World healthcare surveys might well confuse the average expat

World healthcare surveys might well confuse the average expat

World healthcare surveys might well confuse the average expat

For expats at whatever age, the quality and cost of healthcare in a chosen destination is one of the most important aspects of relocating.

For expatriates on reassignment, employer-provided healthcare is the norm, saving time, trouble and often money, as larger employers can benefit from group plans. For entrepreneurs, expat retirees and those planning to find a job after they’re emigrated, it’s a far different story, especially as many countries worldwide are now making private healthcare insurance mandatory for the issuance of visas. The overall quality of healthcare varies between countries, as does the price if privately insured.

Leaving out the USA due to its sky-high costs and variable quality, a recent and extraordinarily comprehensive study by the Commonwealth Fund provides a useful ranking of the top 11 world countries’ healthcare offerings. The three top-ranked countries are the UK – believe it or probably not – the Netherlands and Australia. The Netherlands took top ranking with a score of 96.1 per cent, based on its overall approach to the provision, which included affordability as well as preventative care and patient preferences.

However, a contrasting study by the Legatum Institute’s Prosperity Index found the world’s best healthcare in Canada, Qatar and France, with the Netherlands in eighth spot and the UK nowhere in the top 13. Expats might well wonder about the methods of determining the ‘best’ of the rest, but at least the best are relatively consistent in being nowhere near the bottom of either study results. In fact, Finland is named as having the world’s top healthcare services, but isn’t a favourite destination for expat professionals. Generally speaking, it seems that publicly-funded systems provide a better outcome for patients than other alternative methods of funding.

Yet another survey, entitled Population 2019, ranked world healthcare in such a way that France took the top spot, followed by Italy, the tiny state of San Marino, Andorra and Malta, four countries in which the average ambitious expat professional might not be interested. The UK came in at 18th, and Canada, one of the best according to Legatum, took a lowly 30th place. As a result, expats investigating and comparing all the studies in order to choose a relocation with affordable, accessible medical and surgical services might be better off using the tried and true method of picking up pin, closing eyes and sticking pin somewhere on the list.

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