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Which countries have the best healthcare in the world?

When it comes to determining the country with the best healthcare in the world, one has to take into consideration multiple aspects. Healthcare can be graded by considering multiple factors, however, some factors are more vital than others. Affordability and coverage are two of the main factors to consider when deciding which countries have the best healthcare.

Affordability, however, isn’t a big issue in several significant countries and city-states as healthcare is provided by the government for free. But, regardless of it being free, major countries also have private insurers that sell more comprehensive healthcare coverage. Coverage, in this case, refers to the doctors, hospitals, and treatments the healthcare plan covers. This varies from country to country and is even different between major countries themselves.

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Presenting countries with the best healthcare systems in the world

This Pacific Prime article will look at four major countries and two city-states that are considered to be leaders in the healthcare world. Those locations include Switzerland, Germany, Britain, France, Hong Kong and Singapore. These nations and city-states are well-known for their healthcare standards even though their systems are relatively different from one another.

Switzerland finds the balance

Switzerland arguably has the best healthcare amongst the above-mentioned countries. What makes their healthcare so great is their ability to find the correct balance between public and private insurance plans. On top of that, like the rest of the countries and city-states, listed, Switzerland also enforces the universal healthcare system. This is a system that requires every citizen to have some form of a healthcare plan. Insurers are non-profit organizations that also offer for-profit options. The non-profit options cover the majority, while the for-profit option includes special treatments and a more extensive choice of where the policyholder can go for care

Switzerland also has over 100 insurers with their own variation in packages, thus allowing citizens to be spoiled for choice. The aspect that makes Switzerland stand out, even more, is that regardless of having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, they have spent only a fraction on health expenditure per capita compared to the other major nations.

oecd health spending per capita 2019
OECD 2019

Germany’s income-based system

Germany’s primary source of health insurance comes from the national public system, which is funded by employers and employees. On top of that, the government also offers subsidies based on income and its capped at about $65,000. Other than it being capped for people with low income, the subsidies are reduced for people with chronic illness, while not being available for children. However, there are a minority of citizens that choose to go with a private insurance plan. Those that do aren’t qualified for subsidies, thoughpremiums are regulated.

The main cog in Germany’s system is income- those who can pay more may choose to do so and those that can’t afford to pay benefits from subsidies. This system also allows a variety of choices in terms of doctors and hospitals.

Britain’s social approach

The National Health Service (NHS) provides Britain’s health insurance. The system is government-funded through tax-payer money, and most services are entirely free. The government provides for around 80% of people, while the rest are on a private insurance plan. The private plans are usually offered as employee benefits perks from employers and give the advantage of seeing a specialist and not having to be on a waiting list.

According to a Time article on the National Health Service, Britain takes a truly socialized approach to healthcare. This is due to its system of having a single payer and a funder, in this case, the government being the single-payer while funds coming from the taxpayer. This is considered the closest one can get to fairness, in terms of healthcare.

France mixes it up

Healthcare in France is monitored by the Ministry of Health and paid for by taxpayers. There is public insurance that gets you the majority of the coverage you need. Additional to that, there’s voluntary health insurance which covers the remainder, usually provided by employers to employees. The majority of the population, however, has voluntary health insurance.

The Ministry of Health plays a major role in France’s healthcare setup as it’s their responsibility to set up budgets, control the number of hospital beds, decide the types of equipment to purchase and regulate the number of students trained. On top of that, it is also their job to set prices for hospital procedures and medicine.

If given a closer look, the French system seems like a mix of the Swiss and British healthcare systems. This is due to Switzerland’s regulations governing that everyone must buy health insurance and its setup of having small nonprofit funds providing healthcare. On the other hand, it is also similar to Britain’s healthcare system due to the similarities between the Ministry of Health and the NHS.

Hong Kong’s efficiency

Hong Kong is the metropolitan home to a heavily subsidized public healthcare system. A huge network of public medical facilities – 43 hospitals, 49 specialist outpatient clinics, 73 general outpatient clinics – spreads across this city.

There is no public health insurance in Hong Kong. However, high-quality medical care is made affordable by the government. Along with the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority (HA) is the statutory body that manages all public healthcare facilities.

With a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKIC), citizens only need to make a small co-payment to enjoy these services. For example, outpatient services start at a startling HKD $50, and emergency fees are only HKD $180 per attendance. The public healthcare system is also open to all with a valid visa and an HKIC.

Hong Kong is home to a bustling private healthcare sector as well. Prices can be steep at these institutions, but the waiting time is drastically lower and the service is generally better.

Interested to learn more? See Pacific Prime’s in-depth guide to the healthcare system in Hong Kong.

Singapore as Asia’s best

Singapore is no stranger to placing in the top 10 of various healthcare system rankings. All healthcare facilities here are of an incredibly high calibre. Citizens pay for medical services with a mixture of government subsidies, compulsory savings, national insurance, and cost-sharing. Dive deeper into the Singaporean healthcare system.

Singapore’s public healthcare is funded by taxes and mandatory contributions to the life insurance schemes and deductions from the compulsory savings plan or the Central Provident Fund (CPF) by employees and employers alike. The two main health insurance schemes are Medisave and Medishield. Individuals inject 7-9.5% of their wages into Medisave for routine medical care, while Medishield is a low-cost basic insurance scheme used to pay for big expenses, such as costly outpatient procedures. To put it simply, a Singaporean will pay for their medical costs out of their Medisave account until they reach their deductible, at which point, they will start using their Medishield account. However, exempted from the CPF, expats will need to get health coverage through their employer or purchase private healthcare insurance on their own.

While the public healthcare facilities are government-owned, they operate as private companies. This is to compete with the extensive private sector on service and quality.

Criteria to be the best healthcare system in the world

So, what does it take to be the best provider of healthcare? According to the industry-leading nations mentioned in this article, to be among the best you must make sure all citizens are taken care of. On top of that, the government or private organizations must monitor the state of healthcare regularly and provide regulations to help maintain the system. Lastly, accessibility is key -the more hospitals and services a healthcare system provides the better it is. Healthcare is essential to a nation, as it provides its citizens with security and comfort.

To secure coverage today, contact Pacific Prime and get in touch with our health insurance experts to get a quote and some expert advice.

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Karoon

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Karoon is a content creator who strives to represent Pacific Prime's goal of simplifying insurance.

An enthusiastic writer and a core part of our team of health insurance experts, Karoon tackles every topic with the aim to make it as informative and simple as possible.
Karoon