With the world currently in its third year of the coronavirus pandemic and monkeypox outbreaks, access to a strong healthcare system in the country is as important as ever. Medical care can vary greatly between countries – something you quickly learn when you become an expat or digital nomad – but which countries boast the best healthcare in the world?
When you become an expat or move to another location abroad to work remotely as a digital nomad, access to healthcare will be one of the biggest factors in choosing a country.
Countries around the world take different approaches to provide public medical care. Some rely on government support, as in the single-payer approach. Other nations depend on private insurers, and the third group of countries, such as the United States, have a combination of both. The quality and efficiency of a country’s health care system can have a huge impact on the quality of life of its citizens.
Healthcare is a broad term used to describe the various systems that we as humans rely on to help us maintain our personal health through the treatment (or prevention) of illness, injury, disease, and other physical or mental impairment. Health care includes doctors and hospitals and dentistry, psychology, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and more.
National healthcare systems take many forms and access to healthcare varies across countries, communities, and individuals and is primarily influenced by economic and social factors.
The top 10 medically advanced countries in the world:
- Austria: Austria has a high level of healthcare. Paying into the state health insurance system is mandatory for Austrians and expats alike, with excellent healthcare facilities and services funded by taxpayers.
- Denmark: Denmark’s universal health care system provides Danes with mostly free medical care and is financed mainly by income tax. All permanent residents are entitled to a national health insurance card and most examinations and treatments are free.
- France: France has both public and private hospitals, and both maintain a similar level of excellence. Although private health insurance is not essential, it is wise to have insurance when living in France.
- Australia: The Australian health system has two main parts: the public health system and the private health system. Since 1984, Medicare has been the Commonwealth Government’s universal health insurance scheme. This provides Australian residents with free treatment in public hospitals.
- The Netherlands: Health care in the Netherlands is covered by two statutory forms of insurance: Zorgverzekeringswet (Zvw), often called “basic insurance”, covers routine medical care; and the Algemene Wet Bijzondere Ziektekosten (AWBZ) covers long-term nursing and care.
- Germany: The healthcare system in Germany is very good but expensive. Health insurance is mandatory, and most expats will have it added to their employment contracts.
- United Kingdom: Healthcare in the UK has proven to be reliable and convenient for citizens and foreign workers. The National Health Service, the State Schemes of Scotland, and Northern Ireland provide many options for emergency medical care.
- Canada: Canada’s publicly funded health care system is a group of socialized health insurance plans that provide coverage to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Canada has a remarkably high life expectancy, which many attributes to the efficiency of its health care system.
- New Zealand: The healthcare system in New Zealand is state-supported and of high quality. It is funded by taxes and provides residents with free or subsidized medical treatment.
- Sweden: The Swedish health care system is characterized by high standards of quality care and average health care expenditures. Only about 600,000 Swedes have a private health plan, which is usually paid for by their employers and can help them skip the queues for treatment.
Identifying a top healthcare system is relatively easy. While health care systems are complex, several factors can be used to determine which systems are most effective. The systems in the game are incredibly complex and there is considerable debate about which factors are most important and what a perfect system looks like. But health care is vital, so health-focused organizations are constantly searching for the elusive best system.
– Amrin Ahmed