Guidance

Healthcare in Sweden

Healthcare information for UK nationals visiting, living in or moving to Sweden.

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This content was originally published on the NHS website.

Healthcare in Sweden after Brexit

You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there’s a no-deal Brexit and you’re a UK national living in Sweden.

You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there’s no deal and no agreements with Sweden in place.

For example, if you’re a current S1 form holder, or a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will not be able to rely on these to access your healthcare.

If you live in Sweden

You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:

  • registering to live in Sweden
  • registering for healthcare under the local rules and legislation of Sweden
  • buying comprehensive health insurance while you’re applying for residency or if you’re not eligible for local schemes

Make sure you have all the right documentation and it’s up to date.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

Your EHIC may not be valid if there’s a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Sweden and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Sweden.

Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk to your insurer about how to get the right cover and how this affects your travel.

UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU. Your EHIC can also be used to access UK-funded treatment if your visit or treatment started before exit day until you return to the UK.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

S1 certificate holders

Your S1 certificate may not be valid if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Sweden and may mean you have to pay in full for treatment.

Arrangement with Sweden if there’s no deal

The Swedish government has said that you’ll continue to receive healthcare for 1 year until there’s a decision on your residency application.

If you have not received a decision on your application by the end of the 1-year period, you’ll need a temporary residency permit to access Swedish national healthcare coverage.

Studying in Sweden after Brexit

Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Sweden and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you’re already studying in Sweden before the UK leaves the EU, the UK will cover your healthcare costs for the duration of your course.

Students starting courses after the UK leaves the EU should ensure they have comprehensive healthcare cover in place.

Get help paying for medical treatment after Brexit

During the first 6 months after Brexit, if you need medical treatment and you’re being asked to pay for it, the UK can help.

This may be through arrangements with the country you live in, or by paying your healthcare provider directly.

To organise a payment, you’ll need to give your healthcare provider’s details to the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Healthcare Services.

Call the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 for more information. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 3pm (UK time).

Using NHS services when visiting the UK

You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you’re living in Sweden and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.

You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.

You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge when visiting the UK after exit day if you’re living in Sweden before exit day and you:

  • have a UK-issued S1 form
  • have a UK-issued EHIC
  • would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access if exit day had not occurred

This will remain the case after exit day.

Returning to the UK permanently

If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you’ll be able to access NHS care without charge.

Living in Sweden

This information is about healthcare in Sweden before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living in Sweden after Brexit.

If you’re living in Sweden, you’re likely to have to apply for a residence permit and be a registered resident of Sweden through ‘Försäkringskassan’ (Social Insurance Agency) and ‘Skatteverket’ (Tax Agency) to be entitled to the same health coverage as Swedish nationals.

Legal residents of Sweden have universal access to healthcare and pay contributions to their treatment at the point of access.

S1 certificate

This information is about healthcare in Sweden before Brexit. Find out about S1 certificates for UK nationals living in Sweden after Brexit.

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Sweden and receive:

  • an exportable UK State Pension
  • a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
  • another exportable benefit

You’ll need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 form.

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in Sweden. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate if you:

  • receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
  • are employed by a UK body or firm (you’re a posted or frontier worker)
  • are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate

You can apply for an S1 certificate through the NHS Business Services Authority.

If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate through the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).

It’s possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU.

It’s important to have all the right documentation and that it’s up to date.

For other exportable benefits, you may need to contact a different team depending on the exportable benefit.

Find out more about claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad

Different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has information about the UK and Swedish benefits available to Britons living in Sweden.

Working in Sweden

This information is about healthcare in Sweden before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals living or working in Sweden after Brexit.

If you’re a worker posted by a UK company to Sweden, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you’re posted to.

You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):

UK posted workers

Studying in Sweden

This information is about healthcare in Sweden before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals studying in Sweden after Brexit.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

If you’re a UK resident studying in Sweden, your student EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

If you’re intending to study in Sweden for longer than 3 months, you must apply for a Swedish residence permit.

This must be done within 3 months of the course state date, with proof of sufficient finance and comprehensive health insurance.

Find out more about healthcare when studying abroad

Plan your healthcare when moving abroad

Visiting Sweden

This information is about healthcare in Sweden before Brexit. Find out about healthcare for UK nationals visiting Sweden after Brexit.

Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Sweden.

The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.

Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention.

You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC.

Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Sweden at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you’re staying there temporarily.

Check that you’re treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.

Pre-existing health conditions

You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Sweden if you have a pre-existing health condition.

You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have so you can get the cover you need.

The Money and Pensions Advice Service has information about buying travel insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel.

Take any documents about your health condition or medicines with you.

This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Sweden and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.

If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read the NHS guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Healthcare services in Sweden

Finding help in an emergency

Call 112 if you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance. This number is free of charge.

Call 1177 for 24-hour non-emergency health advice and care.

Healthcare in Sweden is administered on a regional basis, and some areas might charge a capped fee for ambulance and helicopter ambulance services.

More information on fees is available on the 1177.se website. Choose the correct region of your stay for accurate information.

Dentists

Dental care is available within the national healthcare system. Residents in Sweden are entitled to subsidised dental care.

Försäkringskassan (Swedish Social Insurance Agency) will pay the subsidy directly to the dentist.

EHIC holders may be covered by the high-protection scheme.

For high-cost dental work, you may have to pay up to the first SEK 3,000 (£272) for the work.

You may then receive compensation of:

  • 50% of the charges for between SEK 3,000 and SEK 15,000 (£1,364)
  • 85% of the charges above SEK 15,000

Not all treatments are covered by the high-cost protection scheme. Ask your dentist for advice.

Hospitals

You need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment.

Check that you’re referred to a state hospital as only these provide treatment free of charge.

Even in a state hospital you’ll need a valid EHIC. Double-check you’re not treated as a private patient.

You have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted in the state healthcare system. You do not have to provide travel insurance details unless you choose to do so.

Prescriptions

Medicines, both prescription and non-prescription, can only be purchased at authorised chemists (Apotek).

The amount you’ll need to pay for your prescription will vary depending on the medicine.

Costs are capped by the ‘high-cost ceiling’ at 2,200 SEK (£190) a year.

Bringing your own medicines to Sweden

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad.

Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

Find out more about travelling with controlled medicines

Published 23 September 2019