The health system in Denmark

Updated 2021-01-11 06:45

One benefit of living in Denmark is having access to the high standard of healthcare. Understanding the healthcare system in Denmark is a priority for expats – here is everything you need to know about the Danish healthcare system. 

Do you have a specific question? Try asking on’s Denmark health forum

The Danish healthcare system

Denmark’s healthcare system has two sectors: primary care and secondary care. Citizens mostly make use of primary care services in which everyone is assigned a general practitioner (GP) and aid is free. Your GP is always the first point of contact. 

Secondary care services cover specialised treatment and hospital care. Medical specialist services are also free with a referral from your GP.

Since health services in Denmark are of high quality and free of charge for all legal residents, the private health insurance sector is quite small. Expats may choose to purchase additional health insurance on their own costs. 

There are many insurance companies to choose from in Denmark, according to your needs and budget. Some of the leading health insurance providers are:

Consider having a look at their offers according to your needs and get a free quote on's Health Insurance for expatriates in Denmark page.

Denmark’s yellow card for healthcare

Also known as the yellow card due to its yellow colour, this health insurance card gives you legal access to all public health services in Denmark. 

To make use of the healthcare system in Denmark, you need to be a legal resident with a CPR number. A CPR (Central Person Register) number is issued to EU/EEA nationals who intend to stay in Denmark for more than six months, and non-EU/EEA citizens who are staying for more than three months. 

Along with the CPR number, a ‘sundhedskort’ or health insurance card is automatically issued and delivered to your post box within four weeks – remember to put your name on the mailbox of your registered address. Otherwise, the card will not be placed in the post box. 

The yellow health card must always be on your person and can be used for identification purposes at some stores, the post office, and libraries. It must always be presented at the doctor’s office when you go for an appointment.  

Finding a doctor in Denmark

When you apply for a yellow card, you will automatically be assigned to a doctor. The name and address of the doctor will be stated on the yellow card. 

Perhaps you would like to change to a different doctor with other opening hours – don’t worry, you can change your doctor online by logging in with your NemID. If you don’t have a NemID, you will have to make an appointment at the Citizen Service Centre

 Good to know: 

There is a DKK 200 fee for changing doctors, and the process takes 2-4 weeks. You will be issued with a new yellow card. 

Making an appointment in Denmark

Appointments can be made online or by calling the office of your doctor. Most medical clinics are open from 08:00-15:00 on weekdays. These appointments are for non-critical cases, and waiting periods may range from a few days to a few weeks. 

For medical cases that require attention outside of regular clinic hours (weekends, holidays, and nights), there is a ‘lægevagt’ service that provides on-call doctors. Remember to have your CPR number and other relevant information on hand. 

Emergencies in Denmark

In case of an emergency, call Denmark’s emergency call centre by dialling 112. All operators speak English and will advise you on whether to go to the hospital or wait for an ambulance. 

Pharmacies and medication in Denmark

Most pharmacies have daytime opening hours of 09:00-17:30 on weekdays, with shorter hours on Saturdays. There are several dedicated pharmacies open outside of these times, and Copenhagen even has a pharmacy that is open 24/7/365. Find out more about pharmacy opening times on the Lægevagten website

If you have been prescribed medicine by your doctor, you can simply go to any pharmacy and show your yellow card. Prescription information from the doctor will show up in the system when your yellow card is scanned. 


Unfortunately, some medical treatments such as dentistry for those over 18 are not included in the healthcare system. Read more about free treatments and reimbursement for excluded treatments on the Sundhed website

 Useful links:

Healthcare guide – Welcome to Denmark
Patient Compensation Association (Patienterstatningen)
Danish Medicines Agency (Lægemiddelstyrelsen)

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.