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Does Iceland Have Universal Healthcare?

Does Iceland Have Universal Healthcare
Iceland’s national health service provides for all Yale Medicine Magazine, 2005 – Summer In Iceland, universal access to health care is enshrined in law. As a result the country has no private health insurance and the island’s 290,000 residents rely on a national health service—state-run hospitals and primary health care centers—at minimal charge.

  • If they see specialists in private practice, about 75 percent of the fees are reimbursed by the government.
  • Margrét Oddsdóttir, M.D., HS ’92, professor and chief of surgery at Landspitali University Hospital in Reykjavik, described the Icelandic health system in March at the 50th annual Samuel Clark Harvey Lecture sponsored by the Department of Surgery.

Most surgical procedures, she said, can be done in Iceland, but patients travel abroad for heart operations in infants, solid organ transplantation (other than living-related renal transplantation) and allogenic bone marrow transplantation. The national health system has a waiting list for surgery, but if waiting time exceeds six months, patients may travel abroad for treatment at government expense.

Is health Free in Iceland?

How much you’ll pay – State healthcare in Iceland is not completely free. You may have to pay some of the cost when you receive treatment. See how much you’ll pay for health services each year in Iceland Patient contributions are capped each month. The amount is lower if you’re a child, over 67 years old or disabled.

  • visits to healthcare clinics if you’re over 67 years old or disabled
  • inpatient hospital care and treatment
  • maternity care
  • all healthcare services for children with a GP referral

Dental care is not covered by Iceland Health Insurance for most people. Children’s dental care is free if they register with a family dentist. There’s an annual check-up charge for this of 2,500 Icelandic krona per child.

Is Iceland universal healthcare?

Iceland health system information Iceland has a state-centred system with universal coverage. The main bodies of the health system responsible for policy, financing, planning and regulation are Parliament, the ministries of Welfare and Finance, and a mix of public and private service providers, although publicly provided care is predominant.

The Ministry of Welfare has major policy-making and executive authority, and its agencies are responsible for health policy, administration and supervision. Though the country is divided into seven regions for health-care organization purposes, these regions have no administrative authority or separate revenue streams.

: Iceland health system information

Does a European health Card cover Iceland?

Healthcare – You should take out appropriate travel insurance that includes cover for emergency medical treatment and associated costs. Read more about what your travel insurance should cover, Most people cannot use a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to get medical treatment in Iceland.

What is the poverty rate in Iceland?

Statistics Iceland: One fifth of tenants at risk of poverty in 2018 The at-risk-of-poverty rate was 9% in Iceland in 2018, with 31,400 individuals living in households with disposable income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. The at-risk-of-poverty rate was lower in Iceland than in the other Nordic countries, where it was between 12% and 16.4%.

  • This is among newly published results from EU-SILC for Iceland.
  • Since the beginning of EU-SILC in Iceland, the at-risk-of-poverty rate has been higher among tenants than homeowners.
  • In 2018, about 20% of households living in rented quarters were at–risk-of-poverty while the rate was 6% among households living in their own property.

The at-risk-of-poverty rate has been 25% on average among tenants since the onset of the survey, the bottom being reached at 20% in 2014 and 2018 and the peak at 32% in 2009. The proportion of homeowners at-risk-of-poverty peaked at 11% in 2007 and reached its bottom in 2011 and 2012, when it was as low as 5%. Does Iceland Have Universal Healthcare The picture shows the at-risk-of-poverty-rate (%) and 95% confidence intervals. In 2018, 4% of individuals were materially deprived and about 0.7% were severely deprived. This is a decrease since 2016, when 6.1% lived in materially deprived households and 1.9% were severely deprived.

Material deprivation is relatively rare in Iceland in European comparison, as is the case for the other Nordic countries. In 2017, the proportion of individuals living in materially deprived households averaged at 15% in countries within the EU, being lowest in Sweden at 4% and highest in Bulgaria at 44%.

About the data The data comes from EU-SILC for Iceland. In addition to publishing results on material deprivation 2016-2018 previous results were re-evaluated. Due to a change in wording of the question regarding vacation, data from 2016-2018 is not fully comparable to previous data.

  1. At-risk-of-poverty rate is the proportion of individuals who have disposable income under the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.
  2. This threshold is defined as 60% of the median of disposable income per consumption unit, which are based on the total disposable income as well as the composition of the household.

