Norway is ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. There are many factors that contribute to this high ranking, but one of them is their low cost of medical care. Norway’s healthcare system has been regarded as number one for almost 20 years, according to the World Health Organization. Norway’s health care system is so efficient and effective because, among other things, it emphasizes prevention before problems arise and maintaining people’s health, rather than curing them after they are sick or injured.
The healthcare system we have in England – National Health Service (NHS) – is one of the world’s leading systems, but there are still many improvements that could be made. For example, when compared to Norway, we see that Norway has fewer doctors per person than the United Kingdom, yet it has a lower mortality rate. There’s a lot we can learn from Norwegian health care reforms to make the NHS more affordable and efficient.
To understand more about the strength of the Norwegian health system, and what the UK’s health system – NHS – may learn from it, we will first outline what the Norwegian Healthcare System is about, and some of its strong points, before we will try to make some conclusions.
What is the Norwegian Healthcare System?
The Norwegian healthcare system is a universal, socialized system. There are many similarities to other healthcare systems in countries like America and England, but Norway has – with its strong results – succeeded to a higher degree, perhaps both on the points where they differ from us, but also on what we do similarly.
Norway’s healthcare system is funded by taxes and administered by the state. It is available for all citizens of Norway, which includes both Norwegian citizens living in Norway and Norwegian ex-pats living abroad. The number of people covered under this system has increased two-fold in the last 25 years due to an increase in immigration from other countries.
The government does provide healthcare services for its citizens at no cost to the patient, but citizens must pay 10% of any treatment costs that are not paid for by the government as an income tax surcharge if their taxable income exceeds 500,000 NOK per year (approximately $62,000).
5 Things to Know About Norway’s Health System
Here are some facts that will help introduce you to Norway’s health system:
- In Norway, there is no compulsory private insurance, so everyone is entitled to free healthcare under the public system.
- Healthcare in Norway is mostly provided by the government through municipal health services. The government ensures that citizens receive an equal standard of care at all hospitals.
- The country also has a universal system of insurance, where nearly everyone is guaranteed access to their choice of public or private healthcare. This means that healthcare is free for people aged 16 to 66 years old, while those who are over 66 years old will have to pay 10% in co-payments.
- There are two exceptions in Norwegian healthcare: the first one being the use of private clinics and the second one being dentistry care which can be both private or public.
- The current system has been in place since 1978 and it has been praised for its simplicity and efficiency.
Until now we have been looking quite broadly at the benefits of how Norway does things with its healthcare services. But what are some of the strongest points of their system?
Universal health care coverage for all citizens
Norway’s universal health care coverage is a system of public health care with two main features. The first is that all citizens have the right to basic health care services regardless of employment or income. The second is that all citizens pay a modest level of income-related contributions towards the cost of services through taxation.
The Low Cost of Prescriptions and Medicines in Norway
In contrast with the United States and other countries, where many people’s health insurance plans don’t cover prescriptions and medicines, the Norwegian government has a system that provides nearly universal coverage for citizens.
This means that Norwegians don’t have to worry about the cost of their prescriptions and medicines. They can easily access them at a low cost from pharmacies located in pharmacies across Norway.
In other countries, it is not as easy for those who do not have insurance to afford their prescriptions and medicines. Not only is there usually a high monthly premium, but also high deductibles that citizens must pay before they are covered by health insurance.
Conclusion: Why Is the Norwegian Healthcare System So Successful?
The Norwegian healthcare system is by far one of the best in the world. Norway has the 8th-highest life expectancy, according to World Health Organization data. The country also pays less for private health insurance than any other country.
To maintain this high standard, Norway relies on its national funding. The government funds universal healthcare coverage for all citizens and provides free or inexpensive care for many medical procedures.
Norway’s public health care system combines the features of a social welfare state with a market-based service delivery model to provide pensions and other forms of social security, while also maintaining an efficient universal health care system that provides free or low-cost hospital treatment at close to 100% occupancy rates.
The general lessons that the NHS can learn from Norway are to reform their hospital system by making it more efficient, cut costs by cutting down on bureaucracy, improve services for mental health patients, focus on prevention rather than treatment, and invest in technology – this will help them reduce costs without compromising patients’ access to quality care.