Healthcare in Norway
About 35% of Norway’s state budget goes into its health and social welfare system hence citizens are assured of financial support during illness, old age and unemployment.
The healthcare 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."
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.
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 healthcare 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.