Norway has universal health coverage, and its public healthcare is administered by Helfo (The Norwegian Health Economics Administration).
Although healthcare in Norway is heavily subsidised by the government, it is not free. Patients are required to cover the costs of treatment themselves upfront, though this is capped yearly at 2,040 NOK (149 GBP).
Local municipalities in Norway organise primary healthcare, and are responsible for overseeing their own spending. The government manages specialist care, which is administered by health authorities in the different regions of the country.
Services included in the public healthcare system are:
Mental health services
Outpatient prescription drugs
To access Norway’s public healthcare system, you must be a registered resident. This is a requirement if you have been living in the country for over 3 months. Once you have been registered, you will receive an ID number.
As a resident, your contributions to state healthcare are made through the National Insurance scheme. If you are employed, this is via your employer’s payroll, which you will be enrolled on automatically. Self-employed workers also make contributions to this scheme.
As healthcare costs are capped annually at 2,040 NOK, you only have to pay up to a certain amount for medical treatment.
Once you have spent up to this limit, you can receive an exemption card. This allows you to access free medical care for the rest of that period. It is important to note that some fees, such as for medical equipment, do not factor into the exemption.
Below are some examples healthcare costs for different medical services:
For outpatient services in hospitals: you could look to spend between NOK 267-375 for treatments.
When seeing your family doctor: fees for seeing a doctor can vary between the daytime and the evening. For example, for a consultation/primary care service with a GP in the daytime, you could expect to pay 160 kroner, but in the evening this goes up to 280 kroner. Overall, out of pocket costs range between 69 kroner and 395 kroner.
Dental services: these are free for children up to the age 18, but not for adults. It is up to dental surgeries how much they charge for fees.
There is an extensive public healthcare system in Norway, but you do have the option of purchasing a local insurance plan. This can give you faster access to medical care and other services. In some cities, there are out-of-hour clinics you can attend that require payment for treatment.
Another option is to purchase an international health insurance plan. If you’re an expat, this could be beneficial to you, allowing you to receive treatment in your area of cover, as well as access to high quality medical care.
The vast majority of hospitals in Norway are public, and hospitals that are private do not offer primary care.
The country has 20 public hospital trusts, so has a large network of hospitals to choose from, which will provide you with acute medical care and other medical treatment should you fall ill.
If your treatment is planned, you may have the choice over which hospital you receive medical care at.
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