Expensive private healthcare and long queues for surgery are causing Finns to travel to private hospitals in nearby Estonia. Despite the fact that if something goes wrong it may be difficult to receive compensation, the affordable rates in Estonia are proving a big enough draw and a risk worth taking for Finns.
Dental clinics in Estonia have attracted Finns for many a year, but now Estonian private hospitals are also seeing an increasing number of Finns queuing up for outpatient surgery.
New businesses such as Medimatkat in Estonia’s healthcare sector are offering a greater challenge to Finland’s private sector. Among the treatment it offers is operations for knee joint keyhole surgery, gall bladders and varicose veins.
Medimatkat general surgery specialist Konstantin Fleidervis, who previously worked in Finland, said patients across the gulf suffer from long queues and an inefficient healthcare system.
In 2012, Finnish social security firm Kela paid more than 350,000 euros in compensation for health insurance for services purchased in Estonia.
Medimatkat’s Finnish partner Medifi Healthcare Travels’ Kimmo Paananen is of the opinion that even more Finns will travel to Estonia for healthcare treatment in the future. He explained that Finland’s healthcare sector does not offer enough competition, which results in outpatient surgery remaining so expensive, while treatment in Estonia can be just a third of the price it is back home.
However, to date there is no patient insurance system in Estonia which means customers must sort out their own damages in the event of an accident.