In January 2021, UAS students’ healthcare will be transferred to the Finnish Student Health Service, or FSHS. The FSHS expansion is the result of the student movement’s long-term advocacy work. Starting in January, ALL UAS degree students will be required to pay the FSHS fee to Kela twice a year. What do you get for this fee and what does the FSHS expansion mean for the average student?
The FSHS is a foundation founded by university students in 1954 to provide healthcare to university students. The FSHS therefore predates the creation of the Finnish welfare state, which began in the 1960s. The old status quo in which university students’ health care services have been provided by a foundation specializing in student healthcare, while UAS students have been in the municipal healthcare system has long been perceived as unfair. UAS and university students have been working for over a decade for the FSHS expansion, and now it is coming to fruition in January.
With the new Health Care for Higher Education Students Act coming into effect on January 1st, 2021, UAS students will be transferred to FSHS healthcare. As a result, all degree students must pay the FSHS fee on Kela’s website twice a year. The deadline for the spring semester’s payment is January 31st.
The fee is not linked to the use of the services, so it must be paid whether or not you use FSHS’s services. The spring 2020 fee has not yet been confirmed, but it will be around 35-40 euros.
So what do you get for this payment? FSHS provides primary healthcare and oral healthcare services to students. Examples of services include health screenings, mental health services, sexual health promotion, laboratory and imaging studies, and vaccinations. Emergency services are not part of student health care, so FSHS does not provide them. The FSHS is also responsible for identifying the need for special student support and referring students to further care as needed. FSHS will not charge an appointment fee for their services from the beginning of 2021.
I have occupational health services available through the workplace. How do I benefit from FSHS? It is worth getting acquainted with what the FSHS has to offer even if you use occupational health services. The FSHS specializes in student health care, and there may be something in their services that is not covered by your occupational healthcare plan. For example, few occupational healthcare plans include dental care, so FSHS is definitely useful here.
I am already receiving care on the municipal side. What is going to happen to me? Although UAS students will be transferred to FSHS healthcare, the right to use municipal services will remain. So you can choose to continue the care you are receiving on the municipal side if you want. If a student states that they wish to transfer his or her care relationship to the FSHS, the FSHS will appoint a team to discuss the transfer of the student’s care with municipal actors.
Why do all degree students have to pay the FSHS fee? 77% of FSHS funding comes from the state and 23% from students. The fact that all degree students pay the FSHS fee ensures that the fee remains affordable and that the services are available to all higher education students.
FSHS also does a lot of work that may not be visible in students’ daily lives, but which nonetheless affects students’ well-being. The foundation does a lot of research and supports student organizations in their work for the well-being of students. In addition, FSHS cooperates with educational institutions to promote student well-being. These benefit all students!
During the rest of the month, we will cover the FSHS expansion weekly on our blog. Next week, we will delve deeper into the FSHS payment!
You can read more about the FSHS on their website: https://www.yths.fi/en/frontpage/