Health insurance coverage in Sweden is universal, and both permanent residents and locals are eligible to use the public healthcare system. Patients can generally choose where to receive medical treatment and aren’t bound to any particular doctor, hospital or clinic. This includes private facilities that offer publicly funded services.
Sweden’s healthcare system operates on a decentralised basis, with responsibilities being divided up between national, regional and local government bodies. Most healthcare funding comes from regional taxes, so the availability of certain services can differ between county councils based on how much tax the council receives.
Not all medical professionals at public hospitals will be able to speak English, but non-Swedish-speaking patients have the right to be provided with an interpreter by law. Depending on the language requirements, the interpreter may assist with translation on site or via phone or video call.
Urgent cases are given priority in public hospitals, so it can take some time for non-urgent cases to be seen to. There are government policies in place that aim to reduce waiting times and impose limits on how long non-emergency patients can be made to wait for appointments or treatments. While the wait for an appointment at a healthcare centre for non-urgent cases cannot be more than seven days, the wait to see a specialist can be up to three months.
The price of medical care is set by local authorities, so all facilities within the same county council charge the same prices. These are generally low thanks to government subsidies. There is a strict limit on how much a patient can contribute towards healthcare each year, and once this amount is reached, the cost of healthcare for the remainder of the year is covered by the government.