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Healthcare for international students

Welcome to the third article in our series for international students, written by Nabil El Kaouay. When you study abroad, healthcare is essential, so you can study and live in the best circumstances. Your status in the Swedish healthcare system will vary depending on where you are from.

Hand reaching out

Healthcare in Sweden

First things first: the emergency number to remember is 112 for urgent or life-threatening situations. If you get very ill, have an accident, or need to go to the hospital (called sjukhus) or the emergency clinic (called akutmottagning), never hesitate to call them.

If you get sick or need medical advice, you can always call the public healthcare guide on 1177 External link. (called Vårdguiden). Their website also has a lot of information in different languages. They also offer free health advice by phone in English and in other languages. They will refer you to the right service or organisation for your case.

  • Tip: download the 112 and 1177 apps, they could be very handy if you need them one day!

You can also contact the local clinic (called husläkarmottagning) or the primary care medical centre (called vårdcentral). Usually, every municipality has a separate one, and the phone number of the one for Flemingsberg is +46 (0)8 1234 500. They can help you make a doctor’s appointment or refer you to a specialist.

Lastly, there are emergency local units (called närakut) that deal with the same cases as local centres but need to be called beforehand.

Healthcare and dental coverage

The first scenario is that if you are registered in the Swedish population register, you should have received a personal ID number. This means that you are covered in the same way as other Swedish residents, so pay the normal Swedish patient fees in the public healthcare system.

The second scenario is that you do not have a personal ID number, but you are a resident of the European Union/European Economic Area. If so, you are covered like Swedish residents, so you are covered by health insurance in your home country and can present a European Union Health Insurance Card External link..

The third scenario, in which you do not have a personal ID number or an EU Health Insurance Card, means that you will not have subsidised costs. You must pay the full price, which could be very expensive.

Examples (costs may vary)Primary care doctorSpecialist doctorEmergency room visit
Reduced costSEK 200SEK 350SEK 400
Full costSEK 1,850 – 2,300SEK 5,400

One possible solution is to get private healthcare insurance, which can provide healthcare coverage in Sweden under certain conditions. Another solution is to apply directly at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (called
Försäkringskassan External link.). You could fulfil the conditions for healthcare coverage if you work in Sweden, for example. Please note that this process may take months, depending on your case and the conditions stated by the agency.For dental care, you can contact the Stockholm public dental services (called Folktandvården Stockholm External link.).Don’t ignore mental health - Södertörn University offers a range of services! Mental health is important, so don’t ignore it. Studying and living another country can be hard at times, and the first line of defence is to talk to your family, friends, and classmates. There are also resources on the campus. The University Chaplaincy External link. offers personal or group meetings in their listening space. They also offer weekly meditation sessions at the university library. The room of serenity, MC 339, is open to everyone! In collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, student health services are provided to students for free as a complement to public healthcare. The Student Wellbeing Centre External link. offers consultations, guidance and support sessions for study-related issues, and also group activities.

Tip: if you have a permanent disability and need support, you can apply for educational support. More info about the Funka External link. programme.

About the author: Nabil El Kaouay is an international student at Södertörn University, where he studies Journalism, and is also an international student ambassador for the university's International Office. Nabil originally comes from France and is eager to share his experiences at Södertörn University and in Stockholm with other international students.

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