As the Covid pandemic has shown, having access to quality healthcare is important. Some countries’ healthcare systems have crumbled under the strain, while others have been able to stay afloat in spite of infection rates.
While we obviously hope all our readers remain in good health, just in case, here are eight cities where you’ll find the best healthcare in the world. Even better, a few of them are located in countries with free healthcare!
Switzerland is a small and wealthy country, which tends to be ideal conditions for the establishment of a strong healthcare system. And as usual, the country delivers with characteristic efficiency.
Universal coverage ensures that all residents receive the medical treatment they need. This coverage is funded primarily through private insurance taken out by individuals on a compulsory basis, rather than through taxes or employer contributions. In addition to paying insurance premiums, patients also pay a deductible and co-insurance, which makes the system relatively expensive.
Depending on the insurance plan, individuals are entitled to public, subsidised private or private healthcare. This element of choice may be the key to avoiding overcrowding, as in normal times the Swiss healthcare system is known to be fast, efficient and accessible.
The Netherlands is one of those storied European countries with almost-free healthcare. Anyone living or working there is required to purchase compulsory health insurance, which will cover the cost of GP consultations, hospitalisation and medication. In 2021, the average monthly cost of compulsory health insurance is about 120 euros.
The 2018 Euro Health Consumer Index rated the Dutch healthcare system second in the world, and that’s just one of the many rankings in which the Netherlands has emerged within the top few. Amsterdam residents are certainly lucky to have access to such a good system at a relatively affordable cost.
Scandinavian countries have a reputation for good and affordable healthcare, and Denmark is no exception. Universal healthcare is available to all Danish people through the public healthcare system, including mental healthcare and long-term care. General and specialist treatment is free, and certain services are available at subsidised fees.
You would think that free healthcare would cause overloading, but Denmark has managed this enviably. Danes are largely satisfied with their healthcare system. Ninety-one percent rate their GP care highly, and in a 2009 survey, 90 percent of hospitalised patients rated their overall experience good or very good.
With the 3.3 physicians per person, the highest ratio in the EU, Sweden rarely worries about facing a shortage of doctors. As if that wasn’t good enough, all Swedish citizens enjoy universal healthcare, with the Swedish healthcare system mainly being funded by the government.
Patients typically pay a nominal fee for treatment, intentionally kept low, with additional costs being offered free of charge. For instance, hospital fees cost a maximum of 100 krona a day, while the total cost for medical costs will not exceed 1,150 krona in 12 months.
Thanks to New Zealand’s enviable Covid response, lots of people are now wishing they could move there. No wonder it was ranked Number 6 in a recent poll of expats’ favourite places by InterNations Expat Insider.
The good news is that, for those who make it there, the New Zealand healthcare system ranks highly on a global scale, with The Commonwealth Fund ranking it second out of 11 OECD countries. The universal healthcare system in New Zealand comprises free and subsidised services. For instance, treatment for any injuries due to an accident is free regardless of who caused the accident.
Germany offers universal healthcare through a multi-payer system requiring workers to pay 7.5 percent of their salaries into a public health insurance pool, matched by another 7.5 percent from employers. Everyone is provided with statutory health insurance, and those who with sufficient income can obtain private health insurance in order to boost their coverage.
Compared to other countries, Germans are highly satisfied with their healthcare system, with 85 percent expressing satisfaction in a 2014 survey.
Australians enjoy healthcare through the government’s Medicare scheme, which covers the entire cost of public hospital services. Physician services, pharmaceuticals and some other services are partially covered at little cost to the patient. Some residents choose to bolster their Medicare coverage with private health insurance in order to have the option to access private sector healthcare.
The Australian healthcare system performs well both in international rankings and in terms of patient satisfaction. In fact, a recent global survey pegged them as the most satisfied citizens in the world in terms of healthcare.
All Finnish residents are guaranteed access to the healthcare system. Although public funding of the Finnish healthcare system is actually below the EU average and public healthcare is not free, patient fees are kept affordable, with hospital fees for short-term inpatient care set at 48.90 euros a day.
This system seems to be working for the Finns, as a 2018 survey indicated that 83 percent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with public health services.
By Joanne Poh