31 May 2010

Health Care System in Norway

All Norwegians are insured by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). This is a universal, tax-funded, single-payer health system. Compared to Poland, France, Italy, Spain and Japan, Norway has the most centralized system and all citizens and residents are covered.

The NIS is funded by general tax revenues. There is no earmarked tax for health care. The Norwegian tax burden is 45% of GDP. The government sets a global budget limiting overall health expenditures and capital investment. However, Norwegians can opt out of the government system and pay out-of-pocket. Many pay ou-of-pocket and travel to a foreign country for medical care when waiting lists are long. There are significant waiting times for many procedures. Many Norwegians go abroad for medical treatments. Also, care can be denied if it is not deemed to be cost-effective.

To conclude, Norwegian Health Care System is very generous. The program also provides sick pay and may even pay for “spa treatments” in some cases.

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