Are you ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure? Starting a new life in Sweden means discovering bustling metropolises, vast forests, polar landscapes, all the while embracing the Lagom lifestyle.
Sweden is also home to one of the most efficient healthcare systems in Europe and provides all the comfort and security that you’ll need on your new journey. But how does the Swedish healthcare system work? How can Foyer Global Health improve your expat experience?
A decentralised health system
Sweden’s decentralised health system is managed at three different levels (national, regional, and local), and is mainly tax-funded (municipal and regional taxes). At the national level, the Ministry of Health sets the overall health policy and the agenda for its regional and local implementation.
At the regional level, 21 county councils are responsible for, among other things, ensuring access to healthcare for residents; they also run most of the primary healthcare centres (vårdcentral) where various medical specialties are grouped together, as well as the hospitals. At the local level, the municipalities manage certain health services such as care for the elderly.
In Sweden, digital healthcare is available throughout the country. As part of its e-Health Vision 2025 to become Europe’s digital health champion, it has set up a telephone hotline (1177) and a national health portal (https://www.1177.se/) to facilitate the exchange of information between patients and healthcare providers — enabling patients to take medical appointments online. Several start-ups, such as Kry, provide Swedish residents with a digital platform to quickly access health professionals and get their medical subscriptions online.
A personal identification number (known as personummer) allows you to benefit from Swedish public healthcare, but also acts as your Swedish identification number (you’ll need it to open a bank account, get a phone contract, etc.). You can obtain the personummer once you have registered with a local branch of the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket).
How much does basic health insurance cost in Sweden?
Anyone living in Sweden has access to primary healthcare and basic coverage without requiring a minimum period of membership or having to provide any proof of employment.
Although the Swedish central government’s policy is to ensure equal and universal access to healthcare, medical services are not completely free of charge. The provincial council covers a large part of the medical costs, but patients must pay up to a capped fee that is different from region to region.
Who gets 100%free healthcare?
Basic health care is free for people under 16 and pregnant women who get a medical appointment at the vårdcentral. Dental care is free until the age of 22.
How much will you have to pay for basic healthcare?
It depends on the public healthcare services:
- Consultation with a GP: you will have to pay between SEK 150 and 300
- Consultation with a specialist: between SEK 200 and 400
- Hospital fees: a maximum of SEK 100 per day
- Prescription drugs: the patient must pay the entire cost of prescription drugs up to SEK 1,125 per year. Above that amount, a scale of discounts applies until a maximum amount is reached (about SEK 2,300) after which the patient is not required to pay anything for a certain period.
- Dental care: the amount of your co-payment will vary depending on your dentist/dental hygienist. Swedish residents generally receive annual fixed subsidies (between SEK 300 and 600) and are required to pay dental fees up to SEK 3 000. For dental costs between SEK 3 001 and 15 000, residents pay 50% of the total amount and 15% of the dental care if the total amount exceeds SEK 15 001.
What about private healthcare?
Private healthcare is still quite rare in Sweden. Indeed, only about 20% of health centres are privately owned and a few residents have private health coverage. However, these numbers have been growing over the past few years…
Most private healthcare facilities, especially in larger cities, hold contracts with the city councils, ensuring conformity between medical costs of the private and public health sectors. However, some healthcare providers are fully privately owned and managed; if you choose to use their services, you’ll have to pay 100% of the medical expenses.
What are the limits of Swedish public healthcare system?
While Sweden is one Europe’s best countries in terms of healthcare services, its public healthcare system faces the same difficulties as its Old Continent’s peers. In some cases, patients have a wait quite a long time to get access to medical services (up to 90 days to see a medical specialist or to get surgery) and see a medical professional ‘face-to-face’.
Foyer Global Health: your private health insurance in Sweden!
Foyer Global Health’s specialty is covering expatriates’ health: we ensure that our expat community gets optimal and tailored health coverage.
Why choose Foyer Global Health?
- To get truly flexible healthcare coverage that really fits your needs and your lifestyle (Exclusive, Special or Essential? Find out which health cover is right for you!)
- To get access to the best international health insurance benefits and be fully protected
- To shorten the long waiting time for medical treatment and get a quicker access to medical specialists
- To enjoy greater comfort and privacy in private healthcare facilities
- To get the same level of health coverage in Sweden as in your home country and everywhere else across the globe!
- To benefit from continuous multilingual medical assistance
Want to know more? Our health insurance experts are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you on your new adventure in Sweden!