Introducing... Healthcare in Stockholm

The Swedish healthcare system is an enigma, the subject of much fanfare - but how does it work for you, a new resident of Stockholm? Here's your guide to everything you need to know.

Published: Tue 4 Nov 2014 07:19 CEST
Introducing... Healthcare in Stockholm
Photo: Shutterstock "

I moved to Stockholm, I found housing and a job, and I even started my own business. But I can’t enjoy my success.

Why ever not?

Because I have a bloody toothache!

Oh no! Quick, someone get the garlic and ice!

No! No. Enough with home remedies. It’s time to face the elephant in the room…healthcare.

I knew this day would come. Swedish healthcare is an enigma indeed, subject to both praise and criticism internationally. But what is Swedish healthcare exactly?

That’s what I’m asking.     

Yes, yes, of course. It was a rhetorical question. I wasn’t finished.

You see, Swedish healthcare is a multi-faceted wonder, difficult to describe in one sentence. But in general, Swedish healthcare is a socialized supportive system which tries to keep everyone healthy while shielding them from extreme costs.

Just tell me where to find a dentist!

Oh, they’re all over the place, but you can start by looking here. But remember, it will cost you if you’re older than 20

Darn! What do I have to pay now?

It depends on the procedure – and how often you brush.  But don’t worry, you still get a yearly dental allowance to help with the costs.

Ooh, allowance, I like the sound of that. Do I get one for healthcare in general?

I thought that would get your attention.

Health providers in Stockholm (and the rest of the country) have a handy-dandy thing called high-cost protection. Which means you won't pay more than 1,100 kronor for doctor visits over a 12-month period.

So I pay the same as a Swede?

Yes, as long as you are a registered resident with a personal ID number.

I just got my personal ID number. So I can just go straight to the doctor with any problem?

Sort of. It would be best for you to find your local health care centre (vårdcentral) and register there. That will be your primary care centre where you’ll have your primary doctor, who can refer you to a specialist when needed.

Just look for the blue lines and the word 'vårdcentral'. Photo: TT

Excellent! But how will I manage a trip to the doctor? I don’t know the Swedish word for influenza!

It’s influensa, incidentally. And most health care professionals in Stockholm do, in fact, speak English. 

But if you really need one, you do have the right to an interpreter when you visit the doctor - also free of charge.

So if I…er, have a friend who…um…[cough]…came down with pneumonia because she forgot her jacket when sightseeing in the Stockholm archipelago on a chilly autumn day  and can only stammer an explanation of my…I mean her…trauma in English, a Stockholm doc can still take care of me; I mean her?

They might tell the interpreter to tell your “friend” to be a bit more careful. But yes, that will likely be a quick and efficient trip to the doc for between 100 and 200 kronor. And then the prescriptions of course.

I forgot about the drugs! That’s where the catch is, right? I can hear my wallet weeping already…

No, actually. There’s a ceiling for those too. Granted, the roof is higher – you have to pay the first 2,200 kronor of prescriptions. But it’s a slope; as you pay more and more you get a higher and higher discount.

A great way to stay active - but careful with those mushrooms and berries. Photo: Imagebank Sweden/Helena Wahlman

And if, another friend…was enjoying Sweden’s right to roam out in the Stockholm woods and ate a poisonous mushroom?

My, my, your “friends” are trouble makers, aren’t they? Yes, that’s another trip to the doctor, and another set of prescriptions.

Oh, and be prepared to describe the mushroom.

Grand! I’m off to find one!

…A doctor or a mushroom?

A doctor, you lunatic…for my, ah…friend.

Ah, naturally. Well good luck, and do have another peek at the City of Stockholm’s healthcare page if you need another hint!

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Stockholm Business Region









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