Health care

Sweden

Country Report: Health care Last updated: 21/04/21

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During the asylum process and until the asylum seeker leaves Sweden or is granted a residence permit, he or she is entitled to necessary medical care as provided by the LMA. However, adults without children can be left without shelter and money if they refuse to leave Sweden voluntarily within 4 weeks of an expulsion order gaining legal force. They must hand in their officially issued bank card and the card that allows them access to subsidised health care to the Migration Agency. The account is closed immediately when the 4 weeks have passed and any remaining money in the account is forfeited.

County councils are the authorities that are responsible for primary health care centres (vårdcentralen), hospitals and the National Dental Service (Folktandvården).

Every asylum seeker has the right to a free medical examination. They are entitled to emergency or urgent medical and dental care. The local county council decides on what kind of care that includes. They are also entitled to gynaecological and prenatal care, as well as care in accordance with the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act. After the entry into force of amendments to the law in 2017, persons with a final order to leave have the right to health care and medicine only in urgent cases.[1] However, the Migration Agency does not provide any financial assistance for health care or medicine in these cases, nor can the LMA card be used to obtain subsidies in doctor’s visits.

Children and teenage asylum seekers under 18 are entitled to the same health care as all other children living in the county council area where they are seeking treatment.[2]

Asylum seekers holding an LMA card pay 50 SEK (€4.80) to see a doctor at the district health centre or to receive medical care after obtaining a referral. Other medical care, such as with a nurse or physical therapist, costs 25 SEK (€2.30) per visit. Medical transportation costs €4,80. The fee for emergency care at a hospital varies from county to county. Visits after referral to other health care providers such as nurses, physiotherapists or counsellors cost 25 SEK (€2.30).[3]

Asylum seekers pay no more than 50 SEK (€4.80) for prescription drugs. That applies to children as well.

If an asylum seeker pays more than 400 SEK (€38.00), medical transportation and prescription drugs within 6 months, they can apply for a special allowance. The Migration Agency can compensate for costs over 400 SEK. The “400 SEK rule” applies individually for adults and common for siblings under 18. Dental and emergency hospital care are not covered.

A study conducted by the Karolinska Institute revealed that the suicide rate among asylum-seeking young people reached 51.2 out of 100,000 persons; while for the general population (but the same group of age) the suicide rate was as low as 5.2 out of 100,000 persons. The study further documented 43 suicides by 2017, an issue that persisted up until 2020 as six suicides and three suicide attempts were recorded during that year.[4] In another study from 2020, the Red Cross University College and the Swedish Public Health Agency looked at the prevalence of post-traumatic stress among young newcomers living at the municipalities between 2014-2018. The results indicated that 56% of asylum-seeking young people from Afghanistan suffered from post-traumatic stress.

As regards access to health care in 2020, it should be noted that medical assistance in the context of Covid-19 is considered as urgent care, meaning that asylum seekers and undocumented migrants have access to it. Covid-19 vaccines will further be offered for free to everyone in Sweden, including asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.

 

 

[1]  Section 7,  Law  (2013: 407) on health care for certain foreigners staying in Sweden without the necessary permits (Lag (2013:407) om hälso- och sjukvård till vissa utlänningar som vistas i Sverige utan nödvändiga tillstånd).

[2] 1177 Vårdguiden, ‘Healthcare in Sweden for asylum-seekers, people with no papers and people in hiding’, available at: http://bit.ly/2GoMC3k.

[3]   Ibid.

[4] EvaMärta Granqvist och Joel Larsson. Find a humane solution for Sweden’s unaccompanied young people – now!, October 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3ugPWpB.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – I Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation