Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Sweden - Healthcare

This chapter describes where you should go to get healthcare in Sweden. It also explains how much you must pay for different types of healthcare and medicines and what your rights are as an EU citizen holding a European Health insurance card (EHIC).

In what situation can I claim?

The majority of health and medical care in Sweden is publicly financed. In Sweden, there are 21 regions which have primary responsibility for health and medical care. The majority of health care institutions are under public management, but there is also publicly financed healthcare run under private management. In this case, the private healthcare providers have agreements with the relevant region. Healthcare is primarily financed via taxes, but as a patient you also pay a fee. These fees vary between regions, but there is a national 'high-cost protection' for outpatient treatment as well as for medicines. You can read more about this below.

For advice about the type of healthcare you require and to which you are entitled, please see 1177 Vårdguiden (the 1177 Healthcare Guide).

What conditions do I need to meet?

The 21 regions in Sweden are responsible for providing healthcare to registered residents. Most of the costs for your healthcare are financed via taxes paid to the region. In addition to this the patient pays a fee for visits, hospital care and for medication. The fee varies between the different regions. You can read more about this below.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Swedish healthcare is divided into outpatient care, which includes primary care and care at a variety of specialist clinics, and inpatient care. Outpatient care means that you can travel home after having been in contact with the healthcare system. Inpatient care means that you are admitted to hospital.

There is a healthcare guarantee in Sweden for elective care. This guarantee indicates maximum waiting times for getting in contact with the healthcare services and receiving treatment. According to this guarantee the following applies:

  • contact with the primary healthcare services on the day that you seek help;
  • a medical assessment by a licensed health professional in the primary health care system within 3 days;
  •  specialist consultation within 90 days;
  • waiting for no more than 90 days after being diagnosed to receive treatment

These time limits do not apply to emergency care. If you become acutely ill or injured, you obtain healthcare as quickly as possible.

Emergency departments are open 24/7  at emergency hospitals. In many places there are also local emergency units adjacent to healthcare centres. If your health problems are not urgent, you can seek help at the healthcare centre, which is normally open during the daytime on weekdays. If necessary, you will be referred to other specialist doctors. Adjacent to the healthcare centre there will often be a maternity clinic (MVC) adjacent to the healthcare centre, where you can go if you are pregnant, and a child health care centre (BVC), where health checks and vaccines are given. If you are unsure where you should go, or if you require advice, contact 1177 Vårdguiden (1177 Healthcare Guide).

You can receive compensation for your travel expenses to and from a healthcare centre or a hospital due to sickness or childbirth. It is the region that decides whether or not you will receive compensation.

Fees in healthcare                          

primary care   

specialist care

Fee per visit (outpatient)      

SEK 100--300  

SEK 200-400*

Maximum fee 12 months period (outpatient)                 

SEK 1,150      

1,150

Maximum fee per day (inpatient)     

SEK 100         

SEK 100

The regions determine the different fees for healthcare. How much you must pay for medical care and treatment - the 'patient fee' - thus depends on where you seek healthcare.

Persons aged 85 years and over are exempted from patient fees for outpatient treatment in all regions.

A high-cost protection applies to outpatient treatment. This means that a patient pays a maximum of SEK 1,150  in patient fees for outpatient care over a 12-month period. Certain fees are not covered by the high-cost protection. A high-cost protection of a maximum of SEK 2,350 applies to certain medicines prescribed by a doctor.

If you are admitted to a hospital, you will pay a daily fee amounting to a maximum of SEK 100.

Certain regions charge a fee for transport by ambulance or helicopter. Health- and medical care is free of charge in almost all regions if you are under 20 years of age. Appointments at maternal and child health clinics (MVCs and BVCs) are free of charge throughout the country.

Healthcare providers who provide healthcare under private management generally have an agreement with the region and the fees are the same as above. For healthcare which is run entirely privately (for example certain forms of plastic surgery), or if the doctor does not have an agreement with the region, you must pay the whole cost yourself.

Medication

Most medications which are prescribed are subsidised, which means that you pay only part of the cost of your medication yourself.

Just as for other medical care, there is a ceiling for how much you pay yourself for prescribed medication during a 12-month period.

Total Cost (SEK)

you pay

0-1,175                      

100%

1,175-1,709                

50%

1,709-2,190                

25%

2,190-2,350                

10%

When you have paid SEK 2,350 you do not pay more for medications that are included in the high-cost benefit scheme during the remainder of the high-cost protection period. You may generally receive medications that correspond to 90 days' treatment. There are exceptions, including for preventive medications.

