Ranked as the World’s Happiest place in 2020 by the UN, home of the Midnight Sun, and the best place to experience the magical Aurora Borealis, Finland is known as “Land of 1000 Lakes” (although it’s actually closer to 2000!).
In fact, there are many more reasons to plan a post-lockdown visit to this beautiful natural haven of forests (74% of Finland is covered by woodland) and lakes. If you’re into your wellness, or self-care, you’ll be in your element, as Sauna visits are a national pastime in Finland – you’ll definitely come across a good number of them on your visit, whether in the city, in the forest or by the sea! In fact, some saunas offer different types of experience – whether it’s a pampering visit including dinner, a “lumberjack sauna experience”, or a traditional “whisking”! You might even want to try out a Sauna Riverboat!
And if you’re a coffee fiend, you’ll feel right at home in Finland, as coffee-drinking is taken very seriously there, with a whopping 12kg of coffee being consumed per person every year!
Also home to the Moomins and their creator Tove Jansson, Finland has more than its fair share of culture, architecture and museums to explore as well.
If you can’t wait any longer to find out more, you can start planning your trip now, by checking out some of the virtual tours available.
The Finland Health Insurance Card, in case of medical emergencies/unforeseen illness, Post-Brexit
Prior to 2021, UK nationals travelling to Finland needed an EHIC card (as was the case for all travel to other European Union countries). The great news is that there is still a Finland Health Insurance Card available for free to UK citizens – called the GHIC card.
What a Finland GHIC Card is:
Put simply, a Finland GHIC Card or Spain GHIC card is a Finland UK Global Health Insurance Card. It replaces the EHIC card for UK nationals and is free of charge if you go direct to the NHS, and anyone visiting Finland from the UK can receive public healthcare at the same low rates that are paid by Finnish tax-payers, for unforeseen necessary medical or dental treatments.
Also, if you need any prescription medications and purchase these in Finland, then you will be able to claim reimbursement for these, via KELA (https://www.kela.fi/web/en/foreign-travel-and-medicine-expenses) – Finland’s equivalent organisation to the UK’s NHS.
Who will need to apply for a Finland UK GHIC Card:
All UK nationals who are planning to visit Finland should apply for a GHIC Card. This makes them eligible for access to public healthcare facilities (including dental treatment) for medically necessary treatments, whilst in Finland.
What the Finland GHIC Card covers:
With a Finland UK GHIC card and Sweden GHIC card, you’ll be covered for any unforeseen medical/dental treatment you might need, at a public healthcare/dental institution. You can also apply for reimbursement of charges for any prescription medication you need to buy whilst in Finland. And if you have to travel to a medical facility, you’ll also be able to apply for part of your travel costs. What’s more, if the doctor who’s treating you decides that you should be accompanied by another person at your treatment, then you will also be able to claim reimbursement of their travel costs, for the journey you make together.
Is additional Travel Insurance needed, with a Finland GHIC?
Yes. Whilst the Finland Health Insurance Card covers you for treatment at public medical facilities in Finland, it doesn’t cover you for other emergency aid. Things like Mountain Rescue, or emergency flights back to the UK for medical reasons, would all need to be covered by your own Travel Insurance policy. So just as you would with any other foreign travel, it’s important to make sure that you are also separately covered with Travel Insurance when you visit Finland. A Finland GHIC Card and separate Travel Insurance policies are both important, as they both cover you for different things.
How to apply for a GHIC UK Global Insurance Card:
It could hardly be easier! Applications for the GHIC like Austria GHIC card are currently being processed through the existing online EHIC portal. And the good news is that if you already have an EHIC username and password, your existing account will still be valid!
If you haven’t yet registered for an EHIC account, the process is super simple!
The cost for a GHIC:
GHIC cards are in fact free of charge and can be applied for via the NHS’s website at https://www.ghic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do if you’re a UK national living in the UK.
However, if you would like assistance, or someone to check over your GHIC application, we can help you with this for a fee.
UK Nationals living in Finland:
There are a few different scenarios here, depending on your circumstances.
If you register as a resident of Finland, you can receive a Kela card, entitling you to public healthcare (at a subsidised rate).
If you’ll only be temporarily living in Finland, you can still apply for a GHIC.
You may also have the option of applying for a UK S1 form. If so, you’ll then be able to register with the Finnish State system Kela. This option is also available to some people drawing a UK State pension whilst living in Finland.
Finland GHIC Q&A’s
Does the Finland UK Global Health Insurance Card mean that I can access publicly funded treatment free of charge?
If you’re under the age of 18, then yes, most healthcare will be free of charge. But for people over 18, presenting your Finland GHIC card (and another form of identification) means that you will be charged a subsidized lower cost – at the same rate paid by Finnish nationals.
I have an EHIC card which hasn’t passed its expiry date – do I need to throw it away and apply for a GHIC?
If you have a valid EHIC card, you can continue to use it until its expiry date. However, if you take a trip to Finland after the expiry date, you would need to submit a Finland GHIC application to get a new card (up to 6 months in advance) to ensure that you are covered for medically necessary treatment during your stay.
What happens if I go to a private healthcare provider whilst in Finland? Would I need to pay the whole bill with no help?
Initially, you would need to pay the full costs of the private healthcare you receive, as the Finland Health Insurance Card does not cover private healthcare costs.
However, you won’t be left paying the entire bill yourself. You would actually be able to apply for reimbursement of necessary medical treatments, up to 6 months later. You could do this at KELA (which is the social insurance institution in Finland) or via the NHS. Reimbursements for private healthcare treatments are made at a standardized rate, according to the type of treatment you receive, so the amounts won’t necessarily match the cost per treatment that you’ve paid – but would be more reflective of the cost of treatment under public healthcare.
And of course, you would need to supply your receipts for the charges you’ve already paid, when submitting your claim. So don’t forget to keep those receipts safe – it might be a good idea to take a copy or photo of them straight away, just to be safe!