Health

Living in Europe | Health insurance, Medical care | Norway

Norwegian health policy aims to ensure that everyone, irrespective of their personal finances and where they live, has access to good health and care services of equal standard.

Healthcare services are financed by the government, through the National Health Insurance Scheme and with patient charges.

Health care in Norway

As a general rule, anyone residing in Norway is entitled to health care under the National Insurance Scheme, but coverage for services may vary.

Health care services and coverage
Nationals of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland are legally entitled to coverage for necessary medical assistance under theEuropean Health Insurance Card scheme, and pay patient charges (patient fee or egenandel) according to the same rules as Norwegian nationals. Citizens of non-EU/EEA countries should have travel insurance that covers medical care.

If you are employed as an adjunct professor at a Norwegian institution and will be staying in Norway for one or more shorter periods during the course of a year, you are entitled to the same health care coverage as permanent residents of Norway.
If you are an employee of a Norwegian institution during the period or an adjunct professor who will be staying in Norway for one or more shorter periods during a year, you are entitled to full health care coverage in Norway.

Coverage for individuals employed by a foreign company who are planning a research stay at a Norwegian host institution is to be provided under the social security scheme of their home country or through an insurance policy. The European Health Insurance Card scheme provides proof of coverage for EU/EEA nationals, while citizens of non-EU/EEA countries must have health insurance.

If you are not under an employment contract (in Norway or abroad) but are providing your own funding, have a mobility grant or the like, you will normally not be entitled to health care coverage in Norway. You should, therefore, ensure that you have health insurance. You may apply for voluntary membership of the National Insurance Scheme, which may require you to pay national insurance contributions in Norway.
You will qualify as a resident if you intend to stay in Norway for over 12 months or choose to relocate permanently to Norway. Residents with a Norwegian national identity number are entitled to full health care coverage under Norwegian law.
  • The main online resource for health-related issues is: Helsenorge.no , where you will find more information about healthcare services and rights.

 

General practitioners

The majority of people who reside in Norway are entitled to a regular General Practitioner (GP). This means that you can have only one primary doctor who will provide primary and ongoing medical care. For more information see:

Anyone residing in Norway who has been issued a Norwegian national identity number is entitled to a regular GP (fastlege). You can find and register with a GP on the website Bytte fastlege (Change GP)(in Norwegian) where an overview of available GPs is provided. Children under the age of 16 are entitled to use the same GP as their parents.

Individuals with a regular GP (fastlege) in Norway are to contact their doctor first. If you are staying in Norway temporarily and do not have a GP, you can go directly to an emergency department if you require medical attention. The organisation of emergency medical services differs from municipality to municipality. Emergency medical personnel or your GP can provide a referral to a hospital or specialist if necessary.
  • Call your GP during opening hours.
  • Call the out-of-hours medical service at 116 117 if your GP is unavailable and you are unable to wait.
  • Call 113 in case of an emergency.

Patient charges and eHealth services

You will have to pay patient charges up to a certain amount for all your healthcare services in Norway. How this works is explained below. Norway is developing its eHealth services rapidly and these services now include an electronic prescription service and a summary care record.

You must pay a patient charge for most healthcare services in Norway. Children under the age of 16 and pregnant women are exempted from paying patient charges. The fee varies according to the healthcare service rendered, and there is a ceiling to the total amount of patient charges you must pay in a calendar year. Once this ceiling has been reached, you will receive a healthcare exemption card in the post, exempting you from paying patient charges for the rest of the calendar year for services approved for refund.
Electronic prescriptions were introduced in February 2013, so everyone in Norway can pick up medicines at any pharmacy in the country. There are two online tools you should know about when moving to Norway: My Prescriptions, which allows you to get an overview of the medicines/items assigned to you if you have received one or more electronic prescriptions, and Kjernejournal (Summary Care Record), which contains selected and important health information that can be used in case you need urgent medical assistance.

Private health care and other health services

Private healthcare is not uncommon in Norway, but only accounts for a small portion of overall healthcare services. There are many private clinics that are not directly encompassed by the National Insurance Scheme. In addition, healthcare services such as dental treatment or optometrist examinations are private services normally covered by the patient. There are several special services for children, youth and pregnant women. You will find information about these in the section on public health centres.

There are several private healthcare facilities in Norway. Common to all of them is that they are not part of the National Insurance Scheme. Therefore, you must be prepared to pay a substantial amount or use private health insurance to cover your expenses if you choose to use their services. When Norwegians use private health services it is usually because they want to avoid long waiting times for GPs or specialists or because they would like to have additional medical back-up in case of an emergency or conflicting medical opinion.

Dental treatment is a private health service in Norway and is normally covered by the patient, with the exception of certain types of dental disease or injury. Your dentist will assess whether you should seek reimbursement for dental treatment from the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (Helfo). For more information see::
Expenses in connection with treatment by a psychologist (i.e. a specialist in clinical psychology) may be covered in part. This will require a referral from your GP and you will normally have to pay the patient charge. You are entitled to receive coverage for an evaluation of up to three sessions by a psychologist without a referral.
Optometrists in Norway are authorised healthcare personnel and have the right to refer directly to an ophthalmologist. Optometrist services are a private health service in Norway and are covered by the patient.

Children and youths up to the age of 20 and pregnant women receive a number of free health services from public health centres and school medical services. These services include check-ups, vaccinations, health information and guidance. The centres also engage in outreach activities. Contact your municipality for more information. Children in Norway are normally vaccinated at public health centres according to a standard vaccination programme.

 

Health at work

Working conditions are regulated by legislation and agreements such as the Basic Collective Agreement. More information on this topic may be found on the Labour Inspection Authority’s websiteSafety and health. It is possible to submit a self-certification when you get sick.

In general, provided that you have been employed for at least two months, you may submit a self-certification for the first three days you are ill and absent from work without any deduction in your salary. Beginning on the fourth day of absence, a doctor’s certificate is required and you will receive sickness benefits from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). If you have been employed for less than two months, a doctor’s certificate is required from the first day of absence. A maximum of four self-certifications for three-day absences (i.e. a total of maximum 12 calendar days) is permitted during a 12-month period. A number of research institutions have signed the Agreement on a More Inclusive Working Life (IA Agreement) under which employees are granted up to 24 calendar days of self-certified absence during a 12-month period. For more information see: