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.