Do you need medical treatment during a temporary stay in Denmark?

Public healthcare services during a temporary stay in Denmark

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If you fall ill during a stay in Denmark, for example during your holidays, you may be charged for acute and continuous hospital treatment.

However, you do not have to pay for treatment if, for example, you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have public health insurance in another EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland - and can show a valid European Health Insurance Card (or, alternatively, a Provisional Replacement Certificate for the card)
  • You reside and have health insurance in one of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland or Iceland)
  • You reside in the Faroe Islands or Greenland – however, you may be charged for continuous hospital treatment
  • You can prove that you are under 18 at the time of treatment.If you are unsure as to whether you have to pay for treatment, you can receive guidance on you rights and options from the regional patient advisers.

Contact information for the Danish National Contact Points - (link to web article 1.5 on guidance from national contact points)

If you have a valid European Health Insurance Card or a Provisional Replacement Certificate for the card, you will be entitled to receive treatment that is necessary during your temporary stay in Denmark, i.e. treatment which cannot wait until you are back in your home country. This can be treatment due to an acute illness. This can also be necessary treatment relating to a chronic or pre-existing illness and treatment in connection with pregnancy and childbirth.

You are entitled to treatment in the Danish public healthcare system on the same terms and conditions as apply to insured Danish citizens.

It will always be the treating doctor or other healthcare professional who assesses whether you need a specific treatment during your stay in Denmark and, in that case, what treatment you can be offered.

Find more information of how to use the European Health Insurance Card on the website of the EU Commission.

Limits of the coverage by the European health insurance card

Please note that the European Health Insurance Card does not cover all situations. The card does not cover:

  • treatment by private healthcare professionals or private hospitals which do not form part of the Danish public health system
  • expenses for return journey to your home country – either where it is ordered by a doctor or in the event of death
  • planned treatment i.e. if you travel to Denmark for the purpose of being treated.

You may, however, seek planned treatment in Denmark under a different set of rules. 

If you are a national of a country outside the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, you can only use your European Health Insurance Card if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are insured as a family member of an EU/EEA or Swiss national. This also applies even if you live in an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein  or Switzerland.
  • You reside and have health insurance in another Nordic country (Finland, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland).
  • You are stateless under Article 1 of the 1954 UN Convention relating to the status of stateless persons.
  • You are a refugee under Article 1 of the 1951 UN Convention relating to the status of refugees.

If you reside and have health insurance in another Nordic country, you are entitled to necessary treatment within the Danish public healthcare system when you stay temporarily in Denmark. This applies regardless of your nationality.

To access healthcare services in Denmark, you must be able to prove that you are resident in another Nordic country.

Coverage of additional expenses for return journey

The Nordic countries have entered into a special agreement which, on certain terms, covers  your additional expenses for the return journey to your home country. The rules are to be found in the Nordic Convention on social security.

If you fall ill while staying in Denmark and a doctor assesses that you must travel home in a different or more expensive manner than planned, your additional expenses for your journey home may be covered.

How the return journey is arranged

When you are staying in Denmark, it is the Danish authorities which decide whether you need to return home in a different manner than you had planned.

As a rule, it will be the hospital where you are receiving treatment that will arrange your return journey.

How additional expenses are calculated

The part of the expenses which exceeds the price that you would have paid for your planned journey home is regarded as additional expense. You cannot be refunded a larger sum than you originally would have paid for your journey home.

If you believe that you have been wrongfully charged for treatment that you have received at a public health establishment in Denmark, you can file a complaint to the Danish Agency for Patient Complaints.

You can find out more about how you can make a complaint on the Agency's website. 

Last updated: 12 December 2020