According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK ranked thirteenth-highest of its 36 members in terms of total health expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018. When it comes to compulsory healthcare expenditure as a percentage of GDP, the UK was the twelfth highest spender. So, what other countries spend more than us and how are their healthcare systems funded?
The nations with a higher total expenditure as a percentage of GDP than the UK in 2018 were the USA, Switzerland, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Norway, and the Netherlands. The countries with a higher compulsory healthcare expenditure than the UK, meanwhile, were the USA, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria. Let's take a look at the countries that appear in the top five of both lists in more detail:
1) The United States Of America
According to the OECD, the USA's 2018 expenditure on healthcare represented 16.9% of GDP. Compulsory expenditure formed 14.3% of GDP, while voluntary contributions (from voluntary insurance and households themselves) comprised 2.6%. The USA doesn't have a universal healthcare system. Most healthcare facilities are private companies and residents need to obtain insurance either through government schemes, via their employers or by purchasing personal policies.
Germany's total healthcare expenditure was 11.2% of GDP, with compulsory expenditure forming 9.5% of GDP and voluntary expenditure representing 1.7%. As in the UK, the government provides a national health service - known as Gesetzliche Krankenversicherun (GKV) - which covers primary care, in-patient, and out-patient hospital treatment, as well as some dental costs, but you can also purchase private medical insurance.
The OECD's data reveals that France's total healthcare expenditure for 2018 was 11.2% of GDP (9.3% government/compulsory and 1.9% voluntary). France also has a universal healthcare system, which, like the NHS, is largely funded by contributions from employers, the self-employed and employees' salaries, and this pays a percentage of service users' costs. There are both public and privately-owned healthcare facilities, and residents must have either state or private health insurance by law.
Sweden's total healthcare expenditure was 11.0% of GDP in the same year (9.3% government/compulsory and 1.8% voluntary). The country operates a decentralised universal healthcare system, with most services being provided and funded by county councils, as opposed to central government. Service users pay a percentage of the costs, while additional funding for the system comes from the government and municipal taxes. Private healthcare service providers also exist.
The UK's Healthcare System – Expenditure & Funding
Total healthcare expenditure for the UK, meanwhile, was 9.8% of GDP (7.5% government/compulsory and 2.2% voluntary). While this suggests there are opportunities for those setting up private healthcare businesses, it also means that securing funding can be challenging. As an independent finance broker with healthcare industry experience, however, we can help – and we've produced a free Guide To Healthcare Funding in the UK for additional free information.
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