Or a very bizarre mix of acronyms that all are the same thing? Not completely sure – but that is what I am going to assume here… Let us do FOLKETRYGDELOVEN first!
- As mentioned – we are MANDATORY members of the Norwegian Social Security System because we INTEND (apparantly very important) to be away for less than 12 months but need to apply for VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP because of the lack of joint registers in NAV – http://researchermomonthemove.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/application-for-voluntary-membership-in-the-norwegian-social-security-system/
- By being MANDATORY members AND because we are researchers that have been SENT ABROAD BY OUR NORWEGIAN EMPLOYER (the university – have to have sent N/USA 2 Attest om utsending av arbeidstaker fra Norge til USA (utstedes av NAV Utland ), we have rights according to the Norwegian TRYGDEAVTALE MED USA.
- This IS our de facto HEALTH INSURANCE while in the US!
So what is HELFO and HSI then? Well… let me try to make sense of it…
- HELFO is Helseøkonomiforvaltningen in Norway – a generic organization for ALL HEALTH INFORMATION IN NORWAY, under which is HELFO Utland – firstname.lastname@example.org or phone number +47 21 06 92 30
- On their homepage (press their logo for direct link) you will find information about health care rights abroad both within and outside the EØS (Europe).
- This link has all information about health care abroad: http://www.helfo.no/privatperson/helserettigheter-ved-opphold-i-utlandet/Sider/default.aspx
- It specifies that if you are a MANDATORY or VOLUNTARY MEMBER of the Norwegian Social Security System (Folketrygden) you are entitled to the following
Når du er medlem av folketrygden, kan du ved sykdom reise til Norge og få dekket utgifter til helsetjenester på vanlig måte. Folketrygden dekker imidlertid ikke selve hjemreisen.
- If you get ill while abroad, you need to FILL OUT THIS FORM TO GET REFUNDED: http://www.helfo.no/SiteCollectionDocuments/Skjemaer/Helsepersonell%20lasta%20opp%20240310/krav-om-utvidet-stonad-til-helsetjenester-i-utlandet-bm.pdf
- That is the role of HELFO in a nutshell – consider applications for reimbursement of health care expenses Norwegians have accrued while abroad if these have mandatory or voluntary membership in the Norwegian Social Security System.
- HSI is Health Systems International – it is a PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANY in the US that cooperates with HELFO – to make OUR lives easier!!
- Our rights are STILL under the Norwegian Social Security System – which is very comprehensive – but you get an AMERICAN INSURANCE CARD when you are with HSI. This insurance card affirms that you are entitled to have your expenses covered – this is imporant not only because it is – well – time saving – but also because many work places and universities in the US will demand that you have health insurance to be affilitated with them.
- You can contact HSI 24/7 and they can help you choose the right health care provider and they can also MAKE GUARANTEES all over the US which means you don’t have to pay yourself if you go to hospital – they will – which will make your life so much easier!
What is covered then while you are in the US?
Only real and necessary expenses
HELFO needs to have received the reimbursement form within 6 month of you receiving the bill. After this, you will not be reimbursed (this is for expenses you pay yourself – not expenses taken care of by HSI).
FULL REIMBURSEMENT: all necessary expenses if hospitalized (only medication that is considered legally approved in Norway – check before agreeing to new or experimental treatments – and not anything prescribed for use AFTER being discharged – then partial reimbursement applies), taken by ambulance (if emergency) and all pregnancy related doctor appointments.
PARTIAL REIMBURSEMENT (children do not pay the deductible (egenandel)):
- Doctor appointment – 25% deductible
- Lab work/x-ray – 25% deductible
- Psychologist – 25% deductible
- Phyisical therapy – 25% deductible
- Prescription medicine (blå resept) – 38% deductible (blå resept – or the equivalent – and only medication that that is used/will be used for a minimum of three months that is covered)
- Travel costs for treatment – NOK 130,- per trip (NOK 260,- round trip) – 2011 prices
- THE DEDUCTIBLE IS LIMITED TO NOK 1410,- per Calendar Year (2011) but is NOT coordinated with Norwegian deductibles.
HELFO DOES NOT COVER TRANSPORT BACK TO NORWAY IF YOU ARE SERIOUSLY/CHRONICALLY ILL – only treatment on site! You should consider having a home-transport insurance in addition to what is covered by the Norwegian Social Security System.