A Glimpse of the Finnish Private Healthcare Sector

Finland’s healthcare market is one of the fastest growing markets in the EU. With the continued collaboration between the public and private sector, along with service range expansions and developments in private companies, the private sector will continue to hold a key place in the healthcare system of Finland.

Finland is one of the least densely populated countries in Europe, enjoys high healthcare indicator ratings, and provides its population with healthcare provisions via a decentralized system. In 2014, 74.84 percent of the healthcare expenses were covered by public spending, and 25.2 percent by private spending. Although there was a slight decrease of public spending last year in comparison to 2013, the overall trend of previous years to forecasted future years, shows a stable general split of public to private spending of 75-25 percent.

Currently, the private healthcare sector is fore mostly active in primary care. Only between three to four percent of in-patient care is provided by the private healthcare sector; mostly in areas such as physiotherapy, dentistry and occupational health services.

In terms of location, there are typically a small number of private hospitals located in and around Finland’s largest cities. In a nation which is vast yet sparsely populated, it can be assumed that this is very deliberately done to increase the potential patient pool.

KELA, the Finish Government agency responsible for the National Health Insurance, helps pay a share of the healthcare costs of the private sector. It is not typical for a Finnish citizen to subscribe to additional insurance plans apart from the state provided insurance.

Some private insurance companies in recent years have started to focus on vertical integration, by offering complimentary healthcare services such as ambulatory surgery, diagnostics, and specialist consultations. New initiatives are popping up regularly in different healthcare branches, such as ophthalmology, physiotherapy, clinical labs and ambulance services.

Employers and educational establishments are obliged by law to provide occupational healthcare services for the people that they are employing, as well as to the students, when referring to schools and academic centers. Either public or private sector services can be used to supply this healthcare.

Most public hospitals and healthcare centers subcontract private physicians to augment the care capacity and service range that they can offer. Only around ten percent of the nation’s physicians work only in the private sector.

The SOTE reform, dating 2015 and to be implemented by 2017, aims to provide similar levels of healthcare to all Finnish citizens, to increase the quality and efficiency of healthcare, and to reduce administrative expenditures. Resulting from this reform, along with other government strategies and priorities, the private sector is likely to feel some pressures. The planned improvements in terms of capacity, resources and equipment in the public segment will reduce the attractiveness of the private providers and reduce their differentiating advantage.

Nonetheless, the private sector providers are formulating and implementing new business ideas and continue to grow. Some recent developments include:

  • The Swedish private equity house Adelis Equity partners has purchased a majority stake in the Finnish healthcare services outfit Med Group. Med Group is a wide ranging service provider, including ambulatory services, dentistry, ophthalmology and homecare.
  • Doctagon, the innovative Finnish homecare service has merged its home doctor branch with the domiciliary care provider Kodinavux, and named the new firm Stella.
  • In order to meet the demands of a fast growing elderly population, the private sector is creating a step-down market, and expanding homecare and domiciliary care

The government intends to improve regulations to facilitate more business opportunities and attract investment.

For further quantitative information on the Finland healthcare system and the macroeconomic climate, please look into our Business intelligence platform or order the TforG Deep Dive report for Finland containing volumes of 620 surgical procedures in 13 specialisms.