Healthcare in Norway

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In Norway, all hospitals are funded by the public as part of the national budget.[1] However, while medical treatment is free of charge for any person younger than the age of sixteen, residents who have reached adulthood must pay a deductible each year before becoming eligible for an exemption card. The card entitles one to free healthcare for the remainder of that year.[2]

All public hospitals in Norway are run by four Regional Health Authorities (RHA) overseen by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. In addition to these public hospitals, there are a small number of privately owned health clinics currently operating.

Availability and cost[edit]

Expenditure on healthcare is about US$9715 per head per year, the highest in the world.[3]

While the availability of public healthcare is universal in Norway, there are certain payment stipulations.

Children aged sixteen or younger, and pregnant and/or nursing women are given free healthcare regardless of the coverage they may have had in previous situations. All citizens are otherwise responsible for the annual deductible - which averages around 2040 Norwegian krone. Norway’s health system also does not cover specialized care for those above 16 years of age, and anyone needing treatment such as specialized physiotherapy is required to pay an additional deductible. While health appointments themselves are encompassed by the deductible, extra materials and medical equipment are often covered by the patient.[2]

In terms of emergency room admission, all immediate healthcare costs are covered. In the case that hospitals in Norway are unable to treat a patient, then treatment abroad is arranged free of charge.[4]


Norway does not produce the bulk of pharmaceuticals consumed domestically, and imports the majority that are used in its health system. This has resulted in most residents having to pay full price for any prescription. Pharmaceutical exporting is overseen by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. Insurance coverage for medicine imported from outside the country is managed through the Norwegian Health Economics Administration (HELFO).[5]


Norway has four designated Regional Health Authorities. They are: Northern Norway Regional Health Authority, Central Norway Regional Health Authority, Western Norway Regional Health Authority, and Southern and Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.[6][7] According to the Patients' Rights Act,[8] all eligible persons have the right to a choice in hospitals when receiving treatment.[9]


The Norwegian Health Care System was ranked number 11 in overall performance by the World Health Organization[10] in a 2000 report evaluating the health care systems of each of the 191 United Nations member nations. According to the Euro health consumer index in 2015 the Norwegian health system was ranked third in Europe but had inexplicably long waiting lists.[11]


  1. ^ "Norwegian National Budget Web Portal, or NNBWP". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  2. ^ a b "Healthcare is NOT Free in Norway". Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  3. ^ Britnell, Mark (2015). In Search of the Perfect Health System. London: Palgrave. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-137-49661-4. 
  4. ^ "Healthcare in Norway | Europe-Cities". Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  5. ^ "The Norwegian health care system and pharmaceutical system". Legemiddelverket. Retrieved 2015-07-15. 
  6. ^ "Norway's Regional Health Authorities info". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  7. ^ "South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority info". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  8. ^ "The Act of 2 July 1999 No. 63 relating to Patients' Rights (the Patients' Rights Act)" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  9. ^ "Free Hospital Choice Norway". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  10. ^ "The World Health Organization's ranking of the world's health systems". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Outcomes in EHCI 2015" (PDF). Health Consumer Powerhouse. 26 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.