Norwegian Healthcare System

Norwegian Healthcare System

March 25, 2020 Off By Ludvig Hoel

Norway is part of Europe, which is noted to have the best healthcare systems collectively in the world. Its hospitals are funded by taxation, and healthcare is founded upon the principle of Universal Healthcare. The system is run by a set of four Regional Health Authorities (RHA), which are carefully monitored by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. 

For those who prefer private healthcare or need a service that is not offered by the government, you can visit one of the many non-governmental clinics that exist within the country. However, the government’s healthcare system is generally able to cover society’s needs. As of 2015, 9.9% of the country’s GDP was dedicated to healthcare. 

All registered citizens of Norway are automatically entitled to Universal Healthcare, as are those visiting from other EU/EEA countries.

General Practitioners

Every citizen of Norway has a designated General Practitioner or GP. A GP is a doctor that can address most general medical needs and conditions. Your GP is assigned to you depending on where you live and under which RHA you fall. 

GP visits are free of cost unless you are an adult without exemption. GPs can be changed, yet most people prefer to stay with the one allotted to them by the government. In the case that your GP cannot handle your condition, they will refer you to a specialist. 

Pricing and Age Limit

All Norwegian hospitals are free for people under the age of 16; once you cross this age, you qualify as an adult and must pay an annual deductible. This deductible amount is just over 2000kr ($183); once this limit is reached, the individual is not liable to pay for any further healthcare charges and will receive an exemption card valid for the rest of the year.

Services and Scope

The services covered by the government are decided in Parliament and include planned and acute hospitalization, ambulance calls, and OPD visits. Dental services are available free of charge for those under the age of 18, and partial care is available free of cost for 19 and 20-year-olds. Those with chronic dental conditions may also avail free treatment. 

Cosmetic surgery and procedures, like facial reconstruction solely for cosmetic purposes, are not covered by the government and must be paid for by any individual wishing to attain them.

Psychological attention is provided free of cost to those younger than 18 alongside multiple free-of-cost campaigns to raise awareness on common health issues and teach the masses how to prevent the spread of diseases. 

For senior citizens, or those seeking end-of-life care, there are many nursing homes ready to serve on behalf of the government. If care cannot be provided in such homes, a healthcare professional, such as a nurse, will visit the patient’s home regularly or as required.

Pregnancy, Maternity, and Birth Control

All pregnant women have the right to free maternity care, primarily check-ups, from a midwife or doctor; this care can be sought out at a Maternity Child Health Care Centre (Helsestasjon). One free ultrasound check-up is offered during the entire pregnancy term. Pregnant employees working anywhere have the right to take paid time off from work for their check-ups. 

Those who cannot work during pregnancy can avail a “pregnancy benefit,” which entitles them to paid leave from work during their pregnancy. However, pregnancy benefit is only available for those enrolled in the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. 

As for birth control, the government will provide 15 free condoms per 7 days; these will be delivered straight to the individual’s home. This helps with planned pregnancy and prevents an unwanted population boom, which would otherwise place stress upon the existing healthcare system.

Substance Abuse

Those experiencing symptoms of alcohol addiction or substance abuse can seek free treatment on behalf of the government for their condition in order to improve and recover so that they may become a fully functioning member of society again. Often, addicts are the ones who commit petty crimes; so, reducing the number of addicts in the country helps reduce the occurrence of petty crimes.

Mental Health

While general introductory care is available to all, government practitioners may refer a patient to a private institution for further specialized care.