The healthcare system of Iceland stands out from the rest not only because of its quality but also its far reach. The country has universal healthcare and is mostly paid for by taxes (85%) and to a lesser extent by service fees (15%). There is almost no private health insurance in Iceland and no private hospitals. This system, that might sound strange or even “socialist” for most western countries, ranks 15th in the world as the WTO has stated. Anyone who has been living in Iceland for over six months is entitled to health care. This includes treatment for mental health problems, maternity care, long-term care and most other medical needs. Swapp Agency will be able to guide you throughout the process of being taken care of on an Icelandic hospital or just getting to know the public managers of the system.
Healthcare in Iceland, a new approach to Medicine
People move to Iceland for various reasons, the healthcare system often being one of those reasons. With an extremely low infant mortality rate, it’s a good choice for a country to start a family in. There’s a very high ratio of doctors to patients. There are three to four doctors per 1000 patients, the highest relation in the world.
The Icelandic healthcare system consists of seven districts, each with different health centres, called heilsugaeslustod. All of Iceland’s hospitals are government funded. Although there are numerous private clinics and other medical facilities, there are no private hospitals in Iceland.
The high level of sufficiency of the system gives Icelandics the highest life expectancy of any European country, with 83 years. The country’s centre of clinical excellence is the University Hospital, Landspitali, in the capital Reykjavik, which alone accounts for 70% of the total national budget for general hospital services. However, while Iceland’s health outcomes are some of the best among OECD countries, the health care system faces challenges involving the financial sustainability of the current system in the context of an ageing population.
This is the same challenge that many other countries face given that healthcare costs increase every year as a percentage of GDP, making the system unsustainable in the long run. Statistics show that there’s been an important increase in specialist visits. They went from 373,878 in 2003 to 658,855 in recent years. Which is far more costly for the State, and a troubling development.
Nevertheless, if you are just visiting Iceland you should know that Citizens of the European Economic Area are covered for emergency medical treatment on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card. Citizens from other countries can obtain medical assistance but must pay in full. Normally, a medical consultation costs around 6000-10.000Kr.
In this matter, the main health problems derived from just being in Iceland are hypothermia and frostbite, both caused by exposure to cold temperatures. Hypothermia starts with shivering, loss of judgment and clumsiness, while frostbite is caused by freezing, and starts as frostnip (white, numb areas of skin).
Get in touch with Icelandic professionals
To have an extensive consultancy relating the healthcare model of Iceland, contact Swapp Agency. We are a leading group of experts in diverse fields. Our professional team will be happy to assist you understanding the system for any interest you may have whatsoever. Regardless of your needs relating the health system of Iceland, we are prepared to solve all your inquiries.