The Finnish Student Health Service FSHS
The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS; SHVS in short in Swedish, YTHS in Finnish) provides healthcare services for higher education students in Finland. All students must pay for the service annually, but are then entitled to free or low cost healthcare service. Remember to bring you student card with you to your appointment. If you travel elsewhere in Finland and need acute medical or dental care, you are entitled to use FSHS services also in other university towns. Smaller health centers are closed for summer months, June-August.
Please keep in mind that you must cancel your appointments the day before if you cannot keep it. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please cancel it via their webpage or by phone. For an appointment missed without cancellation there’s a penalty fee.
For more information about FSHS and up-to-date information about the fees, please visit their homepage.
The Student Health Care reform 2021
University students must for the first time pay the healthcare fee to Kela for the spring term 2021. You can now pay the fee through Kela’s e-service. The student union membership fee paid in the autumn did not include any healthcare fee for the spring term 2021.
Starting from January 2021, the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) will provide student healthcare services for all higher education students. Students who are entitled to use the services of FSHS are students who have registered as attending and who are completing a bachelor’s or master’s level degree in a university or a university of applied sciences. Exchange students, students in open university and students in tailor-made, customer-specific training programmes are not entitled to use the services of FSHS starting from 1.1.2021. More information on student healthcare services reform is available on the website of the Finnish Student Health Service (YTHS).
Starting in 2021, students who are entitled to use the services of FSHS, including international master’s students, will pay a healthcare fee directly to Kela. Pay the healthcare fee to Kela if you have registered as attending for the spring term 2021 and you are completing a bachelor’s or a master’s level degree in higher education at a Finnish university. If you paid the student union membership fee in the autumn 2020, it did not include any healthcare fee for the spring term 2021. Students attending a university of applied sciences must also pay the healthcare fee to Kela starting with the spring term 2021.
In 2021, the student healthcare fee in higher education will be EUR 35.80 per term. The fee is paid to Kela once per term, i.e. twice a year. You are not billed for the fee but are expected to pay it unprompted. The healthcare fee can be paid via Kela’s e-service starting from december 2020, and must be payed latest 31st of January. The healthcare fee can be paid using a payment application in Kela’s e-service or as a bank transfer. Instructions for payment of the healthcare fee are available on Kela’s website. If you do not pay the healthcare fee by the due date, Kela will send you a reminder. If the healthcare fee is paid after the due date, a late-payment charge of EUR 5 must also be paid. If you do not pay the healthcare fee after having been reminded of it, Kela can withhold the fee and the late-payment charge from your study grant payments without consulting you. If the fee and the late-payment charge cannot be withheld from the study grant payments, the healthcare fee will be referred to the enforcement authority for collection.
The size of the healthcare fee will increase from the beginning of 2021, but that will infer that you will no longer need to pay visitation fees when you visit the FSHS. In the end, the changes are not that big for the normal university student. The biggest change is that the fee will be collected by Kela, instead of the Student Union. There will also be some changes in the supply of healthcare services e.g. some specialist doctors like gynecologists will no longer be at FSHS, but you will receive remittance to another healthcare facility. Check here for more information. In Turku the FSHS will remain in its current location at Kirkkotie 13, while in Vaasa it will move to the same location as Vaasa University of Applied Sciences and Novia University of Applied Sciences at Wolffintie 27-31.
You are entitled to use the student health services to the end of the term for which you have registered as attending. If you graduate during the term, you are entitled to use the student health services to the end of the term in question. The website of the Finnish Student Health Service (Finnish abbreviation YTHS) provides information about health services for students.
Masters Students who study remotely
If you are completing a higher education degree at a Finnish higher education institution, you have to pay the healthcare fee for the months of attendance even when you pursue studies abroad. Where you live is not important.
In the current situation, some of the international students study remotely from their home countries. Unfortunately, if you’re required to register as attending at your university in Finland during a term (spring and/or autumn) then you’ll need to pay the FSHS fee by law, regardless if you use or don’t use FSHS’ services and regardless if you’re studying physically in Finland or elsewhere. However, Kela pointed out that even if your studies are being done abroad for some period, then FSHS’ remote services will be at your disposal anyway, which minimizes the worry of “paying for nothing”.
Under the law, only students who are pursuing a degree in a Finnish higher education institution and are registered as attending for the current term are eligible for student health services. If you are an exchange student from another country, you are not pursuing a degree in a Finnish higher education institution, and are thus not eligible for student health services. EU citizens can use the public healthcare services. Students from other countries must have private health insurance.
Students from the EU or ETA are expected to at least have the European Health Insurance Card if not also private insurance. Students from outside the EU, ETA, Canadian Quebec and Australia are expected to have a valid health insurance.
We are working closely with both the National Union of University Students in Finland (SYL) and local health care directors to make sure that the reform will go smoothly. SYL has also been in contact with Kuntaliitto (Association of Finnish Municipalities), whose manager manager of health care pointed out that municipal health care providers are already used to exchange students in their services since exchange students of universities of applied sciences have already been in their services. This is of course a new situation for university based exchange students, but fortunately a routine for municipal health care already exists.
The healthcare services available for exchange students
Exchange students have the same right to the Finnish healthcare as other foreigners who live in Finland (more information here). From the municipal healthcare, exchange students can only get urgent healthcare. Therefore, to get non-urgent healthcare, exchange students need to have health insurance for the whole stay in Finland. However, students from the EU/ETA countries or Switzerland can get necessary healthcare from the municipal healthcare by showing the European Health Insurance Card.
In Finland, the patient always has the right to urgent care from the municipal healthcare, regardless from which country they have come to Finland or why they are in Finland. For urgent care, go to the joint emergency services of the Turku region or Vasa Region, or the City of Turku or City of Vaasa health stations.
Non-urgent care is only available from the private healthcare sector at your own cost and requires health insurance. For instance dental care depends fully on the extent of your insurance. Students with the European Health Insurance Card can use the municipal healthcare centers.
The Act on Student Health Services for Students in Higher Education that comes into force on 1 January 2021
Starting 1 January 2021, Kela will have administrative responsibility for providing health services to higher education students, including the collection of a healthcare fee. Starting 1 January 2021, the Finnish Student Health Service (YTHS) will provide services not only to students of traditional universities but also to students of universities of applied sciences.
The fee is used to finance health services for higher education students. The State finances 77% of the health services for higher education students and the rest, 23%, is financed through the healthcare fee. The amount of the fee is specified in a Government decree, which will be issued annually.