When preparing to study abroad, it is of the utmost importance to understand the nature and structure of the health care landscape in the country you will be calling home for a number of years. Some important considerations include: whether, as a condition of being granted a student visa, an international student is required to have health insurance, and does the country operate on a public or private healthcare model, or is it a mixture of both? If it is a mixed model, what options are covered under the general public plan, and which treatment options must be covered under a separate, private plan?
Luckily for international students studying abroad in Iceland, the quality of care in question is not of any concern—in fact, Iceland is home to one of the most highly regarded healthcare systems in the world. Coordinated through a series of general practitioners, the Icelandic health care system is wholly public. Individuals go through general practitioners for all health-related services, and the practitioner is authorized to refer patients to specialists or to hospitals. In Iceland, immediate admittance into a hospital is typically reserved for emergency care, so it is important to visit a general practitioner as soon as possible and outline any and all required medications or medical needs that may arise during your stay in the country.
After six months of living in the nation, residents of Iceland are eligible to opt into the national plan, which offers reduced or zero cost access to any of the country's healthcare facilities and general practitioners. However, international students who plan on studying abroad in Iceland must, as per Iceland visa insurance requirements, purchase health insurance coverage of at least 2,000,000 ISK that will remain valid throughout the duration of residence. This insurance will allow the policy holder to have the costs associated with receiving medical treatment either reduced or diminished in total, as well as giving the opportunity for reimbursement through an international student's home country. Moreover, those residents of Iceland that have opted into the national plan receive lower rates on all medical treatments—international students who meet Icelandic insurance requirements will also be billed at the rate of the Icelandic national plan (reducing the cost of medical care significantly).
Dental Care and other Extras
Unfortunately, dental care is not covered under the Icelandic health insurance plan. If an international student studying abroad in Iceland desires or requires regular dental treatments, check-ups, or cleanings, it is of the utmost importance that they take a private insurance policy that specifically covers those options while in Iceland. Moreover, there are certain “extras” that would be prudent for any international student to take in addition to the standard policy benefits like reduced/zero cost access to a general practitioner. These extras include emergency transportation coverage (both emergency transportation within the country as well as between countries), and dental coverage. While these options are not required to meet the minimum Iceland health insurance requirements, they are wise additions to any policy.
The healthcare system in Iceland is a robust public system with a number of insurance requirements. International students must possess coverage (valid from a date earlier than their arrival in Iceland) that lasts the duration of their stay in the country. With insurance in Iceland, international students will have access to some of the best healthcare in the world—allowing them to focus on more important aspects of making the most of their study abroad experience!