Applying For The European
Health Insurance Card (EHIC) In Finland

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With so many beautiful lakes, superb alpine and cross-country skiing adventures, evergreen forests and deep woods, the cleanest waters anywhere in the planet, and the famed Korvantunturi – the home town of Santa Claus – it is not surprising that Finland plays host to more than 4 million tourists every year with a great majority of them coming from the European Union member countries as well as those from the European Economic Area. Whether they are visiting the capital city, Helsinki, or other major Finnish urban centers like Tampere and Jvayskyla, just to name a few, there simply is a lot of things that foreign tourists can do. Helsinki has been fondly referred to as the golden daughter of the Baltic- it may be small but pretty much comes alive with many bustling activities. Jvasklya has been called by Lonely Planet as the Mecca for lovers and fanatics of architecture all over the world because of its huge collection of Alvar Aalto infrastructures and buildings.

If you visit Finland, you must be equipped with one little document that can help ensure you have the greatest holiday vacation in this pearl of the Baltic – the European Health Insurance Card or as its formerly known, the E111.

The EHIC can be easily applied for by any citizen of the countries that have signed an agreement with the European Economic Area. This organization is typically comprised of the 28 members of the European Union and the 4 members of the European Free Trade Association. However, Switzerland is not a signatory to the EEA but is a member of EFTA and since it has multiple bilateral relations with EU member nations, its citizens are also entitled to apply for and receive the benefits of EHIC.

Applying for an EHIC is as easy as logging onto your country’s state healthcare portal or whatever official agency is handling the national health insurance system. It is free of charge. However, there are companies that provide value-added services in addition to the application of the EHIC but for a certain fee. For some individuals this might be a good idea.

The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to the same medical treatments or health care that citizens of the different member nations that have the EHIC are receiving. For example, if you are a UK national and you visit Finland, then you are entitled to receive the health care services that all Finns receive from their government. Please do take note that this is a government to government arrangement and as such you cannot expect EHIC to cover your medical expenses for services obtained from private institutions, organizations, or practitioners. So, if you do get ill – have a fever, stomach upset, or injure yourself – while on a holiday in Finland, Switzerland, or any member country of the EEA, make sure to seek medical treatment from a healthcare provider duly sanctioned and covered by the national health insurance system of that country.

This also implies that, if you are going to visit any member country for the sole purpose of getting treatment for your illness or medical condition, then EHIC will not be able to cover you. The same is true if you visit overseas just for the sole reason of giving birth, then EHIC will not cover you. Nonetheless, you will still be able to receive the appropriate health care that your need but you will have to shoulder the expenses yourself. It is also for this reason that EHIC should not be made a substitute for your private and personal health or travel insurance. Your private insurance will help cover for the medical and health-related expenses that you might incur during your holiday vacation in Finland or any other EEA country and Switzerland.

While the state health services may not be free in most cases, often depending on the type of service that you require, it is nonetheless more inexpensive than usual. You may have to shoulder some of the expenses initially but these can also be refunded or reimbursed by your own insurer. In some countries, you can reimburse your medical expenses while still on holiday. In other countries, you can only reimburse your medical expenses upon your return from your holiday vacation. So it is often a good idea to learn which system exists in the country that you’re visiting.

If you are visiting Finland to enjoy its beauty, make sure to bring with you your EHIC. Make sure every member of your family has their EHIC as well. This helps remove the worry of maintaining wellness while traveling.