For the fist time in Finland, higher education students attending a traditional Finnish university or a university of applied sciences (UAS) and who are entitled to use the services of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) must pay a healthcare fee to the Social Security institution (Kela).
In 2021, the student healthcare fee in higher education will be 35.80 euros per term. The amount of the fee is specified in a Government decree, which will be issued annually.
The students have been able to pay the fee since 30 November 2020 either through their bank or the Social Security's electronic service. But according to Kela's figures, just 90,000 students have paid the fee so far. Another 164,000 have not yet paid it. Kela warns them that they could face surcharges or even garnishments if they don't.
In the week of 11 January 2021, Kela is sending a letter about the healthcare fee to students who registered as attending by early January 2021 but have not yet paid the fee. The letter will inform them of their liability to pay the fee and explain how to pay it.
The letter will not be sent to those students whose payment is done.
Students not billed
According to Kela, students are not billed for the 35.80 euros fee but "are expected to pay it unprompted."
Students who register as attending for the spring term but do not pay the healthcare fee by 31 January 2021 will get a letter from Kela reminding them to pay it. They will also be charged with an additional 5 euro late fee.
If a student does not pay the healthcare fee after having been reminded of it, Kela can withhold the healthcare fee and the late fee from study grant payments without consulting the student.
"If the fee cannot be withheld from the study grant payments, the healthcare fee will be referred to the enforcement authority for collection," the Social Security agency warns.