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Healthcare In Norway

According to the United Nations Development program (UNDP), Norway is one of the most fabulous nations you can live and work in. With its wonderful work and healthcare balance, it is a premier destination for expats from the UK. Healthcare in Norway is efficient but expensive when compared to other European nations.

However, thanks to the individual equality exercised by the Government, citizens and expats get the same quality of healthcare services - both in the private and public sectors - as the locals do, for the same costs.

Norwegian National Insurance Scheme

Public healthcare is funded largely by the Norwegian Government through the funds it collects from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). It is mandatory for every Norwegian resident to annually contribute to the NIS as required, locals and expats alike.

British citizens can directly apply for an Insurance Card online, which is free if they have a valid resident permit in the country. The insurance premium is determined according to the age, gender, work environment and general health of an individual and may vary from person to person.

Public Healthcare Facilities

The Government supports all its residents, including expats and students staying here for more than a year, with excellent public healthcare facilities made available. These facilities are not completely free, but are heavily subsidized and funded through the NIS and the Government healthcare budget. You also have "free card" facilities by the Government, where all your medical expenses above NOK 2000 are borne by the NIS.

Dental care in the public sector is however, not funded by the NIS and you have pay for your treatment or opt for private medical insurances that cover dental care costs. The "free card" is not applicable for dental care.

You are free to search for any doctor or specialist you like. You may change your doctors two times a year. A list of all the registered medical practitioners can be found at www.helfo.no.

Although the public healthcare in Norway is top notch, you are subjected to long waiting periods (sometimes for up to a month or two) before you get an appointment with your preferred practitioner, unless you are need emergency treatment.

Private Healthcare Facilities

Norwegians and expats are increasingly opting for private practices, not because the medical facilities are better than public ones, but to avoid the long waiting times. Most private practitioners grant you appointments in a day or two and tend to you immediately. However, they can be really expensive. Moreover, they are not covered by the NIS and you'll need to invest in private medical insurance to cover your private practitioner consulting and treatment costs.

Pharmacies

Pharmacies are found all around Norway and are open all day and sometimes, all night as well. There are two kinds of prescription medications you get at pharmacies- "the white class" which are free medicines and "the blue class" which are paid medicines. Public healthcare prescriptions are white whereas private healthcare medicines are blue. Medicines in Norway are highly subsidized for both public and private sectors.

For emergencies, you may want to contact 113 for an ambulance or 22 93 22 93 for immediate medical consultations.

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