Health insurance is Norway is universal, meaning that all residents are covered, but it isn't actually free – it's paid for by taxes. As a result, the system is affordable, and it works.
The National Insurance Scheme (Folketrygden) is the cornerstone of the Norwegian pension and health offerings. Most people who live and work in Norway are members in the insurance scheme. In general, no one is turned away for treatment, and Norway as a whole is one of the healthiest nations in the world.
University employees, including PhD candidates, pay a part of their taxes to cover the cost of health insurance (just like every other employee in Norway). Additionally, every visit to the doctor or the hospital requires the payment of a small fee, typically around NOK 200, up to a maximum amount (or cap) of just under NOK 2000 per year. The cost of necessary medicines is also included in the capped amount.
Once you receive a national identity number, and are registered in the National Population Register (Folkeregister) as a resident of a specific municipality, you are assigned a regular doctor by the local NAV office. Until this assignment is made, all international employees at NTNU have access to the Gløshaugen Clinic, which primarily serves students and is located on the Gløshaugen campus.
If your health expenses exceed the annual capped amount, you will be automatically be sent a "Frikort" or free card, which means that all necessary additional health-related expenses will be completely covered by the health system. There's more information available about the system as a whole from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration.
Norway's health system does not cover dental visits for adults, but children up to and including age 19 are cared for for free by the Sør-Trondelag County public dental clinics .There are 11 clinics in the greater Trondheim area, with another two dozen throughout the county. Adults can also be treated at these public clinics, or at a private practititioner's office (in Norwegian). There is also a dentist on call on weekends and holidays who can be reached by calling 73 50 55 00, but be aware that if you are an adult, this service costs 75% more than a normal dentist's visit.
The greater Trondheim area is served by a number of chemists, or pharmacies (called apotek in Norwegian), most of which are typically open from 0900-1800 on weekdays and from 0900 to 1500 on Saturdays.
There are a number of pharmacies in Trondheim, and St. Olavs hospital maintains a branch pharmacy that is open until midnight every day of the week at Solsiden, at Beddingen 4 (map), in downtown Trondheim.
Doctors can write two types of prescriptions; one, on blue paper, is a medication that you must have to treat a health problem. These types of prescriptions are covered by the health insurance scheme, and so you as the patient pay only a nominal cost for the drug. Prescriptions written on white paper, for medicine that is not medically necessary, can also be filled at the pharmacy, but the patient bears the full cost of the drug.