17 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States

Ella Castle

In this article, we will be looking at the 17 countries with better healthcare than the United States. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to 5 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States. Challenges Plaguing the US Healthcare System One of the biggest challenges […]

In this article, we will be looking at the 17 countries with better healthcare than the United States. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to 5 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States.

Challenges Plaguing the US Healthcare System

One of the biggest challenges faced by the global healthcare system is inflation. The trend of rising healthcare costs is especially significant in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, from 2000 to June 2023, the prices of all goods and services increased by 80.8% in the US. During the same period, the costs of healthcare services increased by 114.3%.

The pandemic has also been a main factor in the hike in healthcare spending. Despite moving towards the endemic stage, COVID accounts for a significant amount of overall expenditure. On January 9, McKinsey published an article estimating that $200 billion annually will be added to the United States healthcare spending for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.

Another main issue is the high prices of healthcare services. In 2020, the US spent almost 20% of their GDP on healthcare. Despite spending more than almost all other countries, the US healthcare system is still devoid of outcomes. According to an article by the Peterson Centre on Healthcare, life expectancy in the US has dropped by 2.4 years from 2019 to 2021, whereas in other OECD countries, it was 0.3 years during the same period. The high costs limit the delivery of desired results despite the input of huge sums of money.

In February 2022, CNBC published an interview in which Cynthia Cox, Vice President of Kaiser Family Foundation, highlighted this issue in the US healthcare system. Here is what she said:

“People in the US use a similar amount of healthcare to people in other wealthy and large countries, but we pay more for each interaction. The money in hospitals and doctors is what makes up the big difference between what we spend on healthcare in the US and what other countries spend. When we talk about ways to reduce spending, you can either look at ways to reduce the amount of care that people are getting or to reduce the price that people are paying for their care. In the US, it seems that there needs to be more of a focus on the prices of care because that’s where the real difference is between what we spend in the US and what other people spend in other countries.”

According to BLS, in 2022, physicians and hospitals made up 47% of the total healthcare cost in the United States. The higher costs result in people delaying seeking medical care or getting preventative checkups. As a result, this delay further adds costs as the price of prevention is lower than the expense of curing the disease. The resulting cure-centric healthcare system is one of the biggest challenges in the US. You can also check out: 20 Countries with the Most Expensive Healthcare in the World.

Key Players in US Healthcare Plans

When faced with a struggling healthcare system and ensuring you get the right services without hurdles, connecting with a healthcare plan provider can be a lifesaver. UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) is one the most noteworthy companies that provide healthcare services and products in the United States and other countries.

On October 24, UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) announced its Individual and Family ACA Marketplace Plans for 2024. The enrollment period for these plans is from November 1 to January 15 and will be available in 26 states. The plans by UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) will help consumers get access to quality care at affordable prices. Many individuals may qualify for plans as low as $0 per month based on income, with 90% of 2023 plan members of UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE:UNH) receiving subsidies.

Elevance Health Inc (NYSE:ELV) is another major company providing healthcare plans to Medicare-eligible consumers in 22 states. The company offers simplified and flexible Medicare Advantage plans. On November 1, Elevance Health Inc (NYSE:ELV) announced investing $1.42 million to support the National Inclusive Curriculum for Health Education. The investment will help medical schools develop a curriculum to deal with people with Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD). Elevance Health Inc (NYSE:ELV) aims to reach 25% of medical schools through the implementation of this curriculum.

Another prominent company providing healthcare plans in the US is the Cigna Group (NYSE:CI). The company facilitates businesses to provide plans and employee benefits according to their specific needs. On November 2, Cigna Group (NYSE:CI) reported earnings for the fiscal third quarter of 2023. The company reported an EPS of $6.77, beating estimates by $0.09. The company’s revenue for the quarter grew by 8.32% and amounted to $49.05 billion, ahead of market consensus by $848.48 million. As of November 28, Cigna Group (NYSE:CI) has surged nearly 17.98% over the past six months. Here are some comments from the company’s earnings call:  

“In the third quarter, we delivered $49 billion in total revenue, adjusted earnings per share of $6.77, continued strong cash flow generation across our franchise, all while continuing to reinvest back in our business to fund growth, expansion and ongoing innovation. These results are strong, and they show how we’re continuing our track record of strong, sustained performance. With our Evernorth Health Services and Cigna Healthcare Benefits platform, we are executing well in a dynamic period and fueling customer growth with our deep clinical expertise, innovative solutions and breadth of market-leading capabilities. Our results during the quarter demonstrate how we’re continuing to deliver on our commitments for our customers and patients, our clients, as well as our shareholders. We are raising our full-year 2023 outlook for EPS, customer and revenue growth, as well as cash flow from operations. With our continued affordability initiatives, we are also guiding to an improved medical care ratio for 2023. Our businesses are performing well, and we now expect to deliver adjusted earnings per share of at least $24.75 for full year 2023.”

Many countries in the world have achieved the provision of universal healthcare coverage. They ensure their citizens’ access to quality healthcare facilities as well. While the US healthcare system faces many challenges, many countries have better healthcare systems than the US. Let’s take a look at them. You can also check out 20 Most Valuable Healthcare Companies in the World.

