Right to health benefits in Denmark

Ret til sundhedsydelser i Danmark
Read about the your rights to health benefits in Denmark, your right to treatment in Denmark if you live in another Nordic country and who to contact if you take ill in Denmark.

If you are staying temporarily in Denmark and suddenly become ill, you are have the right to free emergency treatment in a hospital. This also applies to visitors from other countries. If you live permanently in Denmark and are registered with the National Registration Office, you will receive a health card from your local authority, which you must show every time you visit a doctor, emergency room or hospital. You can use the health service without restriction, and most tests and treatments are free.

Health insurance card

The health insurance card is proof that you are entitled to Danish public health insurance benefits. The benefits include free medical care and subsidies for the cost of dentistry, medicine, physiotherapy and other services.

You must show your health insurance card every time you visit a doctor, emergency room or hospital. 

    If you move to or live in Denmark

    When you move to Denmark from a Nordic country or an EU/EEA country, you will receive a Danish health card soon after you register with the Danish National Registration Office.

    If you live in another Nordic country and work in Denmark

    If you live in another EU country, EEA country or Switzerland and work in Denmark for a Danish employer, you are a “frontier worker” and have the right to a “special health card”. This card give you the right to use the Danish health service on the same terms as citizens who live in Denmark.

    Special health cards are issued for a maximum of two years. You can apply for a special health card at borger.dk. You can use the on-line self-service system without having a NemID.

    Companies can apply for special health cards on behalf of employees at virk.dk.

    Yo can read more about the special health card on borger.dk. If you have any questions, please contact Udbetaling Danmark.

    See borger.dk for more information about Danish health insurance. The Danish healthcare service also provides comprehensive information on its website at sundhed.dk.

      The blue European Health Insurance Card

      If you are covered by the social security system in Denmark, you can apply for the blue European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) on borger.dk. The EHIC card can be used if you become ill suddenly while staying temporarily in another EU/EEA country. You can read more on borger.dk.

      If you live in Denmark and are not working abroad

      If you live in Denmark and are not working abroad, you will generally have the right to health insurance in Denmark, so you should apply for the EHIC card at borger.dk.

      If you live in Denmark and work in another country

      If you live in Denmark and work in another EU country, EEA country or Switzerland, you will generally need to apply for the EHIC card in the country where you work. If you are unsure whether you have the right to social security in Denmark, contact Udbetaling Danmark for advice.

      If you live in another Nordic country and work in Denmark

      If you live in another EU country, EEA country or Switzerland and work in Denmark for a Danish employer, you will generally have the right to social security in Denmark. In this case you will have the right to a European Health Insurance Card from Denmark. If you are unsure whether you have the right to social security in Denmark, contact Udbetaling Danmark for advice.

      What rights do you have if you become ill while staying temporarily in Denmark?

      If you are staying temporarily in Denmark, and not working in the country, you have the right to free emergency treatment in a hospital in Denmark if you suddenly take ill. EHIC also covers you if you have a chronic illness and treatment is necessary during your stay.

      If you have health insurance in a Nordic country, you must be able to document this. If you are insured in a non-Nordic EU/EEA country, you must show a European Health Insurance Card.

      What do medical services cost, and what subsidies are available?

      General practitioners (GPs) and public hospitals

      There is no charge for visits to GPs or public hospitals in Denmark.

      Dentists

      Dental treatment is free for people under 18. The national health service subsidises a range of treatments for adults. The subsidy is usually deducted from the charges advertised by the dentist.

      Specialists

      Many medical specialists make no charge for their services, others charge for their services, including chiropractors, podiatrists, psychologists and physiotherapists.

      Subsidised medicine and treatment

      When you buy prescription medicine, you will automatically receive a subsidy, which gradually increases the more medicine you purchase within a 12-month period. See the Danish Medicines Agency website for information on the current rates. Your doctor may also assess that you need a larger subsidy and apply for it to the Danish Medicines Agency. You can find details of individual subsidies from the Danish Medicines Agency.

      Planned treatment abroad

      As a citizen of an EU/EEA country, you will often have the right to subsidies for treatment in an EU/EEA country other than your home country.

