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Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

15 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in Norway

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The quality of medical care in Norway is generally considered to be very high, with a strong emphasis on preventative care. Norway has a universal healthcare system, which means that all citizens have access to free healthcare services. In comparison to the US, Norway has a lower rate of infant mortality, a higher life expectancy, and a lower rate of chronic diseases. Emergency services in Norway are well-developed and reliable. In the event of an emergency, you can call the national emergency number, 113, to request an ambulance. Ambulance services are free of charge and are typically staffed by highly trained medical personnel.

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How are healthcare services Norway?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Norway, they replied:

"Don't. Pay for private. The laid-back laissez faire attitude that seems appealing when talking to Norwegians in coffee shops is quite the opposite when you are ill and need healthcare. There is no accountability and often gross errors," remarked another expat in Oslo.

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What are emergency services like in Norway?

When we asked about emergency services, members in Norway wrote:

"A few minutes from (public) Ullevål hospital and fairly near the public ER (legevakt). It's a bit of a nightmare really, the standard of care is shockingly bad, especially considering the amount of money in the healthcare system per capita (the only two things that are strikingly good are the food in Norwegian hospitals, really very good, and the general state of repair of the hospitals. Overall the quality of care at Ullevål hospital and legevakt is very bad indeed: unprofessional, discharging patients too early, missing serious illness, accidentally giving medicines that someone is allergic to, ignoring me when I am in a corridor on a hospital bed and referring to me only as "hun innvandre der" ("that immigrant there"), an ambulance missing the signs of severe concussion, very poorly trained and unprofessional ambulance personnel, no adequate triage system at the ER (legevakt). If you have a chronic illness then do not move to Norway without paying for private care. When mistakes are made then there is no accountability and lassitude seems to be permissible, I have had a terrible time with the healthcare system and it is one of the very worst aspects of living here- for me, perhaps the worst," said an expat in Oslo.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Learn MoreGET A QUOTE

What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Norway?

We asked expat moms who gave birth in Norway about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:

"It is important to be aware of important regulations surrounding childbirth and prenatal care in Norway. It is essential to register with the municipality in which you live and receive a National Identity Number as soon as possible, so that you can receive the necessary services. It is also important to thoroughly research and compare maternity hospitals and birthing centers, as well as their associated fees. Make sure to ask about and understand Norway's parental leave regulations and ensure that both parents are registered with the municipality in which you live so that both can take benefit of parental leave. Research the availability of childcare services and options offered by the municipality, as well as any applicable fees. Additionally, be aware of any changes that you may need to make to your insurance coverage during pregnancy and childbirth," explained one expat living in Norway.

"If she were able to have a natural child birth, I would say 'go for it'. If she knew up front that she needed a c-section or there could be any complications, I would say 'run'," said another expat in Stavanger.

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Are healthcare services good in Norway?

We asked people if they have access to good medical care in Norway. They wrote:

"Healthcare in Norway is organized and run largely by the state, through four regional health authorities. All Norwegians and legal foreign residents are entitled to free care through the public health scheme, though some services require payment of a moderate fee. Treatment by general practitioners and specialists is free of charge, including visits, prescriptions, and hospital stays. All necessary medical treatment is provided in state and university hospitals, many of which are affiliated with research institutes. Pharmaceuticals are subsidized by the state and dispensed by pharmacists. Care services can be provided either at home or in a nursing home, and Norway also has a hospice system. Health insurance coverage is mandatory and is managed through two private, intersectoral mutual health insurance associations," said another expat in Norway.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Aker Brygge in Oslo, Norway

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