Learn about the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in Sweden
This Nordic country is famous for its clean streets and successful welfare. The Scandinavian nation has many coastal islands and inland lakes. It also has huge boreal forests and glaciated mountains. Sweden’s capital is Stockholm (Spotify was invented here), and it is built on 14 islands. Plus, it also has 50 bridges and a medieval old town. But its world-class healthcare is what makes it a popular destination for expats. Here’s what you need to know about the Sweden healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
Overview of Healthcare in Sweden
Healthcare in Sweden is well known around the world and has been an exemplary system for more than half a century. Other Scandinavian countries have taken Sweden’s healthcare system blueprint to set up their own. Furthermore, Sweden provides equal health care services for everyone. Its system is decentralized and operates on three different levels; regional municipalities, government, and regional councils. However, due to the rise in population, Sweden has had some challenges but always prioritizes its healthcare system. As a consequence, there’s a high life expectancy among citizens, and the country also has the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
Healthcare for Expats
If you’re an expat, digital nomad, or a global citizen traveling to Sweden, first, it is imperative to visit your doctor in your home country. The CDC has information on the vaccinations you should get before traveling.
Once you’re an expat resident in Sweden, you will have access to the same level of services Swedish citizens get. But to gain access to this exceptional standard of healthcare, expats require to provide a personal identification number which you can get at local tax offices.
But it is important to note that healthcare in Sweden is not free. Instead, it is heavily subsidized. What this means is that expats would be paying small sums of money to access most of the healthcare services. However, the Swedish government allows individuals to benefit from free healthcare once they have reached the annual limit of their yearly contributions.
On the other hand, the only downside with Sweden’s healthcare system is the occasional waiting times for patients to get an appointment. But urgent cases get on the priority list, and patients will get an appointment within three days. If you don’t have a medical emergency, you will get an appointment within a week at a healthcare center and under 90 days to see a specialist.
Private Healthcare in Sweden
In recent years, the number of private healthcare facilities in Sweden has increased. Country councils fund a small percentage of healthcare. On the other hand, private healthcare is more expensive than public facilities. In most companies, senior employees are the ones who opt for private health insurance. The only difference is that those with private insurance circumvent waiting times.
If you are in Sweden for a short time and do not benefit from a residency visa, there are other options. As an EU or a Nordic citizen, you are entitled to the same healthcare as the Swedes. If you’re a short-term visitor, your EHIC card will give you access to free emergency care.
However, if you are a third-country citizen, you will need to get comprehensive private health insurance that will be valid during the duration of your stay. If you’re becoming an expat, once you have found a job or started your own business in Sweden, you can then register with the Swedish Tax Agency to get access to the same healthcare as the Swedes.
Emergency Services in Sweden
To access emergency services in Sweden, contact the standard European emergency number of 112.
Pharmacies in Sweden
You can quickly locate a pharmacy by identifying the Apoteket on the front door. Pharmacies in Sweden are available throughout the country and have the usual opening hours. However, you will be able to find some 24-hour pharmacies. You have access to free medications if you have a prescription. If you are a visitor, we advise you to bring your medicines.
Best International Medical Insurance for Expats Living in Sweden
To secure yourself from unforeseeable expenses, you can procure international health insurance from a leading international insurance company. As a Swedish expat, you can go for Cigna Global international health plan or Allianz Care. Alternatively, you can contact us to discuss insurance plans in detail.