Right to healthcare services in Denmark

Ret til sundhedsydelser i Danmark
Here you can read about when you are covered by health insurance in Denmark, and about which health services you are entitled to if you are visiting Denmark temporarily. You can also read about who to contact if you become ill, and about your right to planned treatment in Denmark if you live in another Nordic country.

Health insurance in Denmark

You are covered by Danish health insurance if you live in Denmark, and in many cases also if you live in another Nordic country and work in Denmark.

If you move to Denmark, or if you live abroad and work in Denmark, you must provide information about your health insurance situation to Udbetaling Danmark.

This may be the case, for example, if you receive a pension or other social benefits from another Nordic country, EU or EEA country or Switzerland, for example in the case of maternity leave or illness.

You must also provide this information if you have previously lived in Denmark and are now moving back.

You can read more about where to send your information at borger.dk. 

Moving to Denmark

When you move to Denmark from another Nordic country, you must, as a rule, be registered in Denmark in the municipality in which you live. You will then be issued with a Danish health card, which will automatically be sent to your Danish address. The card is your proof that you are entitled to all healthcare services in Denmark. You must show the card every time you are in contact with the healthcare system.

If you receive social benefits from a Nordic country or another EU or EEA country, it is important that you inform Udbetaling Danmark of this, as it may have an impact on your health insurance.

If you work in Denmark and live in another Nordic country

If you live in another Nordic country and work in Denmark for a Danish employer, you will as a general rule be covered by Danish health insurance. This means that you have the right to use the Danish health service on the same terms as Danish citizens. Your documentation for this is “the special health card”, which you are entitled to be issued with by Udbetaling Danmark. You must show the card every time you are in contact with the healthcare system.

You will either be considered a “cross-border worker” or an ordinary employee in Denmark. This is decided by Udbetaling Danmark on the basis of whether or not you travel back to your residence in another Nordic country at least once a week. In either case, you will have full access to Danish health services – but if you have family members who are to be covered by health insurance with you, it will make a difference to them whether you are considered a cross-border worker or an ordinary employee.

The special health card is issued for a maximum of two years. You can apply for the card at borger.dk, and you can use the self-service system without having a NemID.

Companies can apply for special health cards at virk.dk on behalf of their employees.   You can read more about the special health card at borger.dk. If you have any questions on international health insurance, contact Udbetaling Danmark.

You can read more about the Danish health insurance system at borger.dk, and at the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

    Danish health insurance and abroad

    If you are covered by health insurance in Denmark, you can obtain a blue EU health insurance card from Denmark, which you can use when travelling in the EU and EEA countries.

    European Health Insurance Card from Denmark

    If you are covered by Danish health insurance, this means that you must apply in Denmark for the blue EU health insurance card. The card documents your right to receive the health treatment that proves necessary during a temporary stay in another EEA or EU country or Switzerland, for example if you fall ill during a holiday.

    You must apply for an EU health insurance card yourself, either online at borger.dk, or by contacting Udbetaling Danmark if you do not have a NemID or are exempt from Digital Post.

    Please note that if you receive social benefits such as a pension, maternity or sickness benefit from another Nordic country, the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, it is in that Member State that you must apply for an EU health insurance card. If you are in doubt, contact Udbetaling Danmark.

    Illness during a temporary stay outside Denmark

    At the website of the EU Commission, you can find information on how to use your EU health insurance card while staying in other EU or EEA countries or Switzerland. At the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, you can read about the special Nordic agreement on the right to be transported home in the event of illness.

    If you have paid for medical treatment in another member state which you believe may be covered by your EU health insurance card, you can apply for a refund via the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

    You can also apply for a refund via your Region of residence in Denmark. In this case, your application will be assessed according to what you may be entitled to receive in accordance with the Danish rules on subsidies for healthcare services. Regardless of whether you choose to apply via the Agency or the Region, you can choose to have both options examined and thereby obtain reimbursement according to the rules that cover as much of your expenses as possible. For guidance, contact the Danish Patient Safety Authority.  

    Temporary stay and planned treatment in Denmark

    What services are you entitled to if you become ill while staying temporarily in Denmark?

    If you are covered by health insurance in a Nordic country and become ill during a temporary stay in Denmark, you have the right to receive whatever medical treatment is necessary during your stay. This applies in the case of acute illness, but also if you have an existing illness, such as a chronic illness, or if you are pregnant and need examination or treatment while you are in Denmark.

    Health services in the Danish public health service are usually free of charge, but you must be able to document that you are covered by public health insurance in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland. If you are covered by health insurance in a Nordic country, you must be able to document to the Danish healthcare professional that you reside in a Nordic country. You can also show your EU health insurance card as documentation.

    Planned medical treatment in Denmark if you have health insurance in another Nordic country

    If you are covered by health insurance in a Nordic country and seek treatment at a Danish public hospital, or if you are seeking other public medical treatment in Denmark which requires a referral from a doctor or dentist, 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. You can read about the rules at the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

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

    If you are covered by public health insurance in another Nordic country, or if you choose to move to Denmark and become insured there, health services are usually free of charge.

    General practitioners and public hospitals

    There is no charge for visits to GPs in Denmark. However, you will have to pay for certain types of services yourself, such as vaccinations and medical certificates. Vaccinations in the Danish children’s vaccination programme are always free.

    There is no charge at public hospitals if you are referred for treatment. Emergency hospital treatment does not require a referral.

    Dentists

    Dental treatment is free for young 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 and other healthcare professionals

    Treatment by a number of specialised healthcare professionals is free of charge if you have a referral for the treatment. No referral is however required to obtain free treatment from ear, nose and throat specialists or ophthalmologists.

    In the case of referrals to, for example, a chiropractor, podiatrist, psychologist or physiotherapist, you must pay a portion of the price of treatment yourself.

    Subsidies for medicine and treatment

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

    Find healthcare professionals and treatment sites in Denmark

    General practitioner (GP)

    If you live or stay in Denmark and become ill, you should usually contact a GP.

    Persons who are registered as resident in Denmark must choose a GP in the municipality of residence.

    The GP will make sure that you get the treatment you need, and may refer you to specialists or hospitals.

    Emergency Medical Service

    Outside your doctor’s surgery hours, you can call the Emergency Medical Service, who will assess whether you need to attend the Service’s consultation centre. In special circumstances the duty doctor may visit you in your home.

    You can find the contact information for the emergency medical service in the various Regions at borger.dk.

    Accident and Emergency

    Hospital Accident and Emergency departments deal with serious injuries that your doctor cannot treat, e.g. broken bones or burns.

    A&E departments treat the most serious injuries first, so you may have to wait. Most – but not all – hospitals have A&E departments or clinics, but you must call before you arrive.

    If you need non-emergency hospital treatment, this will require a referral from a doctor.

    You can find contact information for A&E departments at borger.dk

    Find healthcare professionals and treatment sites in Denmark

    At the website sundhed.dk you can find general information about the Danish healthcare system and search for the contact information of GPs, specialists, physiotherapists, dentists, public hospitals, private clinics, pharmacies, etc. 

    Please note that the healthcare professional must have an agreement with the public health service for the treatment to be eligible for a public subsidy – including coverage by the blue EU health insurance card.

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    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.