Two adults with two children, as an example, need 2.1 times the disposable income of an individual who lives alone, to have equal disposable income. Those who are defined as living with material deprivation live in a household that fulfils at least three of the following criteria, according to the survey:

The household has been in arrears with mortgage or other loans due to financial difficulties in the past 12 months. The household cannot afford a week long holiday away from home. The household cannot afford meat, fish or comparable vegetarian meal at least every second day. The household cannot face unexpected costs. The household cannot afford a telephone or a mobile phone. The household cannot afford a television. The household cannot afford a washing machine. The household cannot afford a car. The household cannot afford keeping the house adequately warm.

Statistics : Statistics Iceland: One fifth of tenants at risk of poverty in 2018

Is Iceland nice to live in?

What is it like living in Iceland? – Iceland is considered to be a great place to live in. Iceland has been ranked among the top countries in the world in terms of quality of life, safety, and happiness. The country boasts a high standard of living, excellent healthcare and education systems, a clean and healthy environment, and a strong economy. Does Iceland Have Universal Healthcare

Why is Iceland so expensive?

Iceland is relatively expensive compared to many other countries but on the other hand, the average salary is higher than in most other countries. There are several reasons for Iceland’s high prices, including a small market, oligopoly, high reliance on imports, geographical isolation and high import taxes and tolls.

  1. Not everything is expensive in Iceland, however, the most notable exception is energy, including electricity, water and geothermal power, which is relatively cheap.
  2. That is an advantage for Iceland during the current global energy crisis.
  3. Iceland’s geography means that most goods are imported and products need to be transported on container ships or by air.

The small market only has a handful of companies handling imports to Iceland. Two companies take care of most shipping and the air cargo transport industry also has limited competition. The climate doesn’t help, as harsh weather conditions in winter can negatively impact transportation.

  • Oligopoly is a wide-ranging issue across sectors.
  • Most Icelandic grocery stores are run by one of two companies, Hagar and Festi with a single location of American Costco as their main competitor.
  • The same two companies own most gas stations and Costco runs one station, which also happens to be the cheapest alternative for car owners.
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And the list goes on. Taxes in Iceland are high, including import taxes, and again, it’s due to Iceland’s small market and population. However, the state maintains a strong infrastructure, e.g. a wide-ranging welfare system and an extensive road network.

  1. When fewer people shoulder those costs, it means higher taxes per person.
  2. The state also levies heavy tolls on imports in order to maintain local production, for environmental, social, and safety reasons.
  3. Local production, e.g.
  4. Food production, does not have the same economies of scale as producers in other countries and therefore cannot keep the prices down to the same level.

In order to support local production, protective tariffs are used on imports. These reasons seemed validated e.g. during the Covid pandemic when global supply lines were disrupted. Iceland’s small population leads to a small market making it less attractive to global companies.

A good example is from the global financial crisis in 2008 when the exchange rate of the local currency ISK plummeted. McDonald’s no longer considered Iceland a feasible market to operate in, so they shut down all McDonald’s locations in the country, A side note: Some Icelanders were happy to see the American burger chain leave the country while others missed it immediately, some to the extent that the first thing they do when visiting other countries is to grab a McDonald’s burger.

In a similar vein, some Icelanders have regularly complained about the lack of Starbucks, but the café chain has never seen a reason to open a branch in Iceland due to the small size of the market. When Costco opened a store in Iceland in 2017, there was great excitement in the air, as Icelanders were only used to local grocery stores like Bónus and Krónan, where the variety is limited compared with other countries and prices are also significantly higher.

The hype was so great that a large part of the population joined a Facebook group for sharing photos and prices of products bought in Costco. When this is written, roughly 25% of Iceland’s population are members of the group (97,482 members while the population of Iceland was 387,800 at the end of 2022).

Tourism has raised prices in certain categories, most notably the housing market where the explosion of Airbnb rental availability has limited the supply of housing available for locals to rent and pushed up prices. During the pandemic when tourism dried up in Iceland temporarily, the prices of rental housing unexpectedly went down after several years of steep increases, ever since the tourism boom around 2010.

The government has taken initiatives to mitigate the Airbnb effect by setting a maximum of 90 days for short-term rental per year on the same tax level as other housing rentals. If people want to rent their apartments for more than 90 days each year, they’re taxed as if they were a business in the hospitality industry.

Through the years, Iceland has had numerous vicious circles of relatively steep salary increases followed by price increases, inflation and increased interest rates, At the time of writing, we are going up with the rollercoaster, as ongoing labour talks have proven tricky to resolve.

Some workers are striking in an effort to get higher wages and the Central Bank just increased the interest rates for the 11th time in less than two years to combat inflation, which will in turn increase interest rates on people’s mortgages and increase the pressure on higher salaries. The other side of the coin is that Iceland offers higher salaries and a relatively high purchasing power despite the high cost of living.

