds paid by the state to the municipalities finance social security. The municipalities are responsible for the healthcare and social security of their residents. In order to use such support, you need officially register 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 various support and aids.

What is Kela, and how do they help you?

In Finland, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA, Kansaneläkelaitos, in Finnish) is in charge of providing economic and social security for everyone living in Finland.

KELA offers the following assistance programs, among others:

  • parental benefit
  • housing benefit
  • child benefit
  • coverage of treatment costs

When you move to Finland, you have to apply for social and healthcare coverage by filling in a few forms. You need to include details like personal information, the reason for moving to Finland, and the time of the move. You will also need to share who you are moving with. We also encourage our employees to attach their employment contracts to the application forms. It is also important to answer the question of whether another country’s social secure covers you. An EU citizen can’t get social security in more than one country at the same time. This is because of bilateral social security agreements between EU member states.

If you move from a non-EU country to Finland, a decision is made if you can get social security benefits. The decision is made after checking if you have a place to live and a permit to stay for at least a year.

You are a permanent resident of Finland, if you

  • have lived there before
  • are related to someone who lives there permanently,
  • have a job contract in Finland for at least two years.

Healthcare services in Finland

As mentioned before, the municipalities organize primary healthcare. 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 center. Our employees can use the service in case of illness. Our work accident insurance covers our employees while at work or on their way to or from work.

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, the insurance covers you from the first day of work. The contributions are deducted from the first day. If you have any healthcare costs while waiting, you will have to keep the receipts and proof of payments. You may later apply for reimbursement of the costs once the positive decision on Kela coverage has been issued.

Also, we recommend applying for the European Health Insurance Card. The card entitles you to receive necessary and unscheduled medical treatment within the public healthcare system of a particular country. You can use it under the same conditions as the citizens of such a country. You can visit the EU’s site to learn more about the card >>

If you are still unsure how the Finnish social security and healthcare system works, check out the KELA website. If you’re an employee of Barona or some other company, it’s always good to ask your HR for further instructions. They will be happy to guide you on this matter.

Jobs in Finland

Check out our open jobs or fill out an open application to get started on your way to Finland.

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