The cost of medical care around the world
In the UK, we’re extremely fortunate to have the NHS. Having access to free healthcare means we don’t have to worry about the cost of our GP appointment or take out a loan to cover our gallbladder surgery. Say what you want about the length of the waiting lists and your doctor running 20 minutes late; the truth is we’re the lucky ones.
Many other countries fail to provide affordable healthcare, which means once you leave the UK you’re no longer protected by the NHS’ safety net. A broken bone or a stint on the wards could set you back thousands of pounds, particularly if you’re visiting a country where there’s no universal health system.
Here, we explore the cost of healthcare around the world and what you can do to avoid a massive medical bill overseas.
Medical care around the world
The US was found to be the most expensive medical provider overall, charging an average of a huge £25,550 to repair a broken leg, which is 7.5 times higher than the UK’s average of £3,363. Spain came in as the second highest at £15,000 followed by Singapore at £10,396. The UAE, Argentina and India were reported to be the most affordable places to break a leg.
It’s evident there’s huge variation between the cost of medical care in different countries. Some of these countries do have universal healthcare systems which will cover part or all of the cost of an individual’s treatment, however, this is not always the case.
For example, in the US, patients are expected to pay for medical care out of pocket, or take out insurance to cover it, which is often not affordable for those on low incomes.
Consider the risks
The easiest way to prevent a hefty hospital bill is to avoid getting injured in the first place. Consider the activities you’re doing while you’re abroad and whether there’s a high risk of injury. Backflipping off a cliff into the sea might look great on your Instagram story, but there could be rocks lurking beneath the water that could cause a serious injury.
Of course, there’s no way to guarantee you won’t have an accident while overseas – even walking down the road carries a small amount of risk. If you want to ensure you’re protected financially, taking out travel insurance or even global medical insurance will give you peace of mind should disaster strike during your travels.