In times of crises and rapid inflation, locals tend to do what they can to minimise such effects by reverting back to traditions from a time when tough times necessitated a more frugal way of life. For example, when the financial crisis hit in 2008, people started to buy and even make their own slátur (an Icelandic speciality from the innards of sheep, similar to the Scottish haggis).

The innards of sheep also increased in popularity as the main ingredients for dinner, e.g. hearts, liver and kidneys. In times of crises, people also tend to buy more wool and the popularity of knitting goes up. Not only are woollen hats, mittens, and sweaters great for keeping out the winter cold, but the knitting itself is a pleasant, relaxing activity.

Recipes for a classic fish stew (plokkfiskur) start to appear more frequently, and baking and bringing lunch packs to work or school become commonplace. For tourists in Iceland, there are various ways to save while enjoying a great trip. For breakfast, you could get ingredients from the low-cost grocery stores such as Bónus (the cheapest supermarket in Iceland ) and Krónan instead of more expensive convenience stores, e.g.

Mandi offers Syrian food like shawarma and falafel and is probably the most popular lunch place in Reykjavík (it has a branch downtown and in Skeifan) The Noodle Station in Reykjavík is also widely popular and offers noodle soup available in three variations: chicken, beef and vegetable, along with a mix of secret ingredients Café Loki downtown Reykjavík offers a nutritious and filling Icelandic lamb meat soup and fish stew with rye bread Ramen Momo produces organic fresh noodles. Most of the ingredients in their dishes are locally made 101 Reykjavík Street Food specializes in local food as well as international favourites, e.g. fish & chips, Icelandic fish stew and lamb soup (kjötsúpa)

To sum up the points above, these are the main reasons for high prices in Iceland:

Geographic isolation Oligopoly with very few companies dominating various sectors High taxes and import tolls Small population, hence a small market Many global companies don’t see the market as feasible (e.g. McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks) Tourism has increased demand in some sectors and thereby the prices, most notably in housing, with Airbnb rentals

Despite high consumer prices, salaries are also high, which makes for a relatively high purchasing power in international comparison. Then there are various ways for people to save, including buying food in supermarkets rather than restaurants. See also our ASK IR on the cost of living in Iceland,

Is healthcare free for foreigners in Iceland?

If you need further help, you visit the two specialized hospitals at Reykjavik and Akureyri. Inpatient treatment is free of cost. The universal healthcare system provides healthcare free of charge to everyone, including the unemployed, old, and otherwise challenged if they are admitted to hospitals.

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Can you live comfortably in Iceland?

What is life like in Iceland? – While there are many, many positive things to say about living in Iceland, we can’t ignore the high cost of living. According to Expatistan, Iceland has the fifth-highest living expenses in the world. And while utility bills may be low compared to the US, UK, and other parts of Europe, other everyday expenses like food and drink, clothing, and housing may not compare as favorably. Why is the cost of living in Iceland so high? Partly it’s due to its isolated location, which makes importing goods expensive. It’s also a small country with a cold climate, so it can’t manufacture as many of its own products or grow as much produce as many other countries.

As VAT and income tax are also high, this drives up the cost of labor, meaning prices have to increase. If you’re considering relocating, be aware that the cost of buying or renting a home in Iceland is also pretty high – partly because the country’s attracted a large number of tourists and ex-pats in the last few years.

In Reykjavik, it would cost around 232,178 ISK (Icelandic krona) per month to rent a furnished one-bedroom apartment in an average neighborhood – that’s about £1,400 a month. According to the National Registry of Iceland, buying a home in the capital cost upwards of 80 million ISK in 2020 – that’s over £490,000.

Which EU country has the lowest minimum wage?

Variations in national minimum wages – Minimum wages in the EU Member States ranged from 399 per month in Bulgaria to €2 387 per month in Luxembourg On 1 January 2023, 22 out of the 27 EU Member States had a national minimum wage including Cyprus (as of 1 January 2023). Figure 1: Minimum wages, January 2023 and January 2013 (levels, in € per month and average annual growth, in %) Source: Eurostat (earn_mw_cur) Based on the level of their national gross monthly minimum wages applicable on 1 January 2023, expressed in €, the EU Member States concerned may be classified into three different groups; (see Figure 1, non-EU countries are shown separately).

Group 1, with a national minimum wage above €1 500 per month. This group includes: Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland and France. Their national minimum wages ranged from €1 709 in France to €2 387 in Luxembourg.

Group 2, with a national minimum wage higher than €1 000 but lower than € 1 500 per month. This group includes: Slovenia and Spain. Their national minimum wages were €1 167 in Spain and €1 203 in Slovenia.

