Norway Medical Insurance
The Kingdom of Norway, or Norway, is a country in Northern Europe located on the west of the Scandinavian Peninsula. To the east, Norway shares a border of 1,619 kilometres with Sweden, 727 kilometres with Finland and 196 kilometres with Russia. To the west lies the Atlantic Ocean, to the north the Barents Sea, and to the south of the country are the Skagerrak and North Sea. Norway has an estimated population of 4.9 million people, spread over a landmass of 385,252 square kilometres; making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. The official language is Norwegian and the capital city is Oslo. Norway is described as the “Land of the Midnight Sun” as the sun never descends below the horizon in the areas north of the Arctic Circle from May until late June.
The government of Norway is in the form of a unitary parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy. The government is organised into three independent government levels; the national government, the county councils, and the municipalities. The health care system is also on three levels; national, regional and local, with overall responsibility for the national system falling under the Ministry of Health and Care Services. At regional level there are five health authorities concerned with specialist care, and the local level is represented by 431 municipalities delivering primary health care, nursing care and dental care in all 19 counties.
In 2008 Norway spent 8.5 percent of GDP on health care services. Norway has the highest per capita health expenditure among Nordic countries. The primary source of funding for Norway’s health care system is by means of taxation and transfers from central government, with municipalities and counties’ levying taxes in their areas. The aim of the health care system is to offer all inhabitants the same provision of healthcare and medical services, regardless of social economic status, or geographical location.
The Ministry for Health and Care Services coordinates primary health care, specialised health care, public health, mental health, medical rehabilitation, dental services, pharmacies and pharmaceuticals, emergency planning and operation, polices on molecular biology and biotechnology, and nutrition and food safety. The National Institute of Public Health is responsible for monitoring and providing knowledge of epidemiology, infectious disease control, environmental medicine, forensic toxicology and drug abuse.
In 1967 the National Insurance Scheme was founded. The Norwegian NIS is a universal insurance scheme that assures each resident social security in the case of illness or accidents. Further to this, the NIS ensures a comprehensive support system in the event of unemployment for Norwegian nationals and permanent residents.
The provision of primary healthcare and social services is through the country’s 431 municipalities. The Municipalities’ Health Care Act decrees that all citizens should have the right to access health care services in their community. Primary health care is administered in the form of preventative and curative treatment. Services include the organization and operation of school health services, health centres, child health care provided by health visitors, midwives and physicians. Health centres implement vaccination programmes and pregnancy check-ups throughout the country, and as such are the focal point of the Norwegian healthcare system. Municipalities are also responsible for running nursing homes and related services, general medical treatments (including the nation’s medical emergency services – such as ambulances and EMT’s), physiotherapy and nursing. There is no direct influence on the health care system at county level.
At regional level authorities are concerned with the provision of specialised care for both physical and mental health. Responsibility for Medical Services such as laboratory, radiology and ambulatory services and care for drug and alcohol addicts also lies with Norway’s five regional health authorities.
Private health care is provided by two agencies, private not-for-profit and private profit making. Not-for-profit agencies are usually set up as a trust; for example, some trusts are set up as a diaconal trust owned by the Norwegian church. Private profit-making agencies were established to complement existing public services. Private health care providers are mainly in urban areas of the country, with the majority offering substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation, dental care, and support services; such, as radiology and laboratory services. In 2003, 60 percent of laboratory tests ordered by GP were performed in private agencies, and 80 per cent of referrals were to private radiology centres. There are an estimated 4000 general practitioners in Norway who act as the first point of contact for patients. About 10 to 15 percent of pharmacies are owned by the public regional authorities, with the rest being operated by private chains. It was estimated in 2006 that 30,000 Norwegians contribute to some form of voluntary private Norway health insurance scheme. Health care in Norway is very expensive, and comprehensive private medical insurance is necessary for all non residents.
The Patients Rights Act stipulates that the patient has the right to choose the hospital where they wish to receive treatment at including private hospitals working in conjunction with the regional health authorities. The patient also has the right for care to be administered within a specific, individually determined, time frame. If the time frame is exceeded then the patient is entitled to receive treatment in a private or foreign hospital.
The birth rate in Norway is 10.84 births per 1,000 people, infant mortality rates estimated are approximately at 3.53 deaths per 1,000 live births. The life expectancy at birth is 77.53 years for a male, and 83.02 years old for a woman. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in 2009 was 0.1 per cent ranking, Norway as being the 122 worst affected country worldwide. In 2009 there were approximately 4,000 people living with the disease. The leading cause of death is attributed to diseases of the circulatory system; cancer is the second leading cause.
The road fatality rate equates to 4.4 deaths per 100,000 of people. In winter, driving conditions can be hazardous with narrow and winding roads becoming impassable. It is mandatory to fit you vehicle with winter tyres during certain months of the year, exact dates change annually. Headlights should remain on at all times.
It is also mandatory to comply with breathalyser tests requested issued at roadside checkpoints. The blood alcohol limit is set at 0.20 ml which is considerably lower than in other European countries.
Petty crime is very common in Norway, especially at peak tourist times generally between the months of May to September. Norway is not a member of the European Union, the unit of currency is the Norwegian Kroner. In the case of robbery you are advised to have a variety of ways to access your money while in Norway. Norway is a very expensive country therefore you should plan accordingly. In the case of an emergency you can contact the police by dialling 112, the firemen by dialling 110 and the medical emergency services by dialling 113.
If your stay includes a trip to a forest, lake or mountain region, insect repellent is advised as mosquitoes can cause agitation during the summer months. Due to the threat of accidently created wildfires, fire bans are strictly enforced in summer in many areas. During winter, temperatures can reach as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius, if you are taking part in winter activities such as skiing, hiking etc you should remain informed on current weather conditions which can be found at local information centres.
Prime Pacific can provide professional assistance for you or your groups’ health care needs if you decide to travel in Norway. Our tailor made Norway Health Insurance policies cover a wide range of services from repatriations, transportation, dental, out-patient, maternity and many more. Call our team of world wide representatives today to discuss, free of charge, the health insurance options available.