Medical costs to increase in Iceland

Charges for seeing doctors and for prescription medicines in Iceland are set to increase on 1st January and the cost of ambulance transport for foreign tourists and those without state medical insurance is also set to increase considerably and ambulance trips will cost them no less than ISK 70,000 (EUR 436) after 1st January.

More and more people without Icelandic medical insurance are said to be seeking medical assistance; including residents who have lived in the country for less than six months. Currently they pay ISK 8,800 (EUR 55) per hour, or fraction thereof, spent in an ambulance; but that figure will go up to ISK 35,000 (EUR 218) from Sunday. In addition to this they currently pay ISK 660 for every kilometre driven; but that figure will go up to ISK 2,000 in 2012 and 15 kilometres will be the minimum distance charged. That means that non-insured people will pay a minimum of ISK 65,000 for ambulance transport and insured residents of Iceland will pay ISK 5,500. As with travel to every country, it is advisable to have valid travel insurance which covers medical fees when visiting Iceland.

From 1st January insured individuals will pay ISK 5,300 in hospital admittance fees instead of the current ISK 5,000 and fees for seeing a specialist physician will go up from ISK 3,900 to ISK 4,200. Discount cards will be given to those who have already paid ISK 29,500 or more in hospital fees for the year.

The cost of going to see a general practitioner at a health centre will remain unchanged.

Prescription medicines will increase in cost by around five percent; meaning that asthma medication (for example) will go up from ISK 6,200 to ISK 6,500. Those whose medicine is paid for by the state will not be affected by the change.

Everyone who has been legally resident in Iceland for six months automatically becomes a member of the Icelandic social insurance system, regardless of nationality. This applies unless intergovernmental treaties say otherwise. .

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