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.
In case of a medical emergency in Finland, dial 112. After moving to Finland, locate your nearest pharmacy, medical center, or hospital.

Save These Phone Numbers in Case of Emergency

General emergency number 112
Emergency health care for children
(Children's Hospital, Helsinki)
+358 9 4711
Fulbright Finland Foundation +358 44 5535 286
U.S. Embassy 24/7 Emergency Phone Number +358 9 616 250 (select 0)

 

General Medical Care and Emergency Care

In Finland, people can choose between the free public and private healthcare. Normally, Fulbright grantees have used the private health care clinics and university student health care services. Fulbright grantees have very rarely used the public health care in Finland (usually only in a case of a emergency), because they don't normally belong to the Finnish social security system and thus they are required to pay high fees for the services.

Make sure to locate the nearest health clinic and find out their opening hours upon your arrival to your host town. Clinics in Finland do not automatically provide documentation in English, so it is important to ask that separate as you will need it for your insurance company.

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

Examples of private health care providers:
Mehiläinen and Terveystalo.

Students

Finnish Student Health Services (FSHS) and the healthcare fee for students in higher education

Eligibility

You are entitled to Student Health Services in Finland if you are a bachelor’s or master’s degree student at a university or a university of applied sciences in Finland.

Please note that the international exchange students can not use FSHS services (as of 1st of January 2021).

As a general rule, doctoral students and post-doc scholars do not have access to the Student Health Services.

Those ineligible for the Student Health Services need to use a private health service provider if they fall ill. Reimbursement of the medical expenses can be applied for from Seven Corners, the ASPE insurance provider, according to their policy.

Services provided by FSHS

The FSHS (YTHS in Finnish) provides a wide array of healthcare services such as examinations, laboratory tests, imaging examinations, oral health services, psychiatric care, physiotherapy, sex counselling etc. Booking appointments in advance is usually required.

The FSHS provides information, guides, and services in Finnish, Swedish, and English.

FSHS Fee and payment instructions

To be eligible for FSHS services, students must pay the healthcare fee to KELA, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.  The fee will cover all FSHS services, no other charges for services or appointments are applied. In 2021, the student healthcare fee in higher education is EUR 35.80 per term. It is paid to KELA once per term (spring and autumn), i.e. twice a year. Students are not billed for the fee but are expected to pay it unprompted.

How to pay the student healthcare fee

  1. The healthcare fee can be paid via KELA's e-service (in Finnish): Hakemukset ja ilmoitukset > Korkeakouluopiskelijan terveydenhoitomaksu
  2. In the e-service, you will be directed to your online bank to effect the payment, or you can print the payment details for later use.
  3. If you cannot use the e-service for instance because you do not have Finnish online banking credentials, please pay the fee to KELA as a bank transfer. You can find KELA’s bank account number from their website (link below).

Please see detailed instructions on paying the student healthcare fee on KELA’s website.

Scholars and Professionals

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).

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 country. 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 Transition to a New Country and Culture

Moving to a new country and culture is a big transition and at the same time it can be a great experience and opportunity. It offers you a chance for a fresh start. You have the opportunity to meet new interesting people and to explore a new culture and different ways of living, thinking, and being. Moving to a new country also comes with interesting, exciting, frustrating, and puzzling situations. You might run into situations you experience for the first time.  It’s normal to have questions and concerns as you navigate this new adventure. Since you are new to the country and just creating your local network, please always remember to utilize the extensive network of contacts provided by the Fulbright Finland program when feeling lonely, anxious, frustrated, or even happy.

Effects of the Winter Season

The winter is coming. Make sure to spend time outside during the daylight hours or 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 fatigue at the Finnish student health service website:

Vitamins

A full range of vitamins are available in Finnish pharmacies and health food stores, but you may find them more expensive than in the United States. It is 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.