Most of the people who live or work in Norway are mandatory members of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (Folketrydgen) which allows for patients to receive medical care completely subsidized by Norway's admittedly high taxes (around 8-11%), loosely translated as "public benefits fee" (trygdeavgift og Folketrygden). This is regardless of nationality, and a very centralized system. Employers are responsible for registering their employees with the program.
Health centers (helsesenter), located in most communities, handle routine medical needs for plan members. In order to see a specialist, it is necessary to first see a general practitioner and receive a referral. Norway also offers special clinics for baby care (helsestasjon)in which children under school age are weighed and measured on a regular basis and given the necessary immunizations. Nurses are also available to answer questions and discuss concerns.
A common issue with nationalized health care is long wait times and this is true for Norway as well. The average weight for a hip replacement is more than 4 months. Approximately a quarter of all patients referred for hospital admission have to wait longer than three months for admission. Also, care can be denied if it is not deemed to be cost-effective.
This system also ensures members retirement pension, disability pension and dependant's pension, as well as compensation for occupational injury.
Norwegian's can opt out of the public insurance option and pay out-of-pocket. This allows people to travel abroad for medical care when waiting lists are long. Another benefit is that private patients generate higher earnings for medical professionals, and may be treated with care. A private patient can also more easily request a doctor who speaks their native language.
Cosmetic surgery in general needs to be provided for by private insurance.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Oslo is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Norway. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Norway: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Norway, visit our partner APRIL International