      Do you have the right to planned treatment in another Nordic country if you are covered by the social security system in Denmark?

      If you have health insurance in Denmark and a health card, you have the right to subsidies for treatment in another EU or EEA country.

      If you live in Denmark but your health insurance cover in Denmark is paid for by another EU/EEA country – for example, because you work abroad or only receive a foreign pension – you should seek reimbursement from the non-Danish health insurance company.

      The terms and conditions are published on the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

      Do you have the right to planned treatment in Denmark if you have health insurance in another Nordic country?

      If you want treatment in a Danish public hospital or are seeking other treatment from the health service in Denmark, you must have a referral issued by a doctor or dentist in your home country or in another EU/EEA country.

      The rules governing the purchase of public and private medical treatment in Denmark do not affect your right to receive necessary treatment if you become ill or are injured during a stay in Denmark. See the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority for details.

      Which Danish health benefits are you entitled to if you are staying temporarily outside Denmark?

      If you study abroad for less than a year

      Your right to use the Danish health service while studying in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland depends on whether you are studying for more or less than twelve months.

      If you have Danish health insurance and are studying in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland for up to twelve months, you can use your blue European Health Insurance Card, which give you the right to treatment on the same terms as citizens of the country in which you are studying.

      If you are still registered with the National Registration Office in Denmark, you retain your health card and can use the Danish health service as before.

      If you are not registered in Denmark during your period of study, you will usually be issued with a special health card that gives you the right to use the Danish health service on the same terms as citizens living in Denmark.

      Read more on borger.dk.

      If you are studying in another Nordic country for more than twelve months

      Your right to use the Danish health service while studying in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland depends on whether you are studying for more or less than twelve months.

      If you are studying in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland for more than twelve months, you are not usually covered by Danish health insurance. In some cases, you may retain the right to use the Danish health service if you are allowed to join the health insurance system where you live as a member of family of a person living in Denmark.

      You must apply for this on the European Health Insurance form E109.

      Read more on borger.dk.

      If you live in Denmark and work in another Nordic country

      If you live and work abroad the rules of the country where you work will usually apply, but in certain circumstances you may be covered by Danish health insurance and have the right to Danish health services. You can read more about this on borger.dk.

      Reimbursement of cost of treatment in another Nordic country

      If you visit a doctor, hospital or similar while staying in an EU country, EEA country or Switzerland and receive a bill, you may be entitled to reimbursement. See the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority for details (in Danish).

      Treatment in Denmark

      General practitioner (GP)

      When you move to Denmark, you should choose a GP in your local authority area. Your GP is the person to contact if you become ill.

      Your GP will make sure that you get the treatment you need and can refer you to specialists.

      The GP can also help with other things, including vaccination and contraception.

      Specialists

      Your GP can assess whether you need treatment by a specialist.

      Specialists have expertise in a particular area of medicine, for example, ear specialists, dermatologists, psychiatrists.

      You must always be seen by your GP before being referred to a specialist.

      Emergency Medical Service

      If you become ill and need a doctor outside your own GP’s surgery hours, you can call the Emergency Medical Service.

      The duty doctor will assess whether you need to attend an Emergency Medical Service consultation centre. In special circumstances the duty doctor may visit you.

      You can find your local Emergency Medical Service at sundhed.dk.

      Accident and Emergency

      Hospital Accident and Emergency wards deal with serious injuries that your doctor cannot help you with, e.g. broken bones and burns.

      A&E; treats the most serious injuries first, so you may have to wait.

      Most – but not all – hospitals have and A&E; ward.

      In most parts of Denmark, you need to phone before attending the Emergency Room.

      Emergency 112

      If you need an ambulance because of an accident or similar, call 112.

      You must say who you are, what has happened and where you are calling from.

      Dentists

      You can compare prices for treatments by different dentists in Denmark on sundhed.dk.

      Whom should you contact if you have questions?

      Ask Info Norden

      If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.

      NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.

      Info Norden is the information service of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Here you can find info and tips if you wish to move, work, study, seek support or start a business in the Nordic region.