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Healthcare in Sweden

The healthcare system in Sweden can be quite complicated, as unlike the UK the responsibility is shared between central, regional and local government. Remember though that as Sweden is a member of the EU, UK citizens who have applied for an EHIC online before they visit Sweden are allowed to access Swedish public healthcare on the same basis as Swedish people. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s free though, and it’s still necessary to have good travel insurance.

Using EHIC cover in Sweden

If you are in Sweden and need to see a doctor or go to hospital urgently, you should let people know that you are an EHIC holder and wish to access state healthcare provision. The prices you are charged to see a GP or see a hospital specialist will vary by region and town, but expect to pay between £10 and £25 for a GP appointment or £20 to £30 for a hospital appointment. You will not be able to claim these charges back through EHIC. If you are admitted into hospital, a daily charge of around £8.50 applies. Always ask for receipts for any payments you make, as you might be able to get them refunded using travel insurance cover.

Dental care in Sweden is subsidised, but not free. The system of rebates and subsidies is complex and will depend on your age and what treatment you require, so always get an estimate of costs before agreeing to any costly treatment. There is also charge for prescriptions, and many medicine which can be bought over the counter in the UK has to be prescribed in Sweden.

Overall, the Swedish healthcare system is very high quality, with modern, efficient hospitals and the latest equipment and procedures. Most doctors will speak fluent English, especially in the major cities.

Travel Insurance in Sweden

Having additional cover for medical costs on your travel insurance might enable you to claim back any of the fees and charges which you have to pay for emergency hospital treatment, although most policies will not cover much dental work. Historically, not many people in Sweden have taken out private medical insurance or used private hospitals, but this is a growing sector of the market as people try to skip the lengthy queues and waiting times which can sometimes be associated with the public health system. Most of the private hospitals are in the south of Sweden, most near to Stockholm.

If you wish to be treated as a private patient in a Swedish hospital, the first step is to clarify that your insurance company will meet the cost. Most hospital administrators in Sweden will speak English, so this should not be too difficult to establish. Always keep copies of invoices if you have agreed with your insurance company that you will pay first and be reimbursed later. If you are planning on taking part in extreme sports such as climbing or skiing while in Sweden, make sure you have adequate cover on your travel insurance to cover extras such as mountain rescue or helicopter transfers to hospital.