Finland's Parliament has passed legislation that will see an increase in the annual maximum limit on out-of-pocket medicine costs for citizens in 2024. The new cap, set at EUR 626.94, marks a notable rise from the previous limit of EUR 592.16, maintained for 2022 and 2023.
This annual limit represents the maximum amount that individuals are required to pay for reimbursed medicine expenses within a year.
After reaching this threshold, customers become eligible for additional reimbursement, significantly reducing their out-of-pocket expenses to a deductible of just EUR 2.50 per reimbursable product purchase. The goal of this policy is to ensure that medicine costs remain affordable for all.
The decision to increase the limit for 2024 comes after a two-year period of stability, where the cap was kept at the 2022 level, foregoing any index adjustment for 2023. The increase for 2024, approximately EUR 35, is relatively moderate considering that without the legislative amendment, the rise could have been nearly double.
One of the key aspects of this legislative change is its impact on the elderly population, who generally face higher medicine costs compared to younger demographics. According to Kela, Finland's Social Insurance Institution, the number of people exceeding the annual maximum limit is projected to grow by 12% in 2024, which translates to an additional 28,800 individuals benefitting from the increased cap.
In 2022, Kela's total expenditure on medicine cost reimbursements reached EUR 1.8 billion, reflecting a 3% increase (EUR 51 million) from the previous year. Reimbursements were provided to about 3 million people, accounting for roughly 55% of the population. Notably, over 282,000 individuals received additional reimbursements for their medicine costs, representing more than 7% of all customers purchasing reimbursable medicines.
This legislative move is a significant step towards easing the financial burden of healthcare costs for Finnish residents, particularly for the elderly, ensuring equitable access to necessary medications.