Information for people who have just been granted the status of refugees in Iceland
- Sjúkratryggingar Íslands (SÍ; Icelandic Health Insurance)
- As a refugee, you have the same right to healthcare services and to insurance from SÍ as other people in Iceland.
- If you have just been granted international protection, or a residence permit in Iceland on humanitarian grounds, you do not have to meet the condition of living here for 6 months before qualifying for health insurance. (In other words, you are covered by health insurance immediately.)
- SÍ pays part of the cost of medical treatment and of the prescription medications that meet certain requirements.
- UTL sends information to SÍ so that you are registered in the health insurance system.
- If you live outside the metropolitan area, you can apply for grants (money) to cover part of the cost of travelling or accommodation (a place to stay) for two trips each year for medical treatment, or more if you have to make repeated trips. You must apply in advance (before the trip) for these grants, except in emergencies. For further information, see:
- Réttindagátt Sjúkratrygginga Íslands (SÍ’s ‘entitlements window’)
Réttindagátt is an on-line information portal, a sort of ‘my pages’ showing you the insurance you are entitled to (have a right to). There you can register with a doctor and dentist and send all the documents you have to send in a safe and secure way. You can find the following:
- Whether you are entitled to have SÍ pay more towards the cost of medical treatment, medicines (drugs) and other healthcare services.
- Receipts from doctors that have been sent to SÍ, what SÍ has paid and whether you have the right to a refund (payment) of the cost that you have paid. You must register your bank details (account number) in Réttindagátt so that payments can be made to you.
- The position on your discount card and prescription card.
- Further information on Réttindagátt SÍ: https://rg.sjukra.is/Account/Login.aspx
- The health services
Iceland’s health services are divided into several parts and levels.
- Local health centres (heilsugæslustöðvar, heilsugæslan). These provide general medical services (doctor’s services) and also nursing, including home nursing and health care. They deal with minor accidents and sudden illnesses. They are the most important part of the healthcare services apart from the hospitals.
- Hospitals (spítalar, sjúkrahús)provide services for people who need to undergo more specialised treatment and be cared for by nurses and doctors, either occupying beds as in-patients or attending out-patient departments. Hospitals also have emergency departments treating people with injuries or emergency cases, and children’s wards.
- Specialists’ services (sérfræðingsþjónusta). These are mostly provided in private practices, either by individual specialists or teams working together.
Under the Patients’ Rights Act, if you do not understand Icelandic, you are entitled to have an interpreter (someone who can speak your language) to explain to you information about your health and medical treatment that you are to have, etc. You must ask for an interpreter when you book your appointment with a doctor at a health centre or hospital.
- Heilsugæsla (local health centres)
- The health centre (heilsugæslan) in your locality is the first place to go to for medical services. You can phone for advice from a nurse; to talk to a doctor, you must first make an appointment (arrange a time for a meeting). If you need an interpreter (someone who speaks your language) you must say this when you make the appointment.
- If your children need specialist treatment, it is important to start by going to the health centre (heilsugæsla) and getting a referral (a request) first. This will cut the cost of seeing the specialist.
- You can register with any health centre. Either go to the health centre (heilsugæslustöð) in your area, with your ID document, or register on-line at Réttindagátt sjúkratrygginga. For directions, see: https://www.sjukra.is/media/frettamyndir/Hvernig-skoda-eg-og-breyti-skraningu-a-heilsugaeslustod—leidbeiningar.pdf
- Psychologists and physiotherapists
Psychologists and physiotherapists usually have their own private practices.
- If a doctor writes a referral (request; tilvísun) for you to have treatment by a physiotherapist, SÍ will pay 90% of the total cost.
- SÍ does not share the cost of going to a private psychologist. However, you can apply to your trade union (stéttarfélag) or the local social services (félagsþjónusta) for financial assistance.
- Heilsuvera https://www.heilsuvera.is/ is a website with information about health issues.
- In the ‘My pages’ (mínar síður) part of Heilsuvera you can contact staff of the healthcare services and find information about your own medical records, prescriptions, etc.
- You can use Heisluvera to book appointments with the doctor, find out the results of tests, ask to have prescriptions (for medicines) renewed, etc.
- You must have registered for electronic identification (rafræn skilríki) to open mínar síður in Heilsuvera.
