Healthcare in Denmark

05. September 2019.

The European Commission has adopted a Recommendation on a European Electronic Health Record exchange format. The Recommendation supports the digital transformation of health and care in the EU by seeking to unlock the flow of health data across borders.

Take for example Iva Horvat, a Croatian, who decided to move to Denmark and work as a health professional. She regularly examines expat patients. When Xavier, a Spanish man, complains of high blood pressure, she can easily access his Electronic Health Record and check what medications he used in the past, whether he has certain allergies or intolerances. That way, Iva saves time because all the information is already available to her and she can make a new diagnosis faster and easier and start treatment.

Did you know that Danes spend 10% of their GDP on health?

They are also the nation who is most satisfied with their health. Unlike Croatia, which is a strictly centralized community, the Danes have decided to decentralize their healthcare, which means that most decisions are left to regional and municipal authorities. Because of this, hospitals are funded by local taxes. Citizens allocate 8% from the income tax for health care. What does this percentage cover? All primary and specialist services. There are 60 public hospitals. There are two hospital beds in one hospital room, which is still not acceptable to Danes. They are constantly investing in healthcare infrastructure and patients’ rights. By 2020, 16 new large hospitals will be built, with more than five billion euros to invest.

Let’s look at another example through which we can show you the optimality of their healthcare.
Astrid injured her knee and is on the waiting list, and was told at the hospital that it would take two months to get the diagnosis. This is an unacceptable and long period of time. Astrid has the right to go to a private doctor, where within a month she has to get a diagnosis, and the cost of seeking a private treatment is paid immediately by the state. This process by which they run healthcare, reduces waiting lists. Astrid can also view her electronic file at any time, with a password that protects the confidentiality of the information. It is an online project that was established in 2004, with a budget of € 8 million. This concept saves up to 50 minutes for each healthcare professional per day.

The Danes are one of the most computer literate nations in Europe. Imagine a society where 80% of the population uses technology daily and 90% of households have an Internet connection. For this reason, 98% of laboratory tests are in electronic form, as is 89% of all prescription. Almost every doctor otherwise communicates by mail and must reply to you within 24 hours. If you prefer calls, you can call him every morning between 8am and 9am, but it’s difficult to get one because he’s probably talking to a patient. Another alternative is to make a call to a nurse between 9am and 1pm and arrange an appointment, which you will probably receive the next day. Another benefit is that Danes can choose their doctor within 10 kilometers of their place of residence and can change it every 6 months.

If you are a nordic citizen, you need to show a valid ID to receive free healthcare in Denmark, but you can also provide a valid EHIC.
Third-country nationals may use their EHIC in Denmark only under one of the following conditions:
• if they are co-insured family members of an EU citizen insured in Denmark
• if they have a residence in Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden
• if stateless persons are in accordance with Article 1 of the UN Convention of 1954 on the Status of Stateless Persons, or
• if the refugees comply with Article 1 of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees.

Treatment in Denmark provided by GP covered by a contract with the public heatlh care is free of charge. If you require specialist treatment, a referral from a GP is required.

If you need to visit a dentist, the fee will be less expensive if you visit a dentist who is covered by a contract with the public health care. For certain preventative treatments and restorations you get a cost recovery of up to 40%. There are no cost reimbursements for dentures, crowns, etc.

In serious acute situations: Call 112. In case of other emergencies that happened within the last 24 hours you can contact the casualty ward in a public hospital. In some of the five regions you need to arrange for the consultation beforehand. In non-acute cases you need a referral from a GP. Treatment is free of charge if you are under 18 or if you show a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

You can pick up your prescription drug at any pharmacy. Note the special card with the unique number you will get when you first buy a prescription medicine in Denmark. Present this card each time you buy so that a chargeback can be calculated. The cost reimbursement depends on the amount of medication you raise annually. In case the value of the annual consumption of medicines is below the established minimum amount (for 2019 this amount is DKK 980 / year), you will not receive a refund.

If you have to pay the full cost of the treatment, you can claim a refund from the municipal public health institute in which you are located. They will refund you or explain how to claim a refund. The originals of the invoices, receipts and instructions must be presented. Provide a European Health Insurance Card and provide your bank account details (IBAN and SWIFT / BIC). If you were unable to apply during your stay in Denmark, you can contact your national health insurance provider upon your return to your country.

If you know you will need hospital treatment during your stay in Denmark, you must arrange the treatment with the relevant local public hospital in Denmark well in advance of your arrival in Denmark. Treatment at private providers is covered only if a referral is given from a public hospital. Please note that public hospitals may refuse to provide treatment due to capacity issues. Contact the hospital for additional questions about transportation costs.

What is an EHIC?
It is a free card that allows you in the EU Member States to use the health services that are medically necessary. To get an EHIC, submit an application through the HZZO web portal – or in person at the competent regional office or at the HZZO regional office and within 8 days of submitting your request you will be able to personally pick up the EHIC.
EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance.

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