There are a lot of ways to quantify health care. And here’s a shocker. Not one of the ways manages to get the US into the top 10. In this, we’ll look at health care as ranked by the Legatum Institute.
They look at a country’s basic mental and physical health, health infrastructure, and the availability of preventative care in deciding how to measure best health care.
These are the top ten countries in the world that rank highly in all three of these measures.
You might be able to guess at a few, like number 5. Number 9 might surprise you because of where it is located. Numbers 10 and 11 might convince you to move!
Luxembourg is tiny but wealthy. The country’s average life expectancy is 82. Luxembourg’s Union of Sickness Funds guarantees that there is free, high-quality and subsidized health care for all citizen s and registered long-residents. Patients pay the medical fees initially but are reimbursed annually between 80% and 100%.
Vulnerable groups are not obligated to pay charges and students, children and unemployed people are cover up to age 27. Vision and dental are also covered, but some treatments must be pre-approved.
The city-state of Singapore has an average life expectancy of 83.1 years old. Their health care system is based on individual responsibility and affordable health care for all. Government subsidies from general tax revenue, multi-layered financing and private savings fund coverage.
Up to 80% of total costs in public hospitals and primary care clinics is covered by three savings and insurance programs. There are also for-profit insurers who supplement one of the three savings programs.
The mountainous country of Switzerland offers universal healthcare based on mandatory insurance. Each of the cantons is responsible for licensing providers, coordinating hospital services, and subsidizing institutions and individual premiums.
The federal government regulations financing through mandatory insurance and ensures pharmaceutical quality.
The Federal Health Insurance Law of 1996 strengthen equality by introducing universal coverage and subsidies for low-income households, expands benefits and ensures high standards of health services and contains the growing cost of the health system.
Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. The federal government regulates the universal Statutory Health Insurance System to ensure good-quality medical care. Publicly financed health insurance provides universal primary coverage, representing about 11% of annual GDP.
All citizens and resident non-citizens are required to enroll. Undocumented immigrants and visitors are not covered. Private health insurance plays a supplementary or complementary role.
The Netherlands leads the annual Euro health consumer index with a score of 916 out of 1,000 points. The national government sets health care priorities, and monitors access, quality and costs. It partly finances social health insurance (universal health care) through taxation and payroll levy reallocation.
The Netherlands spends about 10.8% of annual GDP on publicly financed health insurance. All residents and nonresidents paying Dutch income tax must purchase health insurance from private insurers who are required to accept all applicants.
Sweden’s national, regional and local governments participate in health care. The national government is responsible for overall health care policy.
Regional governments responsible for financing and delivering health services. Local governments are responsible for care of the elderly and the disabled.
Swedish health care is based on human dignity, greatest need, and cost-effectiveness. Coverage is universally automatic for all legal residents. Asylum-seeking or undocumented or permanent resident children have right to health care. Adult undocumented or asylum-seeking adults have right to receive undeferrable care.
7. Hong Kong
The city-state of Hong Kong has a fairly complex health care system. Public health care provides all healthcare services either free of charge or for a small fee.
The government provides healthcare for Hong Kong citizens or permanent residents, but also non-permanent residents at virtually no cost.
However, you have to use high quality, modern public health care providers. The public system doesn’t cover dental visits except in an emergency. If you choose the private option, you must purchase your own insurance.
Australia provides free or subsidized universal health care to Australian citizens and permanent residents. The federal government provides funding and indirect support to the states and health professions, subsidizing care through the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
States have responsibility for public hospitals, ambulance services, public dental care, community health services, and mental health care. They add their own funding to the federal funding. Local governments are concerned with community health and preventive health programs.
Health insurance in Germany is mandatory for all citizens and permanent residents. There are two systems, the universal statutory health insurance (SHI) and the substitutive private health insurance (PHI).
SHI is publicly financed health insurance from compulsory contributions based on income. SHI covers all preventive services, hospital care, physicians, mental health and dental care, optometry, physical therapy, most prescription drugs, rehabilitation, hospice and palliative care, and sick leave compensation.
PHI can be purchased and may offer a more extensive ranges of services.
Heath insurance in Belgium is mandatory. The Belgian federal government regulates and finances compulsory health insurance, determines accreditation, finances hospitals, legislates professional qualifications, and registers pharmaceuticals.
Regional governments are responsible for health promotion, some elderly care, hospital accreditation standards, and hospital investment.
Belgium funds their health system through social security contributions and taxation. Patients with pay for and are reimbursed for part of the cost from the sickness fund or the sickness fund pay the provider while the patient pays a co-pay.
There are a lot of ways to provide health care to citizens and residents. Interestingly, all the countries on this list have one thing in common. Insurance is mandatory and medical care is of high quality. All eleven of these countries have life expectancy rates at least ten years longer than American life expectancies.
Hong Kong probably has the type of medical insurance that most American fear, but there are ways around the constraints by government mandated insurance. And since it offers better health care than the US does, maybe it indicates that the system does work really well.