- Healthcare institutions outside the metropolitan (capital) area
Healthcare in smaller places outside the metropolitan area is provided by the regional healthcare institutions. These are:
Vesturland (Westen Iceland)
Vestfirðir (West Fjords)
Norðurland (Northern Iceland)
Austurland (Eastern Iceland)
Suðurland (Southern Iceland)
Pharmacies (chemists’, drugstores; apótek) outside the metropolitan area:
- Metropolitan health service (Heilsugæsla á höfuðborgarsvæðinu)
- The metropolitan health service operates 15 health centres in Reykjavík, Seltjarnarnes, Mosfellsumdæmi, Kópavogur, Garðabær and Hafnarfjörður.
- For a survey of these health centres and a map kort showing where they are, see: https://www.heilsugaeslan.is/heilsugaeslustodvar/
- Specialist services (Sérfræðiþjónusta)
- Specialists work both in the healthcare institutions and in private practice. In some cases you need a referral (request; tilvísun) from your ordinary doctor to go to them; in others (for example, gynaecologists – specialists treating women) you can simply phone them and arrange an appointment.
- It costs more to go to a specialist than to an ordinary doctor at a health centre (heilsugæsla), so it is best to start at the health centre.
- Dental treatment
- SÍ shares the cost of dental treatment for children. You have to pay a fee of ISK 2,500 for each visit to the dentist by a child, but apart from that, your children’s dental treatment is free.
- You should take your children to the dentist for a check-up every year so as to prevent tooth decay. Do not wait until the child complains of toothache.
- SÍ shares the cost of dental treatment for senior citizens (over age 67), people with disability assessments and recipients of rehabilitation pensions from the Social Insurance Administration (TR). It pays 50% of the cost of dental treatment.
- SÍ does not pay anything towards the cost of dental treatment for adults (aged 18-66). You can apply to your trade union (stéttarfélag) for a grant to help with meeting these costs.
- As a refugee, if you do not qualify for a grant from your trade union (stéttarfélag), you can apply to the social services (félagsþjónustan) for a grant to pay part of your dental treatment costs.
- Medical services outside ordinary office hours
- If you urgently need the services of a doctor or nurse outside the opening hours of the health centres, you should phone Læknavaktin (the after-hours medical service) 1700.
- Doctors at the local health clinics in the healthcare institutions outside the metropolitan area will answer calls in the evenings or at weekends, but if you can, then it is better to see them during the day, or use the phone service, tel. 1700 for advice, because the facilities during daytime hours are better.
- Læknavaktin for the metropolitan area is on the second floor of the shopping centre Austurver at Háaleitisbraut 68, 108 Reykjavík, tel. 1700, http://laeknavaktin.is/. It is open 17:00-23:30 on weekdays and 9:00 – 23:30 at weekends.
- Paediatricians (children’s doctors) run an evening and weekend service in Domus Medica in Reykjavík. You can book appointments from 12:30 on weekdays and from 10:30 at weekends. Domus Medica is at Egilsgata 3, 101 Reykjavík, tel. 563-1010.
- For emergencies (accidents and sudden serious illness) phone 112.
- Bráðamóttaka (Emergencies): What to do, where to go
- In emergencies, when there is a serious threat to health, life or property, phone the Emergency Line, 112. For more about the Emergency Line, see: https://www.112.is/
- Outside the metropolitan area there are are Accident and Emergency (A&E departments, bráðamóttökur) in the regional hospitals in each part of the country. It is important to know where these are and where to go in an emergency.
- It costs much more to use the emergency services than to go to the doctor at a health centre during the day. Also, remember that you have to pay for ambulance services. For this reason, it is recommended to use the A&E services in real emergencies only.
- Bráðamóttaka (Accident & Emergency, A&E) at Landspítali
- Bráðamóttakan í Fossvogi The A&E reception at Landspítali in Fossvogur is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round. You can go there for treatment for sudden serious illnesses or accident injuries that cannot wait for the procedure in the health centres or the after-hours service of Læknavaktin. : 543-2000.
- Bráðamóttaka barna For children, the emergency reception of the Children’s Hospital (Barnaspítala Hringsins) on Hringbraut is open 24 hours a day. This is for children and young people up to the age of 18. Tel.: 543-1000. NB in cases of injury, children should go to the A&E department at Landspítali in Fossvogur.
- Bráðamóttaka geðsviðs The emergency reception of Landspítali’s Psychiatric Ward (for mental disorders) is on the ground floor of the Psychiatric Department on Hringbraut. Tel.: 543-4050. You can go there without making an appointment for urgent treatment for psychiatric problems.
Open: 12:00–19:00 Mon.-Fri. and 13:00-17:00 at weekends and public holidays. In emergencies outside these hours, you can go to the A&E reception (bráðamóttaka) in Fossvogur.
- For information about other emergency reception units of Landspítali, see here hér.