The healthcare system in Iceland is a small, state-centered, publicly funded system with universal coverage. the purchaser-provider relationship is integrated, meaning that the state is the payer but also the owner of most organizations providing healthcare services.
The health system has become increasingly characterized by a mixed economy of care and service provision, in which the number and scope of private non-profit and private for-profit providers has increased.
You are entitled to medically necessary treatment, when you are temporarily staying in Iceland. Medically necessary treatment usually refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals. If your illness requires regular treatment while you are temporarily staying abroad, agree with the treatment provider beforehand on the arrangement of treatment. Treatments that need to be arranged in advance include, for example, dialysis, oxygen therapy, specialised care of asthma and chemotherapy as well as echocardiography in chronic autoimmune diseases.
Persons covered by Finnish social security do not require a European Health Insurance Card when travelling in the Nordic countries. When going for treatment in Iceland it is therefore sufficient to show your ID. A passport, an identity card issued by the police or a driving licence, for example, serves as an ID. If you didn’t have your identity card or driver’s licence with you, you might have to pay the full price of the treatment yourself. In this case, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively.
You can see a general practitioner by going to a health clinic (heilsugæslustöð) during opening hours, mainly from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 4 pm. Outside health centre consulting hours you can call or go for an appointment at the emergency health clinic Læknavaktin located in Reykjavik. The telephone number of Læknavaktin is 1770 when calling in Iceland. Doctors also make house calls, but the charges are then higher. Most areas in Iceland also have an on-call doctor and nurse service should you need treatment outside office hours.
The patient contribution for pensioners and other groups entitled to reductions, such as the disabled, is lower. Patients under the age of 18 usually get treatment free of charge. There is also a ceiling in Iceland should medical costs become unreasonably high. More detailed information is available from Icelandic Health Insurance.
If you have complied with the instructions given, but are still invoiced at a rate higher than the patient contribution, you can seek reimbursement on the basis of receipts from Icelandic Health Insurance´s head office in Reykjavik. After returning to Finland, you can also apply for reimbursement from Kela.
Adults are not eligible for reimbursement of dental (tannlæknir) expenses in Iceland, but must pay for treatment themselves. Persons under 18, over 66 as well as old-age and disability pensioners can be partially reimbursed for the costs of dental care. You must pay the costs of dental treatment yourself first. You can seek reimbursement from Icelandic Health Insurance on the basis of receipts, ID and possible pensioner ID or from Kela afterwards.
There is a separate emergency number, 575 0505 (when calling in Iceland), for dental emergencies.
When you collect medication prescribed by a doctor from a pharmacy (apótek), you must pay the costs yourself first. You can get reimbursement from Icelandic Health Insurance on the basis of receipts, your ID and possible pensioner ID or from Kela afterwards.
In general, you can only receive hospital treatment if you have a doctor´s referral. In emergencies you can also go directly to a hospital´s (sjúkrahús) emergency department. Show your ID to obtain treatment at the patient contribution rate. Generally there is no charge for in-patients when you present your ID. A fee is charged only for outpatient care. This fee is not reimbursed in Iceland, but you can seek reimbursement from Kela after you return to Finland.
You pay a fixed patient contribution for ambulance transportation when you present your ID. This fee is not reimbursed in Iceland, but you can seek reimbursement from Kela after you return to Finland.
Returning to Finland (specific to the Nordic countries)
If, due to illness, you have to use a more expensive method of travel to return to Finland (for example, special transportation) than you would have normally, you will be entitled to reimbursement from Iceland. The reimbursement will cover the additional cost incurred from the more expensive method of travel. The cost of the return journey is thus the same as you would have otherwise paid (in normal health) when travelling in an ordinary way.
The requirement for reimbursement is that you have a medical certificate written in Iceland which indicates the necessity of a more expensive method of travel.
Read more about suddenly falling ill in Europe.
Read more about reimbursement of costs of treatment abroad.
If you wish to travel to Iceland for the purpose of using healthcare services you can find general information on seeking treatment abroad on our site. Some useful websites concerning seeking treatment in Iceland are listed below.
Information on medical care prices can be found on the website of the Icelandic Health Insurance.
Quality and safety of treatment
In the event of treatment injuries, the legislation and patient insurance of the country providing the treatment is always applied. In case you are unhappy with the treatment you received, you should primarily try to sort the matter out with the treatment provider. The Icelandic Health Insurance can help you with finding the right authority if you wish to make a complaint.