17 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States

17 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States

17 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States

Our Methodology 

To make our list of countries with better healthcare than the United States, we have used different indicators that directly relate to the healthcare system. We sifted through data on the OECD website, filtering countries with more doctors and hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants. The number of doctors and beds relates directly to how accessible healthcare is in a country. We have used out-of-pocket spending as the secondary metric. Heavy reliance on out-of-pocket payments can undermine the principle of universal health coverage as well.

The list has been arranged in ascending order of our primary metric, the number of doctors per 1000 inhabitants.

17 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States

17. Belgium

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants In 2021: 3.25

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants In 2021: 5.49

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $1,075.3

Belgium is one of the countries with better healthcare than the United States. The healthcare system in Belgium is publically funded mainly through taxation and social security contributions. Belgium had 3.25 doctors and 5.29 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants in 2021. The country also had an average out-of-pocket spending per capita of $1,075.3.

16. Hungary

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.3

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 6.79

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $677.3

Hungary has a tax-funded healthcare system that ensures that the entire population has access to quality healthcare services. The National Health Insurance Fund is central to the healthcare system and is owned by the state. In 2021, Hungary boasted a ratio of 3.3 doctors and 6.79 hospital beds per 1000 residents. Additionally, the country’s average out-of-pocket spending per capita was $677.3.

15. Slovenia

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.34

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 4.25

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $501

Slovenia has a universal healthcare system that covers almost the entire population. The government covers healthcare in Slovenia through a National Health Insurance Fund. The National Health Insurance Fund mainly includes taxes paid by the people. The healthcare landscape in Slovenia in 2021 was characterized by 3.34 doctors and 4.25 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants. Notably, the average out-of-pocket spending per person stood at $501.

14. Israel

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.35

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 2.91

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $645

Israel is one of the countries with better healthcare than the United States. The country provides universal healthcare coverage to almost the entire population. With a doctor-to-population ratio of 3.35 and 2.91 hospital beds per 1000 residents in 2021, Israel also recorded an average out-of-pocket expenditure of $645 per capita.

13. France

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.36

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 5.65

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $544.9

France has a universal healthcare system. The country has a public-private mix of hospital and ambulatory care. In 2021, France’s healthcare infrastructure included 3.36 doctors and 5.65 hospital beds per 1000 people, with an average out-of-pocket spending per capita of $544.9.

12. Latvia

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.36

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 5.16

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $842.3

Latvia has a better healthcare system than the US. The country has a universal healthcare service model. The healthcare in the country is primarily funded through government taxation. Latvia’s health statistics for 2021 highlighted 3.36 doctors and 5.16 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants, alongside an average per capita out-of-pocket spending of $842.3.

11. Estonia

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.43 

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 4.39

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $678.5

Estonia’s healthcare system is one of the best in the world. The distinguishing characteristic of the healthcare system in Estonia is the social health insurance (SHI). The social health insurance (SHI) covers almost 95% of the population. In 2021, Estonia boasted a ratio of 3.43 doctors and 4.39 hospital beds per 1000 residents. Additionally, the country’s average out-of-pocket spending per capita was $678.5.

10. Poland

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.44

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 6.27

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $500.6

Poland is one of the countries with better healthcare than the United States. The healthcare system in Poland is based on a social health insurance (SHI) model, providing universal coverage for almost the entire resident population. The healthcare landscape in Poland in 2021 was characterized by 3.44 doctors and 6.27 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants. Notably, the average out-of-pocket spending per person stood at $500.6.

9. Slovak Republic

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 3.68

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 5.67

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $489.3

The Slovak Republic has a universal healthcare system that covers almost the entire population. With a doctor-to-population ratio of 3.68 and 5.67 hospital beds per 1000 residents in 2021, the Slovak Republic also recorded an average out-of-pocket expenditure of $489.3 per capita.

8. Ireland

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 4.02

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 2.89

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $626.4

Ireland has a mixed healthcare service provision system made up of public and private elements. In 2021, Ireland’s healthcare infrastructure included 4.02 doctors and 2.89 hospital beds per 1000 people, accompanied by an average out-of-pocket spending per capita of $626.4.

7. Italy

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 4.1

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 3.12

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $885.1

Italy has a universal healthcare system. The National Health Service (NHS) ensures all citizens access to quality healthcare services. Italy’s health statistics for 2021 highlighted 4.1 doctors and 3.12 hospital beds per 1000 inhabitants, alongside an average per capita out-of-pocket spending of $885.1.

6. Czechia

Number of Doctors per 1000 Inhabitants: 4.26

Number of Hospital Beds per 1000 inhabitants: 6.66

Average Out-of-pocket Spending per Capita in 2021: $547.6

Czechia also has universal health coverage. It is one of the countries with better healthcare than the US. In 2021, Czechia boasted a ratio of 4.26 doctors and 6.66 hospital beds per 1000 residents. Additionally, the country’s average out-of-pocket spending per capita was $547.6.

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Disclosure: None. 17 Countries With Better Healthcare Than The United States is originally published on Insider Monkey.

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