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Members' Q&A: Does it cost money to give birth without a personnummer?

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Members' Q&A: Does it cost money to give birth without a personnummer?
A pregnant woman visits the midwife. File photo: Lise Åserud/NTB
15:41 CET+01:00
A reader got in touch to ask how much it costs to give birth in Sweden if you don't have a personnummer (the ten-digit social security code). The Local explains the different factors to be aware of if you're in this situation.

This article is available to Members of The Local. Read more articles for Members here.

There are a few different scenarios in which you might be living in Sweden without having received a personnummer. If you do have a personnummer, that means you're in the Swedish population register and the process when it comes to accessing and paying for healthcare is exactly the same as for Swedish citizens. This means that maternity care costs very little, and in most cases you'll only be charged around 100 kronor for each overnight stay in hospital – and nothing at all if you've already reached what's called the 'high cost ceiling' for the year.

If you don't have a personnummer, in many cases you'll still benefit from maternity care at these same reduced (but not free) costs. Maternity care is considered medically necessary care (nödvändig vård) in Sweden and as such is subsidized in some situations even where the care-seeker isn't entitled to subsidized healthcare in general. But in some situations giving birth can come with a pricetag.

THE LOCAL INVESTIGATES: Life in Sweden without a personal number ID

Note: when it comes to maternity care and the cost of giving birth, it's only the status of the birthing parent (the biological mother) that is taken into account, so couples with one Swedish partner and one foreign partner should check what applies to them. 

If you are an EU citizen

If you are in Sweden as an EU citizen and don't have a personnummer, you'll need to show your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) in order to receive maternity care at a subsidized price.

The EHIC entitles you to medically necessary care at the same price as citizens of the country you're in. All treatment linked to pre-natal care and giving birth comes under that category, as long as you didn't travel to Sweden for the specific purpose of receiving medical care.

If you're an EU citizen but don't have the actual card or documented proof of your entitlement to it, your care should still be subsidized but you may need to pay the full cost up front in Sweden and apply for reimbursement from your home country afterwards.

If you come from another Nordic country, it's even easier: all you need to do is state your home address and you will be eligible for the subsidized care.

If you are a non-EU citizen

Residents of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are also covered by the EHIC agreement, so the same conditions outlined above apply.

Sweden also has special agreements with Algeria, Australia, Quebec, and Israel, so if you're from one of those four locations, you pay the same price as Swedish citizens for maternity care, but will need to show documents to prove your right to this.

If you have a residence permit

If you are a non-EU citizen, you are entitled to the same level of subsidized healthcare as Swedish citizens provided that you have a residence permit (uppehållstillstånd).

Subsidized costs

If you are eligible for the same level of subsidized healthcare as Swedish citizens, here's what that means. 

Visits to a midwife are completely free (in Sweden, maternity care is led by midwives rather than family doctors), so you won't pay for prenatal and antenatal care offered by the national health service. You may however be charged around 100 kronor per night for time spent staying in hospital, if you have not yet reached the high cost ceiling for the year.

If you are an asylum seeker

If you are in Sweden as an asylum seeker, you are entitled to completely free maternity care as well as emergency healthcare. You just need to show your LMA card to prove your status or, if you haven't yet received the card, written proof that you have applied for asylum.

If none of the above apply

The above situations will cover the vast majority of pregnant foreigners in Sweden. But if none apply to you, for example if you're in the process of applying for a residence permit, you will pay for the full cost of the treatment. That includes visits to the midwife for prenatal and antenatal care, as well as all the costs associated with the birth itself, which will vary depending on the length of time and whether there are complications.

In Sweden, healthcare is organized by the regional government, which means that costs vary. It will also depend on what exactly your individual birthing experience includes – the number of nights in hospital, the procedures you undergo, and so on. At a very rough estimate, the total cost would likely be around 30,000 to 75,000 kronor, but it's worth speaking to a doctor who knows about the costs in your area and your personal situation.

A couple in Skåne, where the Russian mother had not received her personnummer at the time of birth, were charged 73,000 kronor in 2012. Another couple in Borås ended up in the same situation when the Colombian partner gave birth while waiting for her permanent residence permit.

What about translation?

Whatever your status, all patients have the right to an interpreter when receiving healthcare, and this is offered for free. Just make sure that the midwife, doctor or hospital is aware of your need as early as possible so that they can arrange interpretation.

READ ALSO: I'm pregnant, now what? The Local's guide to giving birth in Sweden

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