Physiotherapy in the EU/EEA

You may be entitled to reimbursement of part of your expenses for physiotherapy in another EU/EEA country. Go through all the steps in this guide to understand your rights and what you need to do to obtain a reimbursement. You will find the claim form in step 6.

A therapist shows a woman exercises

1

Your rights

You can benefit from physiotherapy treatment in another EU/EEA country and be reimbursed a proportion of your expenses equivalent to what you would have received in Norway.

You will only be reimbursed for necessary expenses for treatment that is critical to your condition and functional ability. The content and scope of the treatment must correspond to what you would have been covered for in Norway.

To be eligible to use this scheme, you must be a member of the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme. In many cases, the scheme also applies to family members. You are not entitled to a subsidy from Norway for treatment in an EU/EEA country where you are considered to have your regular domicile. Click here for important information on who qualifies for the scheme.

If you are staying temporarily in another EU/EEA country and a situation arises for which you need essential healthcare, you can use the European Health Insurance Card. This may also apply to physiotherapy.

Are you planning on receiving health care in The United Kingdom? Read more about the consequences of Brexit.

Example

Janne has a sore shoulder. She has received treatment from a physiotherapist in Norway, but now wants to continue with treatment in another EU/EEA country while on holiday.

2

You must find a treatment provider yourself

You must find a physiotherapist in another EU/EEA country yourself.

The treatment provider must be officially licensed and have the right to practise in the country in question. It is your responsibility to confirm this in advance. When you apply to Helfo for reimbursement, you may be asked to document that the physiotherapist meets the requirements.

If the treatment can only be carried out by a manual therapist or a psychomotor physiotherapist, the practitioner abroad must have the corresponding specialist approval/authorisation.

Example

Janne goes on holiday to Spain and knows that she needs physiotherapy treatment while on holiday. She has searched the internet and found a physiotherapy practice she wants to use. Janne receives confirmation from the institute that the therapist she will go to has a publicly approved authorisation and is allowed to practise in Spain.

3

What can you be reimbursed for?

You may only be reimbursed for expenses for treatment that you would also have been covered for in the public health service in Norway.

You can only be reimbursed for expenses for treatment that corresponds to what you would have received if you had gone to a physiotherapist with an operating subsidy in Norway.

The amount you will be reimbursed for is limited to what the treatment would have cost in Norway's public health service. Costs for physiotherapy treatment are calculated based on Norwegian public rates:

  • If you have paid more than the calculated cost for Norway, the amount reimbursed will be less than what you have paid for the healthcare.
  • If you have paid less than the calculated cost for Norway, the amount reimbursed will correspond to your actual expenses. 

Travel for treatment abroad under the specialist healthcare service is not covered

Physiotherapy performed abroad as part of a treatment programme from the specialist healthcare service in Norway is not covered under this scheme. A patient who has been granted travel for treatment abroad paid for by the specialist healthcare service may receive treatments more frequently than what would be covered by the primary healthcare service. Helfo does not reimburse expenses for the same extent of treatment as persons who have been granted travel for treatment abroad. 

Example

Janne needs exercise therapy and massage. She will not be reimbursed for more than what Norway’s public health service would have covered at the time of treatment, nor more than what she has actually paid.

4

Don’t forget the documentation!

Remember to have the correct documentation before you submit an application to Helfo.

​ When you apply to Helfo for reimbursement, you need

  • medical report or similar documentation from your physiotherapist, stating the diagnosis, reasons for the chosen treatment and the outcomes of the treatment – the medical report must apply to the treatment you are seeking reimbursement for
  • an original itemised invoice from the healthcare provider, stating for each treatment the name of the physiotherapist, type of treatment, treatment date, time spent per treatment and price – for group treatment, the number of participants must also be stated
  • original receipts for all expenses or other documentation showing that and when the expenses have been paid
  • documentation of the physiotherapist's authorisation and, if applicable, of the physiotherapist's additional training (e.g. manual therapy)

In order for Helfo to be able to decide on the claim, the documents must be understandable to us. Basically, this means that they must be in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish or English. You should therefore try to get the documents issued in one of these languages. If the documents are in another language, Helfo may ask you to have them translated. You must pay for the translation yourself. If you submit a translation, you must also submit the original.

Example

Janne asks that the physiotherapist specifies the invoice and that each treatment is specified with the name of the therapist, type of treatment, treatment date, time spent and price. She also asks for a medical report that she can attach to the application.

5

Limited reimbursement of travel expenses

You will not be reimbursed for more than you would have received if the treatment had been performed in Norway.

You can be reimbursed for the proportion of your travel expenses corresponding to what you would have received in Norway.

In Norway, the main rule is that your travel expenses are reimbursed at a standard rate per kilometer regardless of which means of transport you use. You must travel to the geographically closest location at which the healthcare can be provided. In order to be reimbursable, your journey from home must be longer than ten kilometers each way and cost more than the local minimum fare by scheduled public transport.

Claims for travel expenses reimbursements must be sent to Helfo on this claim form:

(The form is in Norwegian, but click here for an English guide with instructions for filling out the form “Reiseregningsskjema".)

Send the claim form with the other documentation – see the next step. If your application for coverage of expenses from Helfo is granted, Helfo will forward your travel expenses claim to the Norwegian regional health authorities' patient-travel service (Pasientreiser).

Example

Janne lives in Å in Lofoten. The nearest place of treatment in Norway would be Leknes. Even though Janne is going abroad, she will only be entitled to expenses for the return journey Å-Leknes-Å at a standard rate per kilometre. She takes care to keep all her travel documents.

6

Submit your application

Once your treatments have been completed, you can apply to Helfo for reimbursement. Applications must be submitted within six months.

Log in to Helfo's digital form and apply for a refund of expenses (only in Norwegian)

You must send the application form and documentation to Helfo within 6 months of each treatment date. If you have not settled on the spot but received an invoice afterwards, we calculate the deadline from the invoice date instead of the treatment date. In this context, invoice means the first payment request issued by your treatment provider.

For details about the applicable documentation requirements, see "Don't forget the documentation!".

Paper form

If you are unable to use our digital form, you can complete the following form instead and send it to Helfo, Postboks 2415, 3104 Tønsberg:

The processing time at Helfo is up to twelve weeks. 

Example

Janne submits a digital form together with all relevant documentation before six months have passed. 

Guidance Helsenorge

If you have any questions, please call Guidance Helsenorge: +47 23 32 70 00

7

Exemption card

Several types of healthcare provide entitlement to an exemption card for public health services once you have paid user fees up to a certain amount (the user-fee limit).

This also applies if the healthcare is received in another EU/EEA country.

The user fee payable will be calculated during the processing of your claim for reimbursement for treatment abroad. This user fee will be entered in the user-fee registry and will form the basis for a healthcare exemption card. If you already hold an exemption card, the user fee will be paid to you together with the reimbursement.

Once you have been issued with an exemption card by Helfo, you will no longer have to pay user fees for healthcare covered by the exemption card scheme. The exemption card is valid in Norway. In other EU/EEA countries you must pay for treatment out of pocket.

Read more about maximum user fees and which types of healthcare are covered by the exemption card system here.

Content provided by Helfo

Helfo. Physiotherapy in the EU/EEA. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Tuesday, December 19, 2023 [retrieved Thursday, May 23, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/treatment-abroad/physiotherapy-in-the-eueea/

Last updated Tuesday, December 19, 2023