Exemption card for public health services

You receive an exemption card (in Norwegian: frikort for helsetjenester) for public health services once you have paid more than a certain amount in user fees. When you show the exemption card, you do not have to pay user fees for the remainder of the calendar year.

Man getting checked by a doctor

Illustration: Morten Rakke / Helfo

Two exemption card schemes become one

From 1 January 2021, there will only be one single exemption card scheme in Norway, instead of two schemes, as before.

This means that you can use the same exemption card for all the health services that are currently covered by the two different exemption cards.

With an exemption card for health services, you do not have to pay user fees for the rest of the calendar year. There will be a common user fee ceiling for all the services that are currently included in the exemption card scheme. The new user fee ceiling is NOK 2460.

The purpose of the merger is to make the scheme easier for the inhabitants, and to alleviate the users who currently have the highest expenses.

The services that currently earn user fee credit towards exemption cards for health services, will continue to do so.

You can find your exemption card, check registered user fees and change your account number in the Exemption card and user fees ("Frikort og egenandeler") service at helsenorge.no. Remember that most therapists may check if you have a free card by using the Norwegian Directorate of Health's inquiry service.

User fees from treatment by a doctor, physiotherapist, psychologist, outpatient clinic, laboratory and X-ray institute can provide user fee credit towards exemption cards. There may also be user fees for medicines on "blue prescription", some dental treatments, some rehabilitation stays and some treatment trips abroad.

Treatment and service providers are responsible for reporting all approved user fees to Helfo within 14 days. Your user fees are registered automatically.

Exemption card for health services  

User fees for

  • doctor
  • psychologist
  • outpatient clinic (hospital)
  • radiology department
  • patient travel
  • medicines and equipment on the "blue prescription"
  • examination and treatment by a physiotherapist
  • certain types of dental treatment
  • stays at an approved rehabilitation centre
  • travel for treatment abroad arranged by Oslo University Hospital - Rikshospitalet HF
Maximum user fees per year: NOK 2,460 (in 2021)  

You will receive the exemption card for  health services within three weeks from the date you have paid more than a total of NOK 2,460 (in user fees).

By logging in to the service Exemption card and user fees («Frikort og egenandeler») at helsenorge.no you can view your exemption card and user fees.

You will receive an SMS or e-mail depending on what notifications settings you have made at helsenorge.no.

If you have paid to much in user fees, you will automatically get back the right amount.

You can find more information about payments and user fees for different treatment providers on the following pages:

Physiotherapy: Examination and treatment by a physiotherapist who has a contract with or is permanently employed by the municipality. 

Dental diseases: Dental diseases and conditions that affect dental health. User fees for the following treatments are included in the scheme:

  • Diseases and abnormalities (malformations) in the mouth and jaw (in Norwegian: anomalier)
  • Treatment of certain forms of periodontitis (marginal periodontitis and peri-implantitis) (in Norwegian: marginal periodontitt and periimplantitt)

Dentists and dental hygienists are not bound by the defined reimbursement rates. They set their own prices. Even if you have an exemption card, you must still pay the difference between the price charged by the dentist/dental hygienist and the amount covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.

Rehabilitation: User fees at approved rehabilitation centres that have a contract with a regional health authority.

Travelling abroad for treatment: User fees for treatment trips abroad that are arranged by the Oslo University Hospital – Rikshospitalet. Adult patients pay a user fee, while children and adolescents receive the service for free. If you travel with someone, their costs are not included when Helfo calculates your exemption card entitlement.

Groups which are exempt from paying user fees

Children under 16 do not have to pay user fees. Some other groups are also exempt from paying user fees for examination and treatment.

You can find out more about exemption from user fees for recognised occupational injuries here.

By logging in to the service Exemption card and user fees («Frikort og egenandeler») at helsenorge.no you can view your exemption card and user fees.

You will receive an SMS or e-mail depending on what notifications settings you have made at helsenorge.no.

If you have paid to much in user fees, you will automatically get back the right amount.

Children under 16 and people with recognised occupational injuries are exempt from paying user fees for treatment by a physiotherapist. Everyone else must pay user fees for their first treatment starting from 1 January 2017.

Refunds and minimum refunds

Exemption card refunds are paid out as soon as possible. It may take ten work days for the payment to reach your bank account.

You can check which address and bank account number we have registered for you by logging into helsenorge.no.

Each year, the Norwegian Parliament sets the threshold amount (the user fee limit) for receiving an exemption card for public health services. If you pay more than this limit, the amount you are entitled to have refunded will be paid into your (bank) account. Parliament has decided that amounts less than NOK 200 will not be refunded (Section 22-19 (2) of the National Insurance Act).

However, if you are entitled to refunds from both the exemption card schemes that together come to more than NOK 200, the money will be paid back to you automatically.

Change of account number for exemption card refunds from Helfo

Helfo and NAV have a shared address and account number register that is used for the exemption card schemes (in Norwegian).

Coverage of travel expenses for medical treatment

Travel to and from treatment counts towards the user fee limit for the exemption card for health services. Log in to the Patient-travel service at helsenorge.no (in Norwegian) and send an application for cover of travel expenses for patient travel.

User fee reporting and exemption card look-ups

Your user fees are reported to us by your treatment/service provider. All treatment providers who charge user fees must report the user fees within 14 days. It is necessary for the treatment provider to do this in order for you to receive your exemption card within three weeks.

Treatment/service providers have the option of using a look-up service to check if you have to pay user fees or not. If the treatment provider has access to use this look-up service, you do not need to show your exemption card. If your treatment provider does not use the look-up service, you must continue to show your exemption card in order to avoid paying user fees.

Power of Attorney over exemption card communications

To contact Helfo on behalf of someone else you need to have power of attorney. Parents/guardians also require power of attorney for children over 16. This is because the legal age of majority in Norwegian health care is 16 years.

Health records contain sensitive information and should not be sent by e-mail. We therefore request that you send the power of attorney to Helfo by letter post. Remember to enclose a copy of valid proof of your identity. Complete the Power of Attorney form and send it to Helfo, Postboks 2415, 3104 Tønsberg.

Check your user fees and exemption card status

Log in to view your exemption card and user fees

By logging in to the service Exemption card and user fees ("Frikort og egenandeler", only in Norwegian) you can view your exemption card and registered user fees.

Even though the scheme is automatic, you should still save all your receipts so you can double check.

If you discover that a user fee is missing from the list, you can call Veiledning helsenorge.no (user service) at phone number 23 32 70 30. It may take up to three weeks for user fees to be registered by Helfo.

Other important exemption card information:

What is not covered by the exemption card schemes

You yourself must pay charges that are not approved user fees. Such charges do not count towards the user fee limits for exemption cards.

They may include fees for bandaging and equipment necessary for your treatment.

If you use private treatment providers who do not have reimbursement agreements, you will have to cover all the costs yourself.

Opting out of storing user fee information

You may opt out of the exemption card schemes (in Norwegian). In that case, you will not be included in the scheme for automatic issue of exemption cards for health services. If you opt out, treatment providers and health personnel will not be able to find out from the exemption card look-up service whether you are required to pay user fees or not.

You yourself must look after the receipts and apply for an exemption card once you have paid the amount that entitles you to exemption from more fees (the user fee limit).