Finnish healthcare is heavily privatized, and most people are ready to pay for public healthcare because they know about its huge benefits.
The international press thinks that Finland is a socialist state because working people and pensioners pay their taxes for security, safety, basic infrastructure and the basic services like education, health- and social care, care of the very young and elderly, and public transport.
They could not be more wrong, especially about healthcare!
All of the working population,(just under half of the population) are covered by the compulsory occupational basic healthcare, the relatively low costs (c. €1 billion) of which are approximately shared between employers (56%) and the government (44%). If a working person needs treatment or surgery in a hospital, then the treatment will be borne by the public sector in almost all cases.
Around 90% of the costs of public healthcare, from prenatal stages to care of the elderly right up to death, are covered by taxes with the rest paid with fees by the patients. The share of the costs paid for by patients is clearly on the increase from this 10%.
But in spite of the queues and the small differences in quality of the service around the country, this is a world-class service, that costs the same as the UK, per head of the population, and around half of what is paid in the USA per head of the population. And just recall that many poor Americans go without proper healthcare!
Just recall that Finland only has 5.5 million people – we miss the cost-efficiencies of those big countries, and yet we are still able to give a superior service at a reasonable cost from our taxes!
The most recent numbers from the public sector indicate that every Finn goes to the local health clinic 5 times a year on average. Children and students have access to free public healthcare…
… and it is estimated that well over 1 million of the population use private healthcare companies today and pay for the true costs out of their own pocket or from private insurance policies.
In summary, the diversified system works relatively well because we need to have a healthy, hardworking working population because we are a small country, with a cold long winter and highly dependent on exports facing tremendous competition from globalization.
This can only be achieved by smart healthcare , by preventive care, and by ensuring that employers and employees understand that they must take responsibility for staying relatively healthy. Education and good habits need to be understood and learnt.
In global terms it is a fantastic system that has developed over the years, with improvements being made all the time.
Finland, like many other European countries has an aging population with the baby-boomers, Those borne between 1944 and 1954 coming to meet St. Peter on average between 2030 and 2040. They will cause a small increase in healthcare costs as they near the end of their lives, but after that costs will fall again. Our second biggest worry is that we need more babies because the insecurity caused by the financial crisis decade between 2008/2018 reduced fertility. Things should start to improve on this front as the economies start to improve and the younger folk begin to realize that having children is a true treasure trove!