Sweden healthcare overview

Sweden provides a universal health coverage system.

Healthcare spend is 85% funded by taxes from national and regional governments, with the remainder coming from capped out-of-pocket payments (14%[1]), and private health insurance (1%).[2]

Healthcare is governed nationally by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and locally administered and funded by 21 Regional councils for health services and 290 municipalities for elderly care and social services.

The Regions focus their healthcare funding on outpatient primary and specialist care through wellness and prevention programs, health screening, short-term treatment and long-term management of patients. Inpatient care accounts for 22% of the healthcare spend[3].

The national government has a vision for Sweden to be the best in the world at utilising eHealth opportunities to provide equal health and welfare by 2025.

Each region decides its healthcare service needs.

87% of healthcare services are provided by public providers, while 13% is outsourced to private for-profit and not-for-profit vendors through either a “Care Choices” package or a specific tendered contract [4].

Both public and private providers can deliver Care Choices, which are mainly for hip/knee replacement surgery in the Stockholm Region and primary care nationally. The rest of the specialist Care Choices are limited to private providers, who can also compete for tendered contracts.

Under a Care Choices licence, any healthcare provider can deliver the service if they meet the stipulated requirements. All primary care services are delivered under Care Choices by law. For specialist care, services can be provided within Care Choice or providers will compete to be awarded a tendered contract (based on price and quality parameters) on behalf of the Region. The value of each contract depends on the range and complexity of services included and will vary between the Regions. Private providers cannot set a fee higher than what is determined by the tendered contract or Care Choice package. Contracts are usually awarded for a set time period, after which the contract is open for a new tendering process or transferred back to public governance.

Patients will usually be required to make a small co-payment (called a patient fee), regardless of whether they choose to access the service from a public or private healthcare provider. Patient fees are capped for each service and the maximum each patient will pay over a 12-month period is SEK 1,100 (USD 120). Aprooximately 7% of the population has private health insurance, which is usually paid by employers or unions.

Capio, part of Ramsay Santé, directly employs its clinical workforce in Sweden.

Whether working in the private or public sector, primary care physicians including GPs, nurses and allied health practitioners, specialist surgeons, medical and emergency physicians and psychiatrists are salaried employees of either the Region or private healthcare company.

Salaries vary across the Regions and private companies depending on demand (for example salaries may be higher in remote regional areas to attract and retain staff).

Fixed clinical staff costs enable healthcare providers to better manage the delivery of services with bundle payments from the Regions under a capitation model.

[1] Most of the patient co-payments are for dental care, with some related to health care. 

[2] The Commonwealth Fund June 2020 

[3] OECD State of Health in the EU – Sweden Country Health profile 2021

[4] Sveriges Kommuner och Regioner – Financial & Business Statistics 2022 


The information in the ‘Our markets’ section of the Ramsay Group’s website is based on information obtained from external sources and is current as at 16 February 2023. Ramsay has not independently verified the information presented in this section. The information is in summary form and is not necessarily complete.

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