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Denmark - Public Health System

How the public health system works in Denmark


The public health insurance in Denmark, financed by taxes, provides equal access to public health services to all Danish residents. Everyone residing in Denmark has the right to public health insurance services as well as hospital assistance. Some newcomers will have a 6 weeks window where they are only entitled to free emergency care, but have to pay for any other medical service until they are integrated into the public health system.

After having obtained the residence permit you need to apply for the personal identity number (CPR number) at the National Registration Office where, at the same time, you will choose a doctor in your area, whose name will be recorded on the medical insurance card which you will receive by mail.

The health insurance card is your key to access Denmark's free medical system, including hospitals, keep it on you at all times!

Your family doctor will deal with most of your family health needs either directly or through referral to specialists. In Denmark you do not just call up a specialist doctor, you only contact a specialist through your family doctor recommendation. This also goes for pediatric and gynecological visits. The doctor will issue a written referral, without which the bill will not be assumed by the public health insurance.

Should you not feel comfortable with your doctor, you are free to change at any time by contacting the local municipal office. Make sure the change is recorded with the issuance of a new medical card.

Services included in the public health insurance are:
-  free medical consultation from your family doctor (general practitioner)
- medical consultation from specialists based on referrals from your GP (including pediatric, dermatology and gynecological visits and in some cases also psychology and chiropractor consultations)
- subsidies for medicine
- subsidies for dental care

Not all medical services are entirely free. Some services will require from you a payment of a portion of the bill. Notice that when the bill is given to you, the state subsidy, which varies according to the type of treatment, has already been deducted.
The remainder of the bill is either paid by you or by your private health insurance.
Various option are available in the private health insurance sector, where policies are available to cover, in part or entirely, the portion of medical expenses not covered by the public health insurance.


If you move to Denmark from a EU/EEA country or from Switzerland, Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Macedonia, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovinia and are or have been covered by the public health insurance in that country, you are covered by the Danish health insurance as soon as you are a registered resident (you have obtained your CPR number).
You have to bring a document showing that you were covered in the country you are moving from signed by the local health authority.

If you move from an EU/EEA country to take up work in Denmark and you were covered by the public health insurance in the country you come from, you need the form E104.
Depending on yor lenght of saty in Denamrk you need:
- if you are stationed in Denmark less than 1 year, you need the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- if you intend to stay more than 1 year, the form E106 .
The forms, signed by the health insurance of the country you come from, have to be presented to the local authorities in Denmark.

EU/EEA nationals who have a private health insurance in their home country are not entitled to health care services and hospital assistance until 6 weeks after taking up residence here.

New arrivals from all other countries are entitled to public health insurance 6 weeks after arrival. With the exception of emergency hospital assistance, you must pay for any medical assistance you need during the first 6 weeks in Denmark.

Dental Care

You are free to choose any dentist (tandlæge in danish) you want, unlike other specialist doctors, without the need to consult your general practitioner.
The Danish state only covers a set fee of your dental bill, which has already been deducted when you receive your bill.
If you are covered by a private health insurance dental care is further reimbursed.

The only citizens having free dental care are resident children below the age of 18.
At 2 yrs old of age they are enrolled in the "municipal children and youth dental system" and will get periodical check-ups and treatment in the appropriate clinics throughout their youth.


Drugs are distinguished between "prescription" and "over-the-counter" drugs.

Prescription drugs are available only from pharmacies and need a prescription from a physician, dentist (or vet!) to be obtained.
Prescriptions from any Nordic country are valid in Denmark.
Most pharmacies are open for business from 9:00/9:30 am to 5:30/6:00 pm on weekdays and from 9:00/9:30 am to 12:00/2:00 pm on Saturdays.
If you need medicine outside business hours, you can go to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy. A service charge is added when buying medicine off business hours.

Over-the-counter drugs are sold without prescription in pharmacies as well as in various supermarkets, corner shops and gas stations which have been authorised to sell certain over-the-counter drugs.

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