Group 3, with a national minimum wage below €1 000 per month. This group includes: Cyprus, Portugal, Malta, Lithuania, Greece, Poland, Estonia, Czechia, Slovakia, Croatia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. Their national minimum wages ranged from €399 in Bulgaria to €940 in Cyprus.

All candidate and potential candidate countries with a national minimum wage would belong to group 3, with minimum wage levels ranging from €298 in Albania to €532 in Montenegro. The United States would fall within group 2 (€1 178 per month, at federal level).

  1. The average annual growth rate between January 2013 and January 2023 was highest in Romania (+14.4 %) followed by Lithuania (+11.2 %) and Bulgaria (+9.7 %).
  2. The lowest average annual growth rates among EU Member States were recorded in Malta (+1.7 %), followed by France (+ 1.8 %) and Greece (+ 2.0 %).

Note: for countries whose national currency is not the euro (€): Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Romania, candidate and potential candidate countries except Montenegro* as well as the United States, the minimum wage has been converted to euro using the exchange rate in force on 1 January 2023.

How do people in Iceland make money?

Iceland is a stable democracy with an active consumer economy. The pillars of the Icelandic economy are aluminum smelting, fishing, and tourism. Iceland’s main material exports are aluminum products and fish products, and main service exports are tourism related services.

  • In 2017, tourism accounted for 42% of total exports of goods and services, while marine products were 17% of total exports, aluminium products another 17%, and manufacturing products other than aluminum accounted for 6%.
  • Main material imports to Iceland in 2017 were industrial supplies 27%, capital goods (except for transport) 21%, transport equipment 19%, fuels and lubricants 12%, consumer goods 13%, and food and beverages 8%.

The United States is now Iceland’s largest trading partner by country, both in terms of exports and imports (2016). European Union Member States remain Iceland’s most important trading partners collectively, with exports from Iceland to the EU accounting for 72.3% of total exports, and around two thirds of all imports coming from the EU.

  • The booming tourism industry is a major contributor to the fact that the U.S.
  • Is now Iceland’s largest trading partner by country, as the vast majority of tourists now come from the U.S., and tourism is considered export of services.
  • Iceland is an island nation about the size of the state of Kentucky.

It is located in the North Atlantic Ocean between Greenland and Norway. The first settlers arrived from Norway in 874. Iceland achieved full independence from Denmark in 1944, having been ruled by the Norwegians and then the Danes for almost 700 years.

Iceland is a member of EFTA (1970) and the EEA (1994). It is also a member of NATO but has no armed forces of its own. The United States, on behalf of NATO, bears primary responsibility for the defense of Iceland under the terms of a 1951 bilateral defense agreement. The United States maintained a Naval Air Station in Iceland until September 2006 when the base was closed.

Although Iceland had applied to join the EU in 2009, in May 2015, a new Icelandic government decided to halt the accession negotiations. With a population of 350,000, the domestic market is small. Icelanders, however, are generally well-educated, with sophisticated tastes, and accepting of American consumer goods.

Almost all Icelanders speak English, and there is virtually no language barrier for Americans doing business in Iceland. Iceland is one of the most advanced countries in the world in the use of information and telecommunications technology. The economic environment of Iceland has been characterized by low inflation and a healthy economic growth rate over the last few years (1.2 percent in 2012; 4.4 percent in 2013; 1.9 percent in 2014; 4.1 percent in 2015; 7.2 percent in 2016; and 3.8% in 2017).

Economic growth has slowed down since 2016, with projected growth in 2018 2.9%. GDP amounted to approximately $20.3 billion in 2016, and preliminary numbers indicate that GDP was $24 billion in 2017, using the average exchange rate of 2017. Iceland also has very low unemployment at around 2-3%, and shortage of workers could inhibit further economic growth.

  1. As Iceland is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), residents from other EEA countries, mostly Poland, are immigrating to Iceland, helping to alleviate some of the job market constraints.
  2. Around 12-13% of the workforce in Iceland are foreign citizens.
  3. Until recently, U.S.
  4. Investment in Iceland has mostly been centered in the aluminum sector, with Alcoa and Century Aluminum operating plants in Iceland.
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However, U.S. portfolio investments in Iceland have been steadily increasing in recent years. Several U.S. brands and franchises have entered the Icelandic market recently, including Costco, Hard Rock Café, KFC/Taco Bell, and Krispy Kreme, and more are testing the waters.

Iceland’s convenient location between the United States and Europe, a large number of American tourists demanding U.S. products, Iceland’s high levels of education and English proficiency, and general interest in U.S. products make Iceland a promising market for U.S. companies. The booming tourism industry has grown by double digits in each of the last seven years.

