What is health insurance?
Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that pays for medical and surgical expenses incurred by the insured. Health insurance can reimburse the insured for expenses incurred from illness or injury, or pay the care provider directly.
A student must have insurance
Health insurance is one of the obligatory requirements you will need for obtaining a residence permit for studies. If you are not insured by an insurance system from your home country, you should obtain insurance from a private insurance company. You are strongly advised to purchase good medical and accident insurance before your arrival at the University of Helsinki and Finland in general.
Your health insurance must be valid upon your entry to Finland and your residence permit will only be valid for as long as the health insurance that you buy. Also when applying for an extension for your residence permit, you must have valid health insurance.
Citizens of Third-Countries
If you are a citizen of a third-country, i.e. you are not a citizen of one of the EU countries or a citizen of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, and you arrive in Finland for the purpose of studying, then you are required to have health insurance, if the period of study lasts for more than three months. The requirement is the same for degree-seeking and for visiting/exchange students. Students from Quebec (Canada) are also exempted from the health insurance requirement.
- Your insurance must cover medical expenses up to 100,000 euros if your studies in Finland last less than two years. The reason for this is that you are usually not granted the right of domicile, i.e. a home municipality in Finland, and therefore are not entitled to municipal health care services.
- Your insurance must cover medical expenses up to 30,000 euros if your studies in Finland last two years or longer. A student who studies for at least two years is usually granted the right to domicile, i.e. a home municipality in Finland and is therefore entitled to municipal health care services.
- In both the above mentioned cases the insurance deductible must not exceed 300 euros.
- Do not take out regular travel insurance. It is meant for holiday trips lasting less than three months.
- Make sure not to terminate your insurance policy, or you will have to cover your medical and hospital expenses yourself.
Where to get the health insurance before applying for a residence permit for studies?
- You can take out the insurance abroad from an insurance company in your home country or ask for a suitable insurance from an international insurance company. Finnish embassies and consulates and the Finnish police can provide further advice.
- You can, for example , look into the following insurance providers which offer international health insurances for students:
- The Marsh Belgium company’s Marsh Student Insurance Program
- The French company Assurances Courtages et Services (ACS)
- AON Student Insurance
- The US company International Student Insurance
- The Swiss insurance company Swisscare – ESI Finland plan
- For more detailed information about the type of coverage you will need and its cost, please visit the insurance providers website. Any questions about this insurance should be directed to the insurance provider.
- Getting insufficient insurance cover may result in a delay in getting your residence permit on time.
(Any questions related to whether your insurance is sufficient, please contact the Finnish immigration officials directly).
- Each insurance and its terms and conditions are assessed individually when the residence permit application is examined. The insurance policy must at least include:
– validity of insurance
– geographical area in which the insurance is valid
– insurance coverage
– amounts of benefit
– possibility to continue the insurance if it is valid for less than a year
For all European citizens, the European Health Insurance Card is a necessity: it simplifies the procedures for any medical assistance needed during your temporary stay in Finland.
European Health Insurance Card
Those with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) do not need separate insurance. According to EU legislation, you can have access to health care at the same cost and under the same conditions as people living permanently in Finland.
By presenting the European Health Insurance Card, you can prove your right to necessary medical treatment in another EU or EEA country and in Switzerland. With the card, you can get medical treatment if you become suddenly ill or have an accident. You can also get medical treatment if you have a chronic illness that requires medical attention. The card also gives access to necessary treatment during pregnancy and childbirth.
The European Health Insurance Card is recognized within the public health care services as well as by private doctors and hospitals that have signed a health insurance agreement. More information on the European Health Insurance Card can be found on the website of the European Commission.
Finnish Student Health Service
The Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) provides preventive health care, medical care, mental health care, and oral health care for Bachelor and Master’s students at the university. In order for you to have access to the FSHS services, you must be a member of the Student Union (HYY). However, the right to use Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) does not exempt you from having a health insurance.
For more information on the FSHS services, opening hours and possible fees please see the FSHS website.
Text: International Student Ambassador Basma Ragab