The health care system in Norway has both public and private medical services. The Norwegian government finances the public health service. There are public medical clinics in communities. Most communities also have first aid stations (legevakt). Residents set up an appointment first with the general practitioner, who will then refer the patient to a specialist.
According to Statistics Norway, "the life expectancy is 77 for males and 82 for females. After World War II, tuberculosis and other communicable diseases claimed the most number of lives. In 1960-70s, cardiovascular diseases became the most common cause of death." Today, the instances of these diseases have diminished.
For more information on Norway's health, visit the World Health Organization's (WHO) site: http://www.who.int/countries/nor/en/.
If you have an existing health insurance policy before moving, clarify with the medical insurance company that your coverage is valid in Norway, and if emergency costs such as medical evacuation and hospital expenses will be taken care of.
Expats can attain health insurance in Norway through their tax deductions to the Norwegian Social Insurance Scheme. As soon as your social security number (fødselnummer) is issued, Norwegian Labor & Welfare (NAV) will send your health card with a letter indicating that you are assigned to a particular general practitioner or doctor for future consultation and treatments. If you wish to be under another doctor's care, you may visit the government services portal online (http://www.nav.no - look for Min Side ("My Page") to make the alterations) or call on 810 59 500.
Take note that you must find a new doctor on your own and you may only change doctor twice a year.
Public Health Service
Public health care in Norway is manned by regional health agencies. Medical facilities are of a superior quality and most doctors can speak English. However, emergency cases in remote areas may be subjected to long travel, especially if the patient has to be transported via ferry across fjords.
Most treatments, in-patient care and medication cost nothing except for the non-refundable consultation fee. A specialist will charge a higher amount than a general practitioner, but it is typically within the 100 NOK range.
You have to buy your own medicine unless the recommended medication is on a blue prescription (for recurring conditions). However, you only need to pay 36% of the total cost, with a maximum of 360 NOK.
The high cost of dental care gives you no reason to smile. However, children, elders and disabled may consider themselves lucky as they get free dental care. Once your child turns 3 years old, you receive an appointment letter to take your child to the communal dentist office. Make sure to reschedule if you are unable to make the appointment, otherwise your child will be removed from the system and are no longer entitled to free dental checkups.
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