For emergencies in Iceland you fork out time and money
Taking care is easier said than done. Especially when doing all those unique Iceland activities like climbing a glacier, hiking the highland or shopping in Reykjavik. Should you at any point need to visit the emergency room at the nearest hospital you better have some serious loose change in your pocket.
According to recently released figures around fifteen thousand foreign tourists needed emergency medical service in Iceland in 2014. Doesn´t sound too bad at all. In fact, it is pretty much in line with instances in nearby countries percentage wise.
However, there is one major difference. Those are well populated countries with millions of citizens and hospitals all over the place. The population of Iceland is 300 thousand give or take, and the health care system is barely adequate for locals. Add 15 thousand on top and it cannot really cope very well.
Which is why common wait times at emergency wards here is US-style. Meaning if you do need assistance but your injuries are not life-threatening prepare to waste up to half a day at least in the waiting room and even longer at certain times on weekends. Time horribly spent in other words.
But time is not the only commodity you´ll lose. You will most probably have to fork out minimum 460$ / 429€ for any visit to the emergency ward. That´s only if you do show up in person. Should you need ambulance add 140$ / 110€ on top of that. Naturally, you should also expect to need some medicine which over here cost an arm and a leg.
Of course, many are insured from head to toe on their travels and may get refunding later on but keep in mind your insurance may not cover “special” activities such as glacier climbing, off-roading, sea swimming or anything else that´s fun to do over here. Be certain you are covered if you partake in such things.
Take care out there.