Healthcare in Iceland



Iceland’s estimated total inhabitants of 335,000 enjoy a healthcare system that is regarded as one of the best and most efficient in the world. The local government allocates a considerable amount of the national budget to maintain quality medical facilities and services that will benefit not just the locals but expats as well.

Icelandic residents receive one of the best medical services in the region as reflected in the high life expectancy rate in the country. Iceland has the 2nd longest life expectancy in Western Europe at 82.36 years, after Switzerland’s 82.70 years. It also ranked 3rd among 34 OECD countries for longevity, tailing Japan and Switzerland. 80% of the Icelandic healthcare funds come from general taxation while another 15% comes from service fees. The highest government institution in Iceland that is in charge of managing the national healthcare system is the Ministry of Welfare which was establish in January 2011 as a result of the merger of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Health. 

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

Expats planning on moving to Iceland should be aware that the country does not have a private healthcare sector. All residents, locals and expats, are insured under the public healthcare scheme thru the Icelandic social insurance system. The universal pension in Iceland is primarily financed by the employer (8.65% of gross payroll) and the government (finances any deficit). Self-employed individuals are mandated to contribute 8.65% of their presumptive income to the universal pension scheme while an employed individual contributes 4% of his gross earnings. Those coming from EU/EEA and Switzerland can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Iceland for free or subsidised emergency medical services.

Benefits from the Icelandic Health Insurance

Expats are required at least six-month residency to receive the country’s universal pension benefits. Aside from healthcare insurance, the Icelandic government also provides residents coverage for old age, disability, bereavement, sickness and maternity, workers’ medical needs, and work-related injuries. The Icelandic Health Insurance also provides coverage for:

  • Maternity clinics
  • Nursing in the patient’s home
  • Physiotherapy
  • Prescription drugs
  • X-ray and radiation
  • General medical assistance outside a hospital ordered by a physician that has a contract with the Icelandic Health Insurance
  • Hospitalisation abroad

Doctors and Hospitals

Expats in Iceland are required to register with a GP once they have applied to the health insurance system. There are many doctors in this country, but most of them are concentrated in the main cities such as Reykjavík, the capital. Members of the health insurance usually cover a minimum fee, which is decided by the Ministry of Welfare, for visiting a doctor or a specialist while the remaining cost is shouldered by the state.

All hospital admissions and a majority of the outpatient appointments of expats in Iceland are paid for by the health insurance system. Iceland is divided into several healthcare districts whereas each has its centre that is responsible for the needs of the residents within the area. Hospitals in Iceland are classified into three categories: specialised teaching hospitals, general hospitals and community hospitals. This country has numerous high-end medical facilities and some of them are: 

101 Reykjavík, Iceland

Tel: 543-1000

Eyrarlandsvegur, 600 Akureyri, Iceland

Tel:  +354 463 0100

Heilbrigðisstofnun Ísafjarbæjar Torfnesi

Tel: +354 450 4500


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