Healthcare in Sweden



Sweden’s healthcare has been consistently close to the top in cross-country comparisons conducted annually by The Commonwealth Fund. Here, expats can look forward to receiving healthcare services that are considered among the best in the world.

The cost of living in Sweden is one of the most expensive in Europe, but expats should not be worried because this country is renowned across the globe for its high standard of living and excellent healthcare system. In fact, the model of the Swedish healthcare is often copied in other countries because it strives on delivering nationwide programmes that aim at tackling issues such as improvement of the people’s well-being and access to health-related leisure activities. Though Sweden boasts a top-notch healthcare system, expats will be surprised that the government only spends nine percent of its GDP on this sector. The budget for medical facilities and services is not as high as other European nations have but Sweden still manages to deliver exceptional services to locals and expats alike.

Healthcare Coverage for Expats

Sweden’s universal healthcare covers all its nationals and legal residents including expats. Everyone that is under the umbrella of the Swedish healthcare system has access to state and publicly financed health services including:

  • in and out patient hospital care
  • primary healthcare
  • prescription drugs
  • dental care for children
  • disability support
  • rehabilitation services
  • public health and preventative services
  • homecare
  • patient transport and support services

Public healthcare can be accessed by EU and EEA nationals just like any Swedish citizens if they are covered by a health insurance in their home country. Foreign nationals who have a valid residence permit for one year and a national registration number can use public healthcare treatment at a reduced cost. If coming from a country without any reciprocal agreements with Sweden, one is advised to take private insurance. Having international health insurance in Sweden will help cover the costs of medication and treatment.

Visiting a Doctor

In contrast to other countries with state-run healthcare, patients in Sweden enjoy the freedom to choose their health professionals anywhere in the country. The government takes care of about 98% of the medical costs including consultation with specialists, hospitalisation, and laboratory fees, care for the elderly, disabled and psychologically impaired and maternity and paediatric care.

When ill, expats should go to their Vårdcentralen or local health centre that has nurses, doctors (GPs) and specialists. It is worth noting that consultation fees in Sweden are not free but are still heavily subsidised. The cost to see a primary care physician ranges from SEK 100-150 or USD 11-17, depending on the county. The amount that patient needs to pay for healthcare is limited to SEK 900 or USD 105 every 12 months. The cost for a normal GP visit for those that don’t have insurance is SEK 1,700-2,000 or USD 195-230. For patients aged 19 and above, seeing a dentist costs SEK 615 (US$87.36). Other dental services like fillings range from SEK 585 (US$83.10) to SEK 1,050 (US$149.15). Most dental fees are not reimbursed.

Hospitals in Sweden

Sweden has an estimated total of 60 hospitals that are all equipped with 24-hours emergency service, eight of which offer specialised services. The cost of outpatient care in this country is strictly regulated by the county council, but it usually costs SEK 80 or USD 10 for a day’s stay in the hospital. There are private clinics in the Stockholm area that cater to foreigners, but most of the hospitals in Sweden are public. Some of the top medical facilities in Sweden are:

Blå stråket 5, 413 45 Göteborg

Tel: +46 31 342 10 00

Karolinska universitetssjukhuset, 171 76 Stockholm

Tel: +46 8 517 700 00

Fjällgatan 44, 116 91 Stockholm

Tel: +46 8 714 65 00

Sjukhusbacken 10, 118 83 Stockholm

Tel: 3 April 1944


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