665,000 Norwegians risk having to unnecessarily spend on holiday

European Health Insurance CardEuropean Health Insurance Card.Photo: Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix

665,000 Norwegians received new health insurance cards three years ago.If they are not renewed, they risk not receiving health care on holiday abroad.


European health insurance cards help thousands of Norwegian tourists on holiday in the EEA and Switzerland informed the Helfo Health Directorate’s external agency.

‘’By showing the health insurance card at public hospitals when on a European vacation,you will receive the necessary health care on the same terms as the citizens of the country in which you are staying. If an accident happens or you get sick,you pay a deduction in line with the citizens there,’’ said Heidi Kvaal Djupvik, Head of Division at Helfo Service Services.

She encouraged anyone traveling in the EEA or Switzerland this summer to obtain a European Health Insurance Card in good time before the holiday starts.

665,000 cards must be renewed

The health insurance card has a duration of three years since it has been issued,and this year there are 665,000 Norwegians who have cards more than three years old.

They must make sure to check the expiration date on the back of their card and order a new one. Most preferably this should be done no later than two weeks before departure, as normal delivery time is usually ten business days.

If you travel on a European holiday without the card, the bill can be significantly higher than it could be.

Not private

The health insurance card entitles you to cover “necessary” medical treatment at hospitals and clinics who are affiliated with the public health service of the country in which you are staying.

If health care is necessary, it is estimated what health care it will be and how long the stay in the country is going to last.

The card does not entitle you to cover expenses if you travel for the purpose of receiving medical treatment and the standard of treatment may vary from country to country.

“You can not necessarily expect the same treatment as you would have received in Norway,” Helfo emphasised.


The card applies to all countries in the EEA, including the UK, although the UK are preparing to leave the EU.

However, it does not work in Turkey or in the Turkish part of Cyprus, as they are not in the EEA.

Outside the EEA and Switzerland, it is the travel insurance that applies, and you should also have this insurance for a trip to a country where health care is covered by the health insurance card, according to Helfo.

‘’This is because the health insurance card does not cover treatment in private hospitals or by private doctors. The card also does not cover home transport,’’ said Kvaal Djupvik.

The whole family

Basically, you must be a member of the National Insurance Scheme and be a citizen of an EEA country for a European Health Insurance Card.

It can be ordered free of charge by phone or the website helsenorge.no, where you will also find useful information about the card itself.

“And keep in mind: everyone in the family must have their health insurance cards on their travels,” reminded Kvaal Djupvik, Director of the Department.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today