Social and health care client fees

Fees paid by social and health service clients account for about 9% of the funding of social and health services.

The government implements policy on social and health client fees in line with legislation. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that fees are kept at a reasonable level and are not an obstacle for clients to obtain services. The policy also aims to prevent the inappropriate use of services.

Social and health services are

  • free of charge, or
  • the client fee is the same for everyone, or
  • the client fee is determined according to income and family

The maximum fees charged for municipal social and health services are stipulated in the Act and Decree on social and health care client fees. Municipalities may opt to use lower rates or to provide the relevant service free of charge. Municipalities are not permitted to collect fees for services above the amount that the production cost of the services.

The fees for public services have an upper limit per calendar year, beyond which clients to do have to continue paying fees. This does not apply to short-term institutional care.

Adjustments to fees

If clients are dissatisfied with the size of the fee, they may apply a payment adjustment for a service from a corresponding institution.

Municipalities must reduce or not charge fees for social care, and determine health care fees according to clients' ability to pay, if charging them will undermine the income or statutory maintenance obligations of clients or their families.

Clients may also receive income support for paying social and health services. But fee reductions or waivers take priority in terms of granting income support.

If clients fail to pay client fees for social and health services, they may have to pay interest and the sums may be subject to a debt recovery enforcement order without a court ruling.

Client fees reviewed biannually

Client fees are reviewed every two years.

The following indexes are used in revising client fees:

Fee   Index
Fees for continual home nursing and home services based on income levels Occupational pensions index
Social and health care fees

Annual deductible limit on payments for pharmaceutical
National Pension Index

Do you have questions about client charges?

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health does not handle objections, complaints or appeals or matters relating to individual client charges.

If you want to ask in more detail about your client charges or, for example, about matters relating to the annual payment ceiling, please contact either your municipality of residence or the health or social services unit where you received care or service.

If you feel that you have been mistreated or need advice on your rights, you may contact the patient ombudsman or social welfare ombudsman of your municipality of residence or joint municipal authority.