Social and health care client fees

The government directs the policy on social and health care client fees through legislation. The purpose of the policy is to ensure that the fees are kept at a reasonable level and they are not an obstacle to using social and health care services. The policy also aims to prevent the inappropriate use of services.

Depending on the service:

  • social and health services are free of charge, or
  • there is a client fee which, depending on the service, is either fixed or depends on the client’s income and family relations.

The maximum fees for municipal social and health care services are laid down in the Act on social and health care client fees and the corresponding Government Decree. Municipalities may opt to use lower rates or to provide services free of charge. Municipalities may not collect fees that exceed the production cost of the services.

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

Adjustments to fees

A client who is dissatisfied with the amount of the fee may request the institution responsible for the service to adjust the fee.

As regards to social care services and health care services where the fee is determined according to the client’s ability to pay, municipalities must reduce the fee or refrain from charging it, if charging the fee would undermine the income or statutory maintenance obligations of the client or the client’s family.

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

If clients fail to pay the fees for social and health care 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 fees?

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health does not handle complaints, appeals, objections or other matters relating to client fees in an individual case.

If you have detailed questions about your client fees or, for example, about 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.