Healthcare for Visitors to NorwayMany UK travellers will have heard of EHIC – the European Health Insurance Card – and think that mistakenly it can only be used in countries which are members of the European Union. This is not the case, and other countries which are outwith the EU but within the European Economic Area (EEA) also have healthcare agreements with the UK. This means that if you’re planning on visiting Norway on business or on holiday, you can use EHIC cover in some circumstances for medical treatment.
EHIC For NorwayAs in other countries, EHIC aims to treat card holders in the same way as a Norwegian would be treated when accessing their state health care. EHIC will not cover or reimburse the costs for private healthcare. State healthcare in Norway is not free, and you will have to make a contribution in the same way as Norwegians do. All of the most up to date information is on the Norwegian government’s HELFO website, and some of the basics are given in English. Fees apply to most medical treatment in Norway. If you see a GP, you can expect to be billed around £12, with much higher fees applying for diagnostic tests or hospital treatments. Charges also apply for prescription medication and dental treatment. You will not be able to claim any of these standard fees back from EHIC. Always make sure you show doctors copies of your EHIC and passport, and ensure that you are taken to a state hospital. Healthcare in Norway is very high quality, and most healthcare professionals will speak good English.
Travel Insurance Medical Cover for NorwayIf you have taken out travel insurance which has a medical cover element, then you might find this extremely valuable should you be hospitalised in Norway. EHIC cover does not entitle you to claim back all of the patient fees which you are charged for your treatment, but your private insurance may allow you to do this. Get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible to clarify the situation, and make sure you always keep itemised invoices and receipts for any payments which you make to doctors.
Alternatively, additional medical insurance might give you the option of being treated in the Norwegian private sector. Using a private hospital or paying to see a consultant could greatly speed up referral times and allow you to access single rooms in some hospitals and be treated at a time and place of your choosing. The private sector is every bit as good as state health care, but before agreeing to go ahead with any private treatment you should ensure that your travel insurance will meet the cost. Always ask for detailed invoices, and check at every stage of treatment with the insurers’ helpline.
As well as potentially giving you access to private treatment and allowing you to claim back fees, travel insurance will also meet the cost of getting you back home after a hospital stay in Norway. Given that state health care in Norway is not cheap, having good travel insurance cover is an essential.