A lot of people think that the best things one can have in his life cannot be bought by money. In connection to that, you might be asking yourself if this is also applicable to healthcare. It cannot be denied that free healthcare services are too good to be true. What’s real is that a lot of countries around the world offer universal healthcare, healthcare, or both for free. On the other hand, the possibility of ex-pats and travelers who can avail these free services will always depend on different factors.
In this post, we are going to provide you with important information regarding the countries that offer healthcare services for free. So, if you want to know more about it, then keep reading and enjoy!
Do Foreigners are Eligible to Avail Healthcare Services for Free?
It is worth noting that things that are considered to be free do not always mean it is totally free. The healthcare services offered by the government is being funded by the taxes paid by the citizens. These taxes are enough to fund different operations provided by the government, which include healthcare expenditures.
If you are a traveller, it is important not to create offhand remarks thinking that residents in countries that offer free healthcare services are lucky. This is because you don’t have any idea how this will create a sarcastic remark to the residents, considering that their taxes are funding this kind of service.
In addition to that, in most countries that offer free healthcare services, patients are required to pay a small amount every time they are setting an appointment with a doctor. In some cases, other patients are required to pay the amount before they visit the hospital. This means that free healthcare services do not always mean you don’t have to spend at least a little amount of money.
What is Free and Universal Healthcare?
A common misconception about healthcare services is that a lot of individuals think that both universal and free healthcare are the same. Even though these two terms are being used interchangeably, there are still notable differences between the two.
When we say free healthcare, it means that all residents are able to avail of healthcare services at a very minimal cost or no cost at all. On the other hand, when we say universal healthcare, it means that abo 90 percent of a country’s citizens can avail of the healthcare services offered by the government. These two terms are considered to be a subsidized program that is being run by the government through the taxes paid by the citizens.
Universal healthcare is composed of different forms. One of these is when the government is required to pay the healthcare needs of a person, which is also known as free healthcare. This system is often known as single-payer. Take note that this is just one of the different methods. One country might offer universal healthcare when it comes through expensive and legislated mandatory insurance coverage. Aside from that, some countries also offer a basic level of universal healthcare. On the other hand, most residents are still required to buy supplemental global health insurance that will make sure they will receive proper care.
Where to Find Free Healthcare?
STC reported that there are about 43 countries around the world that provide universal healthcare, free healthcare, or both. On the other hand, each country included in the list has different standards. One of these countries is Norway, which is considered the first country who offered free healthcare services since 1912. The list also includes Yemen, the country where raging conflicts are present. In connection to that, it restricts the healthcare services offered by the international relief agencies to get in the said country.
List of Countries that Offer Universal Health Care Systems to its Residents
Keep in mind that not all residents or citizens of each country will receive free healthcare services. In most countries listed below, both individuals and employers are funding the healthcare systems by paying related fees, co-pays, cost-share arrangements, and contributions. On the other hand, the main goal of the said program is to lower down the cost of healthcare services to allow a larger number of residents to avail of it. This is the concept of Universal Healthcare.
- United Kingdom (Healthcare System in the UK)
- United Arab Emirates
- Sweden (Sweden’s Healthcare System)
- Spain (Healthcare System in Spain)
- South Korea
- Portugal (Healthcare System in Portugal)
- New Zealand (Healthcare System in New Zealand)
- Japan (Healthcare System in Japan)
- Italy (Healthcare System in Italy)
- Ireland (Healthcare System in Ireland)
- Hong Kong
- Germany (Germany Healthcare System – GKV)
- France (Healthcare System in France)
- Canada (Healthcare System in Canada)
If you are going to travel to the mentioned countries above, make sure that you will do your research regarding the free healthcare services they offer to foreigners. Make sure not to make your assumptions. A country that provides free healthcare services does not mean that foreigners are also covered by this system. For example, Canada’s healthcare system is quite expensive when availed by uninsured foreigners. This is also true even for Canadian citizens who left Canada for a long time as they are required to reapply for their free provincial health insurance card.
In some cases, public hospitals are ordered not to deny any treatment or refuse emergency care base on the person’s capability to pay. The sad truth is that some hospitals interpreted the term “ability to pay” differently. In this case, it is always important to have an understanding and knowledge about healthcare insurance rather than being surprised because of the amount you will pay after availing of “free” healthcare service.
To sum it up, there are only a few countries in the world offering either or both universal and free healthcare services. We hope this article had given you ample information regarding the topic.