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Country-by-country guide

Accessing healthcare in Iceland

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will enable you to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

Note: You may be asked to present your passport or other travel document as proof of identity.

Non-EEA nationals and UK residents who do not have a UK, EU, EEA or Swiss nationality are only covered for emergency treatment in Iceland.

 

Get the EHIC smartphone app

The European Commission (EC) has developed a useful multi-language free phone app, which explains how to use the EHIC card in different countries within the EU. It summarises the treatments, costs, procedure for reimbursement and emergency numbers.

Find help in emergencies

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency during your stay in Iceland, dial 112.

Calls to this number are free of charge from any phone, including mobiles. Ambulance services are not free of charge, so it is best to only call an ambulance if the patient is not in a fit state to go by car, taxi or bus.

There is a fixed charge for EHIC holders. If you can’t show a valid EHIC, you will have to pay the full cost.

You might want to download the 112 Iceland App, which provides added safety if you plan a lot of outdoor activities in Iceland.

Other important numbers to note down are:

  • 1770  medical assistance
  • 444 1000  police
  • 575 0505  dental emergencies

 

Health services and costs

The EHIC does not cover you for private treatment. Make sure you are covered under the Icelandic public healthcare system when you see a doctor.

You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but could be referring to private insurance rather than the treatment given under the EHIC.

It's always advisable to have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Repatriation for medical treatment is not covered by the EHIC.

Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary), as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.

Even with the EHIC, you are required to make a patient contribution. The fee applies for each consultation and other services, and is fixed by a regulation. Without the EHIC, you will be charged the full cost of the treatment, according to tariffs. You must present your EHIC, personal identification papers and documents proving your citizenship (i.e. passport). For more advice, visit the Icelandic Health Insurance (Sjukratryggingar Islands) website.

If you move to Iceland for more than six months, you will have to register with the Icelandic Health Insurance Fund (Sjukratryggingar Islands) to obtain state-funded healthcare, with residents required to make co-payments to their health insurance. For more information and registration forms, visit the Sjukratryggingar Islands website.

Medical care, including dentistry, is provided in health centres (heilsugæslustöð or heilsugaeslustod), which are available in all districts of Iceland and are open between 8am and 4pm. You will be charged IKR 1,000, or IKR 600 if you are in receipt of a state pension  this is non-refundable. Children under the age of 18 are not charged. 

Find Healthcare centres in Reykjavik, including ones that are open outside regular office hours. Note: just like in the UK, residents have to register with a GP first. 

Dentists

Children under the age of 18, state pensioners over the age of 66 and those receiving invalidity benefits are entitled to a partial reimbursement for dental treatment. You will have to pay the bill in full and then seek reimbursement at the local Icelandic Health Insurance office. Make sure you keep the receipt, have a valid EHIC and prove that you are a pensioner or entitled to benefits.

Slightly different rules apply to residents. For more advice, take a look at the Sjukratryggingar Islands website

Hospital treatment

To be admitted to hospital, you need a referral from a GP. Immediate admissions are only possible in emergencies. Generally, there is no charge for inpatient treatment. However, you will be charged IKR 5,400 for outpatient treatment.

Prescriptions

You can go to any pharmacy (apótek) in Iceland. Alongside your prescription, you should provide proof of your entitlement to state healthcare. Prescription charges vary and range from 0% to 100%, according to the standard prescription categories. If you cannot provide proof of entitlement, e.g. EHIC or other entitlement form if you are living in Iceland, you will be charged the full price. Prescription charges are non-refundable.

Making healthcare arrangements in advance

The most common treatments or conditions that require advanced arrangements are listed below. For all other conditions or treatments, you should consult your doctor. Remember, you must present your EHIC for all treatments abroad.

Oxygen therapy

Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. In most cases, you will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to. You will also have to make your own arrangements, including arranging for permission from your hotel to deliver and install the equipment. There may also be additional costs that the EHIC will not cover.

Your home oxygen supplier is not required to provide a service outside the UK; however, most suppliers can offer advice on what to do. Your oxygen treatment clinic will organise your home oxygen supply from one of these suppliers:

Air Liquide: call them on:

  • 0808 143 9991 for London
  • 0808 143 9992 for North West
  • 0808 143 9993 for East Midlands
  • 0808 143 9999 for South West

Baywater Healthcare: covers Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands and Wales. Call them on 0800 373 580. For more information, visit the Baywater Healthcare website.

BOC: covers the East and North East of England. Call them on 0800 136 603.

Dolby Vivisol: covers the South of England. Call them on 0500 823 773.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling to. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on:

Allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.

Dialysis

You need to speak to the co-ordinator at your UK dialysis unit, who will contact the dialysis unit in Iceland nearest to where you will be staying. However, the arrangement of your dialysis will be subject to availability in Iceland.

Global Dialysis has more information about dialysis facilities worldwide. Alternatively, you can contact:  

Landspitali University Hospital Dialysis Unit
Eiriksgata 5
101 Reykjavík

Telephone: 00354 543 63 11 

Tip

Make your arrangements according to your UK dialysis schedule. There may be different guidance, depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure to speak to your doctor before you travel. You can also visit the National Kidney Federation website, which offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients and guidelines for transplant patients. Follow the links below for more advice about travelling with other conditions:

Living and/or working in Iceland

If you move to Iceland long term, or plan to work in the country, you need to register with the Icelandic authorities. Everyone who is legally a resident in Iceland for six months automatically becomes a member of the Icelandic social insurance system, regardless of nationality. For more detailed information, visit the Social Insurance Administration (Tryggingastofnun Rikisins) website.

Once you are registered to work in Iceland, you'll be entitled to state-run healthcare on the same basis as a Icelandic national. However, you will also have to register with the Icelandic Health Insurance Fund (Sjukratryggingar Islands) to obtain state-funded healthcare. Residents are required to make co-payments to their health insurance. For more information and registration forms, visit the Sjukratryggingar Islands website

If you are a worker seconded to Iceland, or the family member of someone making UK National Insurance contributions, your employer should contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the following forms:

  • A1 (previously E101) – this will show that tax and National Insurance contributions are paid in the UK
  • S1 (previously E106 or E109) – this will give you and your family the same medical cover as Icelandic residents

HMRC
Charity, Assets and Residence
Room BP1301
Benton Park View
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ
For more information, visit our Moving abroad section.

Once issued, register the S1 form with your local Tryggingastofnun Rikisins office before you register with your local GP surgery.

Studying in Iceland

If you are coming to study or are currently studying in Iceland as part of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government.

Visit the Studying in Iceland website for information on healthcare cover and general tips on living in Iceland

You may also want to read our pages on:

Pensioners

If you are living in Iceland and you receive a UK State Pension or long-term Incapacity Benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK. You'll need to apply for an S1 form (a certificate of entitlement) from the International Pension Centre, which can be reached on 0191 218 7777. Once issued, register the S1 form with your local Tryggingastofnun Rikisins office before you register with your local GP surgery.

Once you have registered your S1 in Iceland, you will be entitled to apply for and use a UK-issued EHIC to access state-funded necessary medical treatment when you visit other EEA countries outside Iceland. This includes when you return to the UK.

Read the section on pension rights for immigrants/foreigners on the Tryggingastofnun Rikisins website.

Early retirees

From July 1 2014, you are no longer able to apply for a residual S1 form. 

If you already have a residual S1, this will not affect you – it will continue to be valid until its original expiry date. Read more about the new rules.

Comments

Page last reviewed: 11/06/2014

Next review due: 11/06/2016

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Media last reviewed: 02/10/2013

Next review due: 02/10/2015