Norway taps oil wealth to cushion Covid impact

Norway will spend billions of dollars more than planned from its oil revenues to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, the government announced on Tuesday, as tough elections loom in September.

Norway taps oil wealth to cushion Covid impact
Norway will be dipping into its oil fund to boost the country's economic recovery. Photo by Jan-Rune Smenes Reite Pexels

In an amended draft finance bill, the right-wing government said it plans to spend a record 402.6 billion Norwegian kroner ($49 billion, 40 billion euros) of its oil revenues, which normally goes into its sovereign wealth fund the largest in the world.

That’s almost 90 billion kroner more than was planned in the original draft budget presented in October.

READ MORE: Norway’s wealth fund gains 38 billion euros in first quarter

“Extraordinary economic support measures related to the pandemic account for a large bulk of the increase,” Norway’s ministry of finance said in a statement.   

Having put away most of the country’s oil revenues for several decades, Norway has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, now worth more than 1.1 trillion euros.  

Normally, the government can draw up to three percent of the fund’s value to finance its spending, but the extra boost to the economy announced on Tuesday means that this figure will rise to 3.7 percent this year.

 “The pandemic still weighs on the Norwegian economy,” the ministry said. Since the government only controls a minority in parliament the budget bill still needs to be negotiated with opposition parties.

The right-wing coalition led by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, which has been in power since 2013, faces a parliamentary election in September that polls suggest will be a tight race.

After a contraction of 2.5 percent in 2020 related to the health crisis, the Norwegian economy is expected to grow by 3.7 percent in 2021, according to government projections.

“Lower infection rates and a rising share of the population being vaccinated give reason for optimism, although uncertainty remains high,” the ministry said.

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How much does going to the dentist cost in Norway? 

A trip to the dentist can be painful in more ways than one, especially for your bank account, so how much will it set you back in Norway and how do you get an appointment?

How much does going to the dentist cost in Norway? 
Many dread a trip to the dentist. Photo by Yusuf Belek on Unsplash

Is dental work free in Norway?

Norway’s robust and comprehensive public healthcare system is accessible through the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme. Because it is so comprehensive, many make the assumption that all health issues, including dental problems, are covered by the scheme.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case as, generally, dental care is not covered by the public healthcare system. Instead, you will have to go to a private practitioner should you have an issue with your teeth or if it’s time for a checkup. 

If you’d like to learn more about what is covered by the National Health Insurance, you can look at our guide on how the scheme works and common problems foreigners run into here.

How much does it cost?

The bad news is that, much like most other things in Norway, a trip to the dentists will set you back a fair amount, and unlike the Norwegian National Health Insurance Scheme, there is no exemption card, or frikort, after you have paid a certain amount. 

READ MORE: Seven things foreigners in Norway should know about the health system

On the bright side, dental treatment is free for children under 18, and if you are aged between 19 and 20, you will only need to stump up 25 percent of the total bill. 

In most cases, everyone over the age of 21 will be expected to pay the whole bill, apart from a few exceptions, which you can read about here

The cost of dentistry can be reimbursed or subsidised if you meet any of the 15 conditions that will entitle you to claim support from The Norwegian Health Economics Administration or Helfo.

Helfo is responsible for making payments from the National Insurance Scheme to healthcare providers and reimbursing individuals for vital healthcare services not covered by the insurance scheme. 

The list of conditions includes essential work, such as having an oral tumour removed, for example. You can take a look at the 15 conditions for which you claim help from Helfo here.

You can also apply to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) for financial assistance relating to dental work.

How much you are eligible to receive from NAV will depend entirely on your situation. 

Below you can take a look at the rough cost of some common dental work in Norway. 

  • Examination/appointment- 600 kroner 
  • Examination/appointment with tartar removal and x rays- 1,000 kroner 
  • Small filling- 900 kroner 
  • Medium sized filling 1,400- kroner 
  • Large filling- 1,500 kroner 
  • Tooth surgically removed- 2,000 kroner 
  • Root canal filling 3,800 kroner
  • Crown- 7,000 kroner

How to book an appointment

Booking an appointment in Norway is as simple as contacting your nearest dentist. Before you book, you can typically check the price list of the dentist you will be visiting to get a rough idea of how much the visit could cost you too. 

The majority of dentists in Norway will speak good English. You can also visit an entirely English speaking dentist surgery, where all the staff will speak English, in the big cities such as Oslo if you haven’t quite gotten to grips with Norwegian yet. 

You can search for a dentist using this tool which will show you your nearest dentist in the town, city or county you live in.