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Facts About European Health Care

European health care

European health care

As the population is increasing in Europe, the health care costs are also increasing, but the quality of the service is degrading day by day. The challenge in front of the government is how to strike a balance between increasing population and facilities providing health care. To add to the agony, Europe has a majority of aging population, which definitely needs good health care services and benefits.  Health care industry in Europe faces major criticism. It is constantly compared to other developed countries.

Europe spends little on health care out of its Gross domestic product (GDP).  Around 20% is spent on this important factor of human life. Thus, pay from your own pocket attitude dominates here. Government failing to provide good health care facilities increases market of private firm in the industry, but to avail benefits from  them, you need to pay from your own pocket.

France and Switzerland, two important parts of Europe, run their health care industry entirely in two opposite directions. France is more government based health care facility dominated unit, whereas, Switzerland is more of private firm taking over the health care business, hence in Switzerland you need to pay more to avail health care benefits. Germany is the second largest unit of the European territory. Germany has a third ranking in the survey done for average age expectancy, which is 78 years for Germany. It also stands third in the list of practising physicians and low mortality rate. Talking of only Germany, it spends approximately 12% of its GDP on health care, which is better than any other part of Europe. About 87% of the total population is covered under insurance.  Low wage earners get a part of the expense reimbursed by the government.

Europe has universal health care system, which US does not have. Many think that US should also have Universal health care. Health care is a very important in US and Government spends a good amount of its GDP on benefits and services related to health care.  UK is the leading and the largest in the health care industry. British nationals and visitors from Europe are given free health care benefits.

Reports show that Denmark spends around 10% of its GDP on health care. They too have universal health care system. Where in US, an average American spends around $7000 on health care, Danes spends $3500 in comparison.  Not to forget, that quality is not being compromised here, the best of facilities and services are provided. Reports suggest, that US has 2.8 doctors per 1000 residents whereas, Denmark has 3.6 per 1000 residents. This proves that practicing doctors are more here than US.

Europe issues European health care insurance card to the nationals. This card enables them to avail health care benefits on short term abroad trips. The feature of this card is to provide the same benefits and services to the nationals travelling abroad as in the Country. The amount spent on the medical services will be reimbursed as soon as you reach your home town. This card was introduced in 2004. People who are entitled for this card are:

  • European nationals
  • European Economic area Nationals
  • Swiss nationals
  • Nationals of Member states covered under EU’s social security system

This card does not contain much of medical data. It only provides the name of the person, date of birth and personal identification number. No past medical history is recorded.

13 Comments so far

  1. Norris Hall   December 15, 2009 5:59 pm

    I am an American.
    I am self employed
    My wife and I are in our early 60′s
    Here is our health care plan
    We pay $920 US dollars per month for the two of us.
    We have an $8000 deductible that resets every year.
    That means each year we must spend about $20,000 out of our own pocket for insurance and health care.
    After that, the insurance company will help us pay our medical bills.

    The insurance company knows that we will try very hard not to get sick or to see a doctor because they know we will have to pay $8000 before they will help us.

    Every year we go to Bangkok , Thailand to have our physical checkups, dental work and any operations we need to have. We pay cash with no insurance because the cost of medical care in Thailand is SOOOOO CHEAP.
    We pick the best private hospitals and get the best care.

    You who live in Europe are very lucky to have a government that cares for it’s citizens

  2. Jackson   February 3, 2010 10:43 am

    I can’t really understand the problem. Population increases, so the number of doctors are.
    And yes, health care systems in europe should invest in its health system. However, with this economical problem, it’s quite difficult. But the european health care still is better than other systems.

  3. Lange   February 6, 2010 5:35 am

    Wow, Norris, thanks for letting us know those facts. I didn’t know that americans pay that much on their health care system.

    The european health care doesn’t offer so great services, indeed. But it doesn’t cost much either.

  4. Jossey   February 7, 2010 10:52 am

    The european health care is definitely better than the american one. Not only you pay less, but the services are basically the same.

    Anyway, I guess there will be a change in every health care system in europe. Thanks to this recession.

  5. phoenix   February 9, 2010 1:22 pm

    It would be good if that European health care insurance card would contain more information. The medical history would be great. People can pay a little more to get them. I think it would be a good idea.

  6. freeman   February 9, 2010 1:51 pm

    The european health care has some problems. That is true. But population is quite glad with it, from my point of view. However, things will surely get better. Of course, that would happen after this economical depression.

  7. Geoff Bauman   March 29, 2010 11:05 am

    The self-employed individual who pays $900/month for insurance with an $8000 deductible has some serious health problems or is not looking hard for insurance. I am self employed also and could pay half almost half that with a $5000 deducible (which deductible is tax free in an HSA). Be careful about dental service in Thailand. I’m a dentist and have seen the results from the orient. We have such good health care in US and a large segment of our population gets it at gov’t mandated lower/no cost which “shifts” the cost to insurance carriers (140% of usual an customary for regular insurance). Once we get onto gov’t system. All costs will be mandated to be lower and the quality will reduce in a commensurate fasion.

    Good luck!

  8. PG   November 8, 2010 10:01 pm

    I think governments should have an obligation to make sure healthcare is available to all its population , as it is these people who make the GDP . Also governments must stop sending vast amounts of money, medicins , and personel abroad for health projects while there are people in their country with little or no acces to healthare.
    I am sorry the governments are not doing their jobs correctly today and need to be told to correct their management and ideas

  9. Thomas   December 23, 2010 12:16 pm

    That is great that Germany does so much to help their people. That is how it should be in all countries, not just Europe. I believe that insurance should be offered to all to help with medical bills. It shows that Germany has it down if they have low mortality rates. Maybe we all need to be looking to Germany for advice.

  10. Andy   December 31, 2010 11:53 am

    Insurance is a great thing to have and many are without it in various parts of the world. That is really too bad. I do agree that Thomas put it right when he said we need to look to Germany for advice. Apparently they are doing something right.

  11. tulsa   January 9, 2011 1:40 pm

    Norris how can you afford to pay that much for insurance?
    While it would be great for everyone to have insurance, it is just not practical. I can not afford to pay the $600 that it will cost me so I am without insurance at the moment. I do think that the US needs to look to Germany to see what they are doing right.

  12. Benji   January 21, 2011 12:37 pm

    I feel that it is part of the governments resposibility to make sure that we have insurance or good health care. I could not imagine going to another country every year to have work done. I think that more and more countries should look to Germany and see what they are doing right. Obviously something if you ask me.

  13. Marai   March 13, 2011 2:36 am

    I have just had first hand experience of the German Health Care system, and was absolutely appalled by it, and have since heard some disturbing stories about other ‘German’s experiences’. It figures I guess as when first moved here I was shocked by how old and archaic many of the ambulances were it seemed like a flash-back to the 80s!. Furthermore the Government are cutting back on what services can be received from the ‘lower income Health Care Plan’. The Netherlands is the best Health Care System in Europe, with Denmark and Iceland following close behind. I believe these are all Public Health Care Systems. It is my belief these are usually the best it seems that when a healthcare system becomes privatised its major concern is profit margins so that to better line the pockets of the CEO’s. To close I suspect that the German Health System will one day deteriorate like Americas.

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