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Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy. File photo: ASIFE/iStockphoto

Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm

Published: 28 Aug 2014 16:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Aug 2014 16:08 GMT+02:00

The job’s in the bag, I’ve found a place to live and my permits are on their way. But…

But what?

I don’t know. It’s just – well, moving to a new city in a new country – it’s a big deal. And I guess I’m a worrier.

This is Stockholm. Don’t worry - be happy.

That doesn’t help at all. I’ve landed a great job but what if it doesn’t work out? What if I get sick? What if I trip and fall while gazing at all those stunning Stockholm vistas?

Oh dear, you really are a worrier. So let me tell you a little bit about the beloved Swedish Model.

No! This is serious! I don’t want to hear about Victoria Silverstedt or Marcus Schenkenberg.

Ahem. The Swedish Model is the set of principles governing how employees are cared for in Stockholm and the rest of the country. As well as ensuring a high standard of workplace conditions, it underpins the social insurance system.

Sounds tremendous. But how will that un-rupture my spleen?

Relax, your spleen will remain pristine. Stockholm puts a lot of gravel on its footpaths in the winter. But if you do take a tumble, your personal identity number will give you access to hospital and medical care on the same excellent terms as the average Johan or Johanna.

Well, fine, but at some point I’ll probably get mildew on my ceilings, or an icy wind will pierce my delicate, non-Swedish lungs. What then?

Please, desist with this disquietude. Homes in Stockholm are built to a very high standard. The walls will not cave in. However, do be sure to get homeowner’s insurance. Shop around for the best package. Most are comprehensive and will include coverage for things like property damage and burglary, as well as bundling in travel insurance.

That’s all well and good, but I’m concerned about the cost.

Don’t be. Policies tend to be very reasonably priced, and it would be beyond madness for a worry wart of your magnitude to go without. In fact, even the more cavalier among us recognise we’d be bonkers not to get one.

OK, but ever since my ingrown-toenail issue of 2003, I do worry about developing a rare, as yet unheard-of, illness that will keep me out of work for months.

Allow me to allay your fears. Everyone who formally lives or works in Sweden is covered by social insurance. It helps cover costs for illnesses, workplace injuries, disabilities, and old age. So if your toenails act up again, you’ll pay a small set fee each time you need medical care. The amount you pay in a given year is capped, so medical costs never go crazy. This is where our taxes go.

Hmm. OK, that does sound reassuring. But how do I claim any benefits I’m entitled to?

What you need to do is sign up with the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). Even if you don’t need it now, it’s advisable to register as soon as possible. For people who work and pay taxes in Sweden, the agency will cover sickness payments and rehabilitation allowance. 

And you’re sure I qualify?

Yes, both because you have a job and are formally resident in Sweden. Anyone with a residence permit lasting 12 months or more is entitled to insurance cover.

EU citizens staying in Sweden for less than a year also qualify if they’ve come here from another EU country. But if you are here on a scholarship, say, and didn’t pay taxes in Sweden, then you wouldn’t be entitled to full insurance cover from the agency.

Right, I see, well I definitely qualify then. But what about my future family? I must admit I’m concerned about procreating without protection.

No problem. Any good chemist will be able to help you out there. Even supermarkets will stock what you need.

No, I mean child allowance and parental benefits.

Oh, I see. Again, the Social Insurance Agency will sort you out. Parental leave is very generous in Sweden, you know. You’ll have plenty of time to spend with your children and enjoy the good things in life.

But what if I spend all that extra time worrying about the choices I’ve made in my life? We only have one, you know.

I know, and you’ve just taken years off mine. Put your mind at rest with some proper advice from the good people at the City of Stockholm. Hej då!

This article was produced by The Local in association with Stockholm Business Region.

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