An increasing number of municipalities in Finland are levying the highest permitted customer fee for a doctor visit, according to a recent study by the Health and Welfare Institute (THL).
In 2018, 70 percent of Finns lived in a municipality that charged the maximum fee stipulated in health centre regulations for seeing a doctor. In 2016, the corresponding figure was 44 percent.
Typically, municipalities can charge residents for three doctor visits per year — a maximum of 20.60 euros per visit. The study found differences between the fee collection methods of municipalities — with nearly half of Finns living in municipalities, where they also have to pay for treatment by a nurse.
THL investigated the customer fees and collection practices at health centres in 2013-18.
New govt programme aims to reduce fees
The healthcare fee cap was raised significantly in early 2016 — the maximum cost of a visit to a health centre was hiked from 16.10 euros to 20.90 euros. Following this, index adjustments have been made for payments.
The new government in its programme has set a goal of renewing the Act on social and health care client fees, as it intends to expand the scope of free services available and reduce fees.