Denmark is divided into five organisational regions, co-ordinated by the central government. The regions run both the general practitioner system and the hospital system. Over 80% of the health system is funded from taxes and it is given a high percentage of GDP for an OECD country: over 10%.
Expats who are working in Denmark will make contributions into the national health insurance system via deductions from their salaries.
People living in Denmark are eligible for one of two kinds of health insurance. Most Danes fall into Group 1, which assigns clients a specific GP who will be paid via a combined capitation and fee-for-service model. Less than 1% of Danish residents opt for Group 2, in which you can choose your GP, but may have to make co-payments. If you are in Group 1 and you want to change your GP, you will have to pay in order to do so – about DKK 195.
You can also take out insurance with the state mutual insurance system “danmark” (Sygeforsikringen “danmark”), which covers glasses, dental treatment and some medicine.
If you are considering seeing a specialist, you will need a doctor’s referral first. You might also be entitled to an interpreter, although the standard of English spoken throughout Denmark is quite good.
You will usually have to pay part of your prescription – between 50-75%. Seeing a chiropractor or a psychologist may be subsidized, further to a referral from your doctor. Some alternative treatments are not covered under public health insurance.
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Everyone who pays into the system is eligible for state healthcare. If you are not registered and are from outside the EU, you will be able to access emergency care but will need private insurance to cover routine medical treatment.
You can register with your GP or with the civil registration office (Folkeregistret). Within a couple of weeks, you will be sent a health insurance card – your ‘yellow card’ (Sundhedskort). If you are in the Greater Copenhagen area, you will need to apply online.
Your yellow card will show your CPR number, and you will need to take it with you if you visit a doctor or a hospital. You will also use this card to take books out of the library, pay your taxes, and open a bank account: it is a general multi-purpose card. You are entitled to a yellow card if:
Your yellow card may take up to a month to arrive from the date of registration. Once you receive it, you are eligible for all the healthcare services enjoyed by Danish citizens.
You can also use your EHIC card, if you are a EU citizen, but you will need to sign up for health insurance in addition to this, as your EHIC is only supposed to be a temporary measure.
You may also be covered for some maternity care: Denmark covers ¾ of the cost of childcare.
If you are planning on visiting Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory, there is no private health insurance available but all treatment is free. Greenland took over healthcare from the Danish government in the early 1990s and it is more or less all publically funded, with the exception of some dental treatment and other outlying treatments, such as for drug addiction.
In the Faroe Islands, also a Danish territory, there is national health insurance and all treatment, with the exception of some elements like dentistry, is free. If you are working there, you are likely to have to pay into the national insurance scheme and it is deducted at source.
The national insurance scheme covers:
Other procedures or treatments may require private health insurance.
You will be covered by the national scheme if you are registered with the system. If you are British, you will be eligible if you have:
You will need to fill in an S1 form to demonstrate your eligibility.
If you are an overseas student, you can apply for an ID number (known as your CPR or Civil Person Registration number) through International House in Copenhagen. This will enable you to register with the national scheme.
Check with your employer that your family is covered under the national scheme. If they are from the EU, they will be eligible for national health insurance. They will need to be registered.
Your children will be treated for free if they are under 15.
Part of your dental treatment will be free, although usually you will be charged some costs. It is deducted at the time, not via a reimbursement system. You will be able to choose your own dentist, and if you have children under the age of 18, their dental treatment will be free.
Both employers and employees must pay national insurance. The amount that will be deducted from your taxes will depend on your income and depends also on the territory. Taxes in Denmark, as with most of Scandinavia, are quite high. Your contribution is usually about 8% of your gross salary.
Expats may want to consider private cover as an international extension to any existing home country health insurance they might have, as there are reports of long waiting times for some forms of treatment. However, this is balanced by the fact that there are not a large number of private facilities in Denmark.
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Taking out private cover will speed up your access to treatment and also in some cases to diagnosis. As is often the case with private medical insurance, it will cover areas not currently covered under the state system, like some forms of alternative therapy.
This will depend on factors such as your age and any pre-existing conditions, and the kind of package you opt for. Note that you may be eligible for Group 2 insurance, which is a form of state health insurance and not technically private, but which will open up access to some of the system for you: it is a kind of halfway house. Also, check with your employer, as some companies will have group packages with private insurers which are available to employees.
For those seeking international private medical insurance (iPMI) cover for multiple countries including Denmark, numerous variables can have an impact on the cost.
The most important variables are:
Other variables include:
As so many variables have an effect on the cost of international private medical insurance in Denmark it becomes very difficult to give accurate estimates without knowing the full details of the coverage required. However, as a very rough guide, using a standard profile of a 40 year old British male with no deductibles, no co-insurance, a middle tier plan/product, all modules included and worldwide coverage excluding the US, a ballpark price of around £4,000/$5,000 might be expected. Were coverage to be expanded to include the US then the premium could increase to almost double that amount.
The big international providers operate in Denmark, including:
Always request quotes for health insurance from as many companies as possible before choosing a provider.
Jeg har brug for offentlig sundhedsforsikring - I need public health insurance cover
Jeg har et EHIC-kort - I have an EHIC card
Jeg har privat sundhedsforsikring - I have private health insurance
Sundhedskort - yellow card
Sygeforsikringen “danmark” - state mutual insurance system “danmark”