The Finnish Social Security Institution (Kela) continues to struggle for university students to pay the healthcare fee, which this academic year applies for the first time.
Students attending a traditional university or a university of applied sciences (that is how Finland calls polytechnics) who are entitled to use the Finnish Student Health Service must pay a healthcare fee to Kela. The current academic term is the first in which students are required to do so.
The due date is 31 January 2021 for students who registered as attending for the spring term. According to the latest figures released by Kela, about 212,000 students paid the healthcare fee by the due date, while about 43,000 students have yet to pay it.
Kela has now sent the latter group of students a late payment reminder which includes a 5-euro fixed late fee, which is set by law. Students who paid the healthcare fee after the due date will get a reminder about the late fee.
The Social Security urges students who receive a late payment reminder to "pay the healthcare fee as soon as possible."
Withholding fee from study grant
For those who do not comply with the reminder, Kela may deduct both the healthcare fee and the late fee from their study grant payments without a formal consent process.
For students whose due date was 31 January 2021, Kela will withhold the overdue fees from their study grant payments for the month of April 2021. Students can also ask to have the fee withheld from some other Kela benefit.
If the fee cannot be withheld from the study grant payments, the healthcare fee will be referred to the enforcement authority for collection.