Many countries have universal health care plans, essentially “Medicare for All” for their citizens. How much do people pay in those countries for health care separate from the amount financed by the government from taxes? Here are a few examples of how much people pay for their health care in countries with universal health care plans:
Netherlands: People in the Netherlands are required to buy private insurance or pay a fine. They chose between plans on the national marketplace. Financing is shared between individuals and their employers. The average Dutch citizen pays $115 to $150 per month in premiums. Copayments are capped at $475 per year. Approximately 40% of the Dutch receive tax subsidies to purchase their insurance. The average out-of-pocket expense in the Netherlands is $605 per year. Immigrants: Undocumented migrants are not covered and are excluded from coverage.
Denmark: Denmark has universal coverage. Services are covered by an 8% tax on income. Private health plans cover additional services and 1.5 million people purchase private coverage. There are copays for dental care for adults, prescriptions, and eyeglasses. Out-of-pocket expenses are capped at $3,775 per year. Immigrants: Emergency care is covered, but immigrants must pay for non-emergency health care.
Switzerland: People in Switzerland are required to buy private insurance or pay a fine. The Swiss pay the entirety of their plan costs, and children require the purchase of a separate plan. The Swiss have a regional insurance marketplace. The average Swiss citizen pays $385 per month in premiums. The average Swiss citizen pays copayments for all services up to their deductible which they choose (between $248 and $2,065). After the deductible is met, the Swiss pay a 10-20% coinsurance on all services, capped at $579 per year. The average out-of-pocket expense in Switzerland is $2,313 per year. Immigrants: Switzerland does not pay health care costs for illegal immigrants, and any service received must be paid for up front.
Sweden: Sweden has universal coverage which is paid for by income taxes. Prescription drugs are not covered and individuals pay the full cost of their prescribed medication. Out-of-pocket spend is capped at $120 per year for health care visits, $120 per year for prescriptions, and $330 per year for dental. Immigrants: Not covered by health care services.
Norway: Virtually all of Norway’s healthcare cost are covered by the government through taxes. Norwegians pay $17 for primary care visit, $39 for specialist visit, and $51 for prescription drugs. Total annual out-of-pocket expense is capped at $221 per year. Immigrants: Not covered by health care services other than emergency care.
United Kingdom: The National Health Service is funded by national taxes. Coverage is universal. Patients pay a portion of their prescription drug costs. Ten percent of citizens have private health policies, which offers more rapid and convenient access to care. Out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare by households accounted for 14.8 percent of total expenditures in the U.K. Immigrants: The National Health Services does not provide health care to undocumented immigrants.
Australia: Australia has a universal health care system that is funded by taxes. The health plan covers 100% to see a general practitioner, 85% for a specialist, and 75% of the charges at a private hospital. About 50% of the population also has additional private health insurance. For Australians who don’t take out a policy, there is a 2 percent premium surcharge for each year they go uncovered. Out-of-pocket payments accounted for 18 percent of total health expenditures and are for dental, medical equipment, and medications. Undocumented immigrants do not have health care coverage.
Canada: Canada has universal health care. The program is covered by taxes. However most Canadians also buy private medical insurance to provide access to private hospitals and to hospitals in the United States. Out-of-pocket spend for patients is about 14% of total healthcare spending and is necessary for prescription drugs, dental care, and vision care. Immigrants: Immigrant healthcare is not covered. Immigrants to Canada must pass a “health screening” that confirms they do not have a pre-existing condition that will likely exceed $20,000 in annual expenditure. If the immigrant does have such a condition, they are denied permanently from coverage.