Sweden Health Insurance
The complete guide!

How does the state health insurance system work?

The healthcare system is funded out of taxes, and the Swedish have the highest GDP spend in Europe on healthcare, at just over 11%. Only a small amount of funding comes from patient fees.

Everyone is eligible for treatment under the Swedish system (Försäkringskassan), but you may find that you have to pay a small amount for some services; for example, you might need to pay about 200 kr (the equivalent of €18) to see your doctor.

As with other nations, an increasingly ageing population is putting strain on healthcare and the repercussions of this are shown in longer waiting times.

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Who is eligible for state healthcare?

If you are planning to move to Sweden, and are intending to be resident there for more than one year, you may need to prove to the authorities that you have some private cover to protect you in the time that it takes to get you registered and to set up your Swedish ID number (your ‘personnummer’).

If you are coming from the EU, your EHIC card will entitle you to the same treatment as a Swedish citizen.

If you are not from the EU, and you are going to be staying for less than a year, you will not be eligible for an ID number and will therefore not be entitled to healthcare either. In this case, you might need to take out private cover, depending on whether your home nation has a reciprocal medical agreement with Sweden.

How do you apply to join the state health insurance system?

You won’t need to undergo any formal application process, whether through your workplace or if you are self-employed, as everyone is covered under Sweden’s healthcare system, whether native-born or expat.

What is covered by the state health insurance system?

Treatment under the Swedish system is comprehensive and you will find that as an expat you are entitled to:

  • primary healthcare
  • inpatient hospital care
  • outpatient hospital care
  • prescription medication
  • preventive services
  • rehabilitation services
  • disability support

Other forms of treatment may require private health insurance cover.

Are retirees covered by state medical insurance?

Yes, retirees are covered under the national scheme, provided that they register.

Are students covered by state medical insurance?

Students from the EU, EAA or other Nordic countries will be covered if they have an EHIC card.

International students from outside these areas will be eligible for national health insurance if they are staying in Sweden for over a year. If you are in this category and will be in the country for less than 12 months, you will not be eligible for an ID number and thus will need private cover. However, check whether your country has a reciprocal health agreement with Sweden, in which case you will be covered as long as you take your passport and a certificate from your own country’s social security department when seeking treatment.

You may also be able to sign up to Kammarkollegiet’s FAS plan for overseas students, which will allow you access to the national system and entitles you to:

  • disability and death benefits
  • medical and dental care
  • home transport
  • third party liability
  • legal expenses

The scheme is free of charge.

Will your family be covered by your insurance?

Yes, your family will be covered under the state scheme as long as they are registered and have personal ID numbers.

Is dental treatment covered by state health insurance?

Basic dental care is covered by the national insurance as follows:

  • Provided you have a valid card you pay the full cost up to 3 000 SEK. From 3 001 SEK to 15 000 SEK you pay 50% of the cost; over 15 001 SEK you pay 15% of the cost.
  • Patients under the age of 24 are treated free of charge.

Private health insurance may be required to cover more advanced or complicated dental procedures.

What are the contribution rates for state health insurance?

Contributions will be taken directly from your salary.

Why buy private health insurance?

Because the national system is so comprehensive, only around 10% of Swedes take out private cover, and this is mainly to speed up access to treatment. The system prioritizes emergency cases and says that it tries to keep waiting times within seven days for an appointment at a healthcare centre, and no longer than 90 days to see a specialist. Records suggest that the latter policy is working with nearly 80% of patients.

Some companies have arrangements with private health insurers, so check with your workplace to see if this is the case.

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What is covered by private health insurance?

Private health insurance gives you access to the same range of medical treatment as you will find under the state system.

How much does private health insurance cost?

Numerous variables can have an impact on the cost of private health insurance in Sweden.

The most important variables are:

  • Age (the higher the more expensive)
  • Area of cover (i.e. just Sweden or other areas too? If those other areas include any of the US, the Caribbean, Singapore, China, Hong Kong or Dubai this can significantly increase the overall price)
  • Product choice (higher end insurance products are more expensive)

Other variables include:

  • Deductibles
  • Co-insurance
  • Payment frequency
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence

As so many variables have an effect on the cost of private medical insurance in Sweden 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.

Which companies offer private health insurance?

The following providers operate in Sweden:

  • Allianz (ACGS Nordic)
  • AXA
  • Bupa Global
  • Cigna Global
  • Pacific Prime

International Health Insurance Denmark have offices in Copenhagen, but cover Sweden as well, if you are looking for more local private cover.

Glossary of health insurance terms

doktorer - doctors

hälsoförsäkring - health insurance

Jag har ett EHIC-kort - I have an EHIC card

privat sjukförsäkring - private health insurance

specialist i… - specialist in

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