Because of long queues for surgery and expensive private health care at home, more and more Finns are turning to private hospitals in Estonia. However, in cases of malpractice, seeking compensation may prove difficult.
The affordable rates at Estonian dental clinics have long attracted Finns. Now More Finns are also crossing the gulf for outpatient surgery at Estonian private hospitals. New businesses in the Estonian health care sector are increasingly challenging the Finnish private sector. One such business is Medimatkat.
Among services offered by the Estonian company are operations for varicose veins, gall bladders and knee joint keyhole surgery.Konstantin Fleidervis, a General Surgery Specialist with Medimatkat, has worked in Finland, and says that patients here suffer from an inefficient health care system and surgery queues.
Kela compensates for Estonian services
Last year Finnish social security institution Kela paid over 350,000 euros in health insurance compensations for services bought in Estonia. Kimmo Paananen of Medifi Healthcare Travels, Finnish partner of Medimatkat, believes that health care travel to Estonia will only increase in the future.
In Paananen's view, there is not enough competition in the sector in Finland, which is why outpatient surgery is still so expensive here.An operation carried out in Estonia may only cost a third of the Finnish price -- and patients can also get Kela compensation for this.
On the downside, possible malpractice in Estonia could bring added headaches to patients, as Estonia does not yet have a patient insurance system, as is the case in Finland. This means that customers are left to their own devices to sort out damages, should an accident occur.