Healthcare in Norway

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One of the best healthcare systems in the world

Norway’s healthcare system is predominantly financed by the government and administered by each kommune (municipality), with both public and private services and facilities. Anyone who contributes to folketrygden, the country’s National Insurance Scheme (NIS), can use its services. If you are eligible you will get full reimbursement of all costs associated with childbirth, treatment of children under the age of 16, and treatment of any work-related injuries. Parts of your healthcare costs will also be covered by the scheme, although you do have to “co-pay” a small fee for certain things like GP appointments or prescription medicines.

Before you can take advantage of the healthcare coverage, you’ll need to be registered in the National Register (folkeregister) as a resident of your local municipality. If you’re planning to work in Norway for a year or more you’ll automatically become a member of folketrygden from the moment you start paying taxes.

Specialist care

Healthcare in Norway is divided into primary and specialist services. Your regular GP is responsible for referring you to a specialist, so they should always be your first port of call. However, unless it’s urgent you may end up waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and several more months to see a specialist. Many people prefer to take out private health insurance as they can skip out the middleman and will be seen by a specialist much faster. When you choose a package with a private healthcare association such as Cigna Global, all specialist consultation fees will be paid in full, including intensive care by a specialist for as long as medically required.

Pharmacies

Each district ensures there is always one apotek, or pharmacy, open around the clock. You can find out the opening hours from the pharmacy itself or by calling directory assistance on 180. All prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs are available in Norwegian pharmacies. The amount you have to pay for the prescription depends on whether it is “blue” or “white". You will get a blue prescription if you are suffering from a chronic illness and need medicine or special treatment for three or more months a year. Patients pay 39 percent of the cost of blue prescriptions (up to 520 kroner per prescription); you will have to pay white prescriptions in full, although fees may be covered if annual costs exceed 1775 kroner.

Jacqueline Tollaksen