Health and Medical Care

Finland has a very high standard of public health and cleanliness, with very few endemic or wide-spread diseases. Finland’s infant mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world, medical care is free and universal.

Tap water is clean and drinkable throughout the country. Local fruits, vegetables, and fish, whether purchased from shops or outdoor marketplaces are clean and of high quality, though it is always best to rinse fruits and vegetables before eating.

In case of medical emergency in Finland, dial 112. All emergency numbers and instructions can be found in telephone directories.

General emergency number: 112

General Medical information 24h/day
(09) 10023

Emergency health care for adults
(09) 3106 611

Emergency health care for children
(09) 10023 / (09) 4711

Foreigner's crisis center
(09) 6851 828

Fulbright Center
(09) 5494 7400

U.S. Embassy
(09) 616 250


If you fall ill
(Not an emergency)

Students (Bachelor & Master) & University of Helsinki visiting scholars:

Contact your local FSHF/YTHS center (appointments during office hours) or contact a private health care provider (evening and weekend appointments often available) and apply reimbursement from Seven Corners (ASPE).

Ph.D. students and Scholars (Core, Distinguished Chair, MCPD, FDAT etc.):

Contact a private health care provider (evening and weekend appointments often available) and apply reimbursement from Seven Corners.

 

On this page

General Medical Care and Emergency Care

There exists a double system in Finland. People can choose between the free public and private healthcare.

Fulbright grantees are not in general eligible to use the Finnish public health care services, because they are residing in Finland temporarily and should instead use private health care clinics.

However, in the case of an urgent health care issue, temporary residents may use the public health care centers and emergencies are treated by general admission to public hospitals. In the public health care system temporary residents usually pay higher fees for the treatment than permanent residents.

Reimbursement of the medical expenses (private & public) can be applied from the Seven Corners, the ASPE insurance provider according to their policy.

Examples of private health care providers:

Mehiläinen, Terveystalo, and Diacor.

Students

If you are registered in a Finnish higher education institution as a Bachelor's or Master's student you are eligible to use the Finnish Student Health Services (FSHS/YTHS) if you have paid the student union membership fee to a student union that is a partner of the FSHS.

Advance appointments to FSHS/YTHS clinics are usually required. General medical, dental, and counseling services are all available, as well as referrals for outpatient laboratory and specialist treatment.

Visiting scholars should inquire whether the university can include them in their medical program. Medical receipts should be kept for tax deduction or insurance claim purposes in the United States (including ASPE).

As a general rule PhD students and post-doc scholars do not have access to the Student Health Services and they need to use private health service provider if they fall ill. Reimbursement of the medical expenses can be applied from the Seven Corners, the ASPE insurance provider according to their policy.

Private Hospitals and Physicians

In the Finnish medical system the cost of hospital care will be charged to the patient. Dependents must also be insured. You may request a private room and private doctor, or enter a private hospital, in which case you will pay the itemized costs of all services. Be aware that the U.S. insurance provider may expect a more detailed itemized list of all costs associated with a hospital stay than the Finnish hospital customarily provides. Discuss this with both parties if hospitalization is necessary.

Doctors and nurses in Finland generally speak excellent English. The quality of medical care is high, and even private specialist fees, for both physicians and dentists, are much lower than those in the United States.

Prescription Drugs

If you require regular medication, consider bringing a medication with you, or getting a clear description of the generic name of the drug(s) for re-prescription by a Finnish physician. It is not possible to have prescriptions sent to Finland by mail, either by a person in the U.S. or any prescription mail-order services.

I discovered that Finland only allows a 3 month supply into the county. Persons staying more than 3 months, like myself, need to be aware that they can bring a 3 month supply; but will also need to have an idea of how they will obtain the additional medication needed for their stay.
Spouse of a Fulbright Scholar 2016-2017

The instructions you get regarding medications from IIE and CIES are general in nature. Country specific information differs. Check with your insurance company in the U.S. to see what their policy is on claiming medications.

Please note that the Finnish and American medical systems differ in regards to giving out prescriptions and medications. In general, Finnish society is not as heavily medicated as in America. You may require an examination before any prescriptions will be given. Many “over-the-counter” medications that you purchase in grocery stores or pharmacies in the U.S. are available in Finland only by prescription.

The apteekki (Finnish pharmacy) may carry some over-the-counter drugs such as throat lozenges, Tylenol, aspirin, etc. However, the grocery store will not carry these items.

Effects of the Winter Season

The winter is coming. Make sure to spend time outside when the sun is shining. 

Sometimes the dark period during the wintertime in Finland can make you feel tired and less energetic. Read more on how to tackle the fatigue at the Finnish student health service website:

Vitamins

A full range of vitamins is available in Finnish pharmacies and health food stores, but you may find them more expensive than in the United States. Its a good idea to take Vitamin D during the winter, since you will be enjoying a Vitamin D deficiency otherwise.

Start taking vitamin D supplements early to fight off the effects of the darkness in winter. Also consider getting a day lamp if seasonal affective disorder might be a concern. These made a huge difference for me.

-U.S. Student Grantee 2013-2014

Contact Lenses

Contact lens supplies are much more expensive in Finland than in the United States, and can only be bought from an optician. It is a good idea to bring with you as much as you think you will use during your stay.