Medications that are included in the high-cost benefit scheme are free of charge for patients aged under 18 years.

Contraceptive products that are included in the high-cost benefit scheme are free of charge for patients aged under 21 years.

You do not need to keep track yourself of how much you spend or how much you should receive in discount. This is registered in a database.

Some food products are also subsidised. This applies, for example, to children under 16 years of age who cannot tolerate gluten.

Dental care

Dental care is free for children and young people until the year they turn 23. This applies to both private and public dental care. Children in Sweden will receive an appointment to visit a dentist from 2-3 years of age. How often they receive an appointment will depend on the extent of their need for dental care.

Pricing is not subject to limits, which means that fees vary.

There is also high-price protection for dental care:

Price (SEK)                

you pay

0-2,000                      

100%

3,001-15,000              

50%

15,001-                      

15%

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency pays compensation directly to the dentist for the share you don't pay yourself. The price upon which the high-price protection is based and which the Swedish Social Insurance Agency employs is called the reference price. It is a fixed price which is decided by the state. However, the dental fees can be higher or lower than the reference price. On the Dental and Pharmaceutical Benefits Agency website, you can see a list of reference prices for different treatments.

In certain cases, the healthcare system's high-price protection also applies to dental care. This also applies if you have a major, prolonged need for personal care in your everyday life or if you have an illness in which dental care is included as part of medical treatment. This can also apply to people with physical disabilities. In such cases healthcare costs a maximum of SEK 1,150 over a year.

If you seek dental care due to occupational injury, the costs can be covered by the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. Read more on this in the chapter about occupational injury.

From and including the year you turn 24, you receive state financial support for dental care. The general dental care allowance (ATB) is SEK 600 per year for people between 20-29 years of age and people who are 65 years of age or older. The general dental care allowance (ATB) is SEK 300 per year for people between 30-64 years of age. The special dental care allowance (STB) which is paid for preventative dental care if you have an illness that affects your teeth, pays SEK 600 per 6-month period.

You can also take out private insurance with your region dentist and pay a fee every month. When you then require normal treatment which is covered by the insurance, it is covered by the fee.

Fees for EU citizens

If you come from another EU/EEA country or the UK* and have a European Healthcare Insurance card (EHIC), you are entitled to acute and necessary medical and dental care under the same conditions and for the same fees as those who are insured in Sweden. High-price protection also applies to those with the EHIC. Without an EHIC, you risk having to pay the entire healthcare cost yourself.

For healthcare and dental care which is not acute, you must in general pay the entire healthcare cost if you cannot present an attestation that the country where you are insured will pay for your care. If you have yourself paid for planned (non-acute) healthcare, or in certain cases acute healthcare, you have the possibility of receiving compensation retrospectively from the country where you are insured, provided that it is within the EU/EEA or the UK. Information about the reimbursement of costs for healthcare provided in another EU/EEA country or the UK can be provided by the relevant authority in the country where you are insured. For people residing in Sweden, information is available through the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan).

Appeal

If you are dissatisfied with the healthcare services you have received, you have the right to complain. You can do this directly to the clinic or hospital where you received your treatment. You can also contact, the Patients' Advisory Committee (Patientnämnden) or the region’s patient ombudsman. In case of serious incidents, it is also possible to contact the Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO, Inspektionen för vård och omsorg).

* Each case needs to be assessed individually to determine whether a person falls within the scope of Art 30 of the Withdrawal Agreement, and so the EU Coordination Regulations apply, or whether they fall within the scope of situations described in Art 32 of the Withdrawal Agreement and/or come under domestic legislation and the Protocol on Social Security Coordination attached to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

Jargon busters

Outpatient care means the healthcare you receive at a healthcare centre or specialist clinic.

Inpatient care means that the healthcare is provided to you when you have been admitted to hospital.

A referral can be written by a general practitioner when you require specialist healthcare.

BVC is the child health centre. This is where health checks of children are carried out and where vaccines are given.

MVC is the maternity clinic. Here you can receive help with contraception and sexually transmitted diseases or if you are pregnant.

The reference price is a fixed price for dental care which is decided by the state. This is the price upon which the Swedish Social Insurance Agency bases its remuneration. It can be both higher and lower than the price that dentists charge.

Know your rights

Sweden:

EU:

Who do you need to contact?

1177 Healthcare Guide (1177 Vårdguiden)

Telephone: +46 1177 (open 24 hours a day)
Website: https://www.1177.se/

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency
Website: www.forsakringskassan.se
Customer centre e-mail: kundcenter@forsakringskassan.se
Customer centre telephone: +46 771524524

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