Health Care

Sweden’s healthcare system and health insurance are world-renowned. The country has such an effective scheme in place that many other countries around the globe use it as a model for their healthcare system. Part of the reason is that the public health system is so comprehensive that many residents do not feel the need for private insurance in Sweden. Less than 10% of native Swedes use private insurance. 

Expats who want to use Sweden's healthcare system will need to register as Swedish residents first. If you do not register, you will need to buy private health insurance instead. Private health insurance is more expensive than using the public system, but benefits include shorter wait times and a great selection of practitioners when looking into how to find a doctor. Expectant mothers are required to get Swedish residency as there is very little pre-and post-natal care within private hospitals. Pregnant ex-pats can also expect to give birth with the aid of a midwife rather than a doctor.


the overall HIGH-QUALITY Swedish healthcare is largely tax-funded

The Swedish health system performs well in general, life expectancy in the country is high and the general health among the population is good. This is confirmed by reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), among others. 

One particular example of excellence in Sweden is Karolinska University Hospital, which ranked as the seventh-best hospital in the world when Newsweek/Statista ranked 2,000 hospitals in 25 countries in March 2021.


Swedish healthcare is decentralised – responsibility lies with the regional councils and, in some cases, local councils or municipal governments.

Sweden is divided into 290 municipalities and 21 regional councils. This decentralisation is regulated by the Health and Medical Service Act (link in Swedish). The role of the central government is to establish principles and guidelines, and to set the political agenda for health and medical care.

The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs that compiles information and develops standards to ensure good health, social welfare and high-quality health and social care for the whole population.

Local and regional responsibilities

Swedish policy states that every regional council must provide residents with good-quality health and medical care, and work to promote good health for the entire population. Since 2019, regional councils cover dental care costs for local residents up to the age of 23. Dental care from the age of 24 is subsidised by the state.

Regional councils are political bodies whose representatives are elected by region residents every four years on the same day as national general elections.

Sweden’s municipalities are respons­ible for care for the elderly in the home or in special accommodation. Their duties also include care for people with physical dis­abilities or psychological disorders and providing support and services for people released from hospital care as well as for school healthcare.

Public and Private

In Sweden, there are both public and private providers of healthcare, and the same regulations apply to both.

When regional councils buy services from private healthcare providers, it is based on a a model where the healthcare is financed by the council but carried out by the private provider.

There are several digital healthcare solutions provided by private actors, such as patient–doctor apps, e.g.

People with Disabilities

Sweden's policy is to ‘achieve equitable living conditions and full participation in a diverse society for people with disabilities. 

One intent of this objective is to help increase gender equality and ensure that a child-rights perspective is taken into account. 

1177 is your complete guide for health care in Sweden. Choose your region/county for information about health care services in your area. Make sure to register yourself and your family at your local health care center.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has a national responsibility for public health issues and works to ensure good public health.

A doctor sends an e-prescription from his computer, it ends up with the E-health authority. All pharmacies can then pick up the e-prescription and hand out the medicine to the customer. 

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