From 2010 to 2017, the number of tourists visiting Iceland increased by more than 470%. However, growth in the industry is expected to slow down in 2018 to 7%, with the projected number of tourists reaching 2.5 million.U.S.-based Carpenter & Company is currently constructing the first 5-star hotel in Reykjavik, which will be operated by the Marriott chain.

There are additional investment opportunities in sectors that cater to tourists, as well as in the restaurant sector. A new consumer market is emerging along with the fast growing tourism sector, as the number of tourists in Iceland far exceeds the local population of 350,000. The number of U.S. tourists in Iceland grew by almost 380% between 2014 and 2017, and Americans are now the largest tourist population in Iceland, generating more demand for U.S.

products. Information Technology (IT) has also been one of the fastest growing sectors of the Icelandic economy. Iceland’s IT sector spans all areas of the digital economy. Data management systems, workflow systems, communications solutions, wireless data systems, mobile systems, Internet solutions, e-commerce content and solutions, gaming, healthcare solutions and of course fisheries technology systems are all exported to overseas markets.

  1. The Icelandic energy grid derives 99% of its power from renewable resources, making it uniquely attractive for energy-dependent industries.
  2. For instance, the data center industry in Iceland is rapidly expanding, with many data centers focusing on cryptocurrency mining and related activities.
  3. The Icelandic government has taken the final steps to resolve the estates of the three banks that failed in the 2008 financial crisis and to lift the subsequently imposed capital controls.

On March 12, 2017, the cabinet and the Central Bank announced that effective March 14, they would lift capital controls involving “foreign exchange transactions, foreign investment, hedging, and lending activity”. Some permanent prudential protections against foreign exchange instability will remain.

This liberalization should help attract further investment to Iceland, and allow Icelandic companies the foreign exchange necessary to invest or expand abroad. Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S.

Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Can I take paracetamol to Iceland?

Medicine – Iceland allows travelers to bring personal prescription medicines (up to a 100 day supply) without a customs declaration. A formal doctor’s note may be requested by Icelandic customs officials.

What healthcare do I need for Iceland?

Iceland, EU healthcare and the EHIC – Healthcare is universal and good quality in Iceland. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid and gives you access to healthcare for free or at a reduced cost. It may also cover pre-existing medical conditions,

Since the UK left the EU, EHIC cards have been replaced by GHIC (Global health insurance cards). Similarly to the EHIC, these allow you to access state provided medical treatment whilst abroad. It’s worth noting that the GHIC card is only valid in EU countries. You can apply for an GHIC using the NHS website,

If you lose your GHIC, or don’t have it when you need treatment in Iceland, you can call the Department of Health Overseas Healthcare Team on +441912181999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate. However, your EHIC or GHIC will not cover certain costs, including getting you home in an emergency.

For that, you’ll need travel insurance. Ambulances are not free in Iceland. If you have an EHIC or GHIC, you’ll be charged a fixed cost, but it’s best to take a car or taxi to hospital unless it’s an emergency. To make sure you’re covered for treatment costs, you’ll need medical cover in your travel insurance policy as well as an EHIC or GHIC.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll need to tell your insurer before you travel, or you won’t be covered for them while you’re away.

Is healthcare free for foreigners in Iceland?

If you need further help, you visit the two specialized hospitals at Reykjavik and Akureyri. Inpatient treatment is free of cost. The universal healthcare system provides healthcare free of charge to everyone, including the unemployed, old, and otherwise challenged if they are admitted to hospitals.

Do you have to pay to see a doctor in Iceland?

Some background on the Icelandic Social Insurance (Health Care) System – Everyone who lives in Iceland for six months—regardless of nationality— automatically becomes a member of the Icelandic social insurance system, (If you are from a non-European country, you’ll need to purchase six months of private Icelandic insurance to cover this period of non-coverage before you will be granted a visa.) Once you become part of the social insurance system, the payment process at any neighborhood clinic (more on these below) is rather simple.

At the clinic, you give the person at the front desk your national ID number, she will confirm you in the system, and you will pay a very nominal fee (like a co-pay in the US) to see a nurse or doctor. The health benefits granted to anyone covered by the social insurance system are extensive (free hospitalization! free maternity care!); see the link below for a full list of services that anyone in the Icelandic system is entitled to.

Prior to becoming part of the Icelandic social insurance system, however, you are responsible for furnishing your own private insurance and, in some cases, paying for the doctor’s fee up front. Anyone coming from Europe should have a fairly easy time of this—Icelandic health clinics will accept European insurance directly and the patient is not expected to pay for the full doctor’s visit out of pocket.