Do you consider moving to Sweden? Maybe even becoming more Swedish? If you want to go to Sweden, become Swedish and consider getting ill once in a while – due to a virus or an annoying boss – I have a good and a bad news for you…
Good news: Swedish health care is not expensive
Bad news: You get what you pay for
Basic health care at (almost) no extra costs
Basic healthcare is included in the Swedish welfare system for everyone who is a resident in Sweden. This means even if you are an expat living in Sweden for at least 12 months, you are covered. (Don’t forget to register at Försäkringskassan first.)
Health and even dental care is subsidized by the Swedish tax payers. Cost ceilings are put in place for healthcare services: A limit on individual contributions to healthcare of 1100 crowns per year. Once this limit is reached, all other healthcare services are free of charge for a 12-month period since the first payment (called högkostnadskydd). Even for prescribed medication, you have to pay no more than 2200 crowns per year.
Standard procedures and waiting times
The flu is very common in Sweden in Autumn and Spring. Many people catch it and so will you. To make the flu go over bit faster, some Swedes believe it might be a good idea to consult a doctor. And it certainly is, considering you only pay a 150-300 SEK fee for a visit.
Then you have an about 10-30 minutes waiting time which you can share with other coughing flu patients in the waiting room, while staring at a heart-attack-detection poster or a bored gold fish in an aquarium.
After that, not the doc welcomes you, no, the Swedish health care system is so efficient, a nurse with a soft voice and well trained forced smile, will welcome you and guide you to the examination room, for the first part of the audition process. The nurse checks if you’re ill enough to talk to the doctor later that day or, more likely, tomorrow.
Let’s try Alvedon first
About 95% of all time you talk to a nurse you will hear in the end of the conversation: “Avvakta lite och ta en Alvedon”, “wait a little while and take an Alvedon”. This is probably the most said sentence in Swedish vårdcentraler (healthcare centers).
Alveldon: the super medication against almost everything. Every treatment of even the worst disease probably at some point started with a Swedish nurse recommending the intake of Alvedon.
Waiting time and job opportunities
Urgent cases or emergencies are always prioritized and treated immediately, of course.
Although the national guarantee of care, Vårdgaranti, states that you should have to wait no more than 7 days for a visit to a primary care physician, and no more than 90 days for a visit to a specialist, it regularly happens that the Swedish healthcare system can’t deliver within that period. But hey, it’s almost for free.
Specialists are demanded in Sweden. If you are a doctor, you might find your future career in Sweden. Nurses and people for elderly care are highly demanded as well. Great job opportunities for you then, if you have no problems getting in touch with blood or poo on a daily base.
So, dear soon to be Swede, be patient with/of the Swedish health care system.
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