20 Countries with the Best Healthcare

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When discussing healthcare, the majority of the hype tends to focus on healthcare spending. However, the amount of money spent on healthcare does not necessarily mean that a country’s citizens have access to better medical services and technology. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not provide universal healthcare and ranks first in healthcare spending. Despite the high costs, the U.S. has the 37th-ranked healthcare system out of the WHO’s 191 member nations. France has the best overall healthcare system, but ranks sixth in spending. In fact, of the countries with the top 10-ranked healthcare systems, only two, France and Austria, were also listed in the top 10 in healthcare spending.


The WHO has specific measurements to judge a nation’s healthcare system and bases its evaluation of a country’s quality of services on four main objectives: health care provision, generation of resources, health care financing, and how well the funding is overseen and implemented. According to the WHO criteria, these 19 countries provide the best health care services to their citizens.

1. France. The healthcare system in France is administered by a social security agency that is run separately from the main government. The agency uses a combination of public and private medical facilities and practitioners. France’s system refunds 70% of the cost of general medical expenses, and 100% of the cost of long-term care and costly illnesses and treatments. The rest of the expenses are covered by private, non-profit insurers.

2. Italy. Italy has the lowest doctor/patient ratio: 169:1.This ratio raises the quality of services that can be provided. Italy uses a tax-subsidized system that is based on the National Health Service of Great Britain. All general services are 100% covered, and the focus is on prevention. Another factor in the level of services in Italy is that the doctors are paid a salary based on the local population, instead of being paid for each individual consultation. Being paid a salary cuts down on the abuses which predominate a lot of other healthcare systems.

3. San Marino. This little country uses a mandatory system of government-funded health services, implemented through a system of clinics. All citizens and residents who are registered are lawfully entitled to equal access.

4. Andorra. The health care system in Andorra is based on the French system, and is jointly overseen by Parliament, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the National Health Service, and the Social Security Office.

5. Malta. Medical care is free to all citizens and registered residents of Malta. It is paid through a state-administered and tax-funded insurance. High-quality public and private care is available.

6. Singapore. Singapore is one of only two Asian countries to make it into the top 50. The system in this country is universal, and is paid for through the combination of a compulsory savings program and government subsidies. There is also a national fund to cover catastrophic illnesses. Health matters are administered by the Ministry of Health, and there is a cap in place to control costs. There is a very good system of public and private hospitals and providers to choose from.

7. Spain. Health care in Spain is available at low or no cost to anyone who pays into its social security system. All services are covered, but there is a waiting list to see specialists and for non-essential procedures. Private insurance is available to those who want it.

8. Oman. Although Oman ranks eighth in health care services, it is first in the overall health of its citizens. All health services are universally covered for citizens, including dental care and prescription medicines. Healthcare costs are paid for by the Ministry of Health. This coverages extends to ex-patriots and residents requiring medical care while abroad. Care is provided to visitors and non-residents at a greatly reduced fee.

9. Austria. All citizens and those working in Austria are required to contribute to a fund that covers health insurance. However, everyone is automatically entitled to medical care, even visitors and non-residents. The excellent hospital system extends to more rural areas, and fees are based on income levels.

10. Japan. The health care system in Japan is provided for through a combination of public subsidy and private insurance. The government of Japan pays 70% of costs and the patient is expected to cover the rest. There is also a cap on fees, which helps to keep costs down and ensure that all citizens are able to have complete and affordable care.

11. Norway. Norway has a state-run health system, supported by mandatory tax contributions from all citizens and from those who are living and working in Norway long-term. The system is overseen by the National Insurance Scheme, and overseen regionally.

12. Portugal. Health care reform in Portugal has made it one of the most efficient systems available. Main health services are free to all and administered through the National Health Service. There are also a separate systems of specialized, subsidized health insurance, and private insurance available to those who prefer it.

13. Monaco. Monaco is the smallest country on the list in both size and population, but it is also one of the wealthiest. This leads to an overall high standard of living, which translates to a high quality of all services. Health care is no exception.

14. Greece. Medical care is provided free or at very low cost to all citizens and paid for through social security contributions. Services include specialists and dental care. Anyone, regardless of citizenship, can walk in and receive care at clinics. Although the economic crisis has attached a fee to some previously free services, the fee is generally under 20 Euros. Prescription drugs are highly subsidized and very affordable.

15. Iceland. Health insurance in Iceland is paid for through a combination of taxes and fees on certain services. All persons legally residing in Iceland for longer than 6 months are automatically covered. The only service which must be covered by residents is dental care for people between the ages of 16 and 60. Prescriptions are priced on a sliding scale, depending on the type of medication.

16. Luxembourg. Worldwide, Luxembourg is second in fairness of financial allocations for paying for health needs. This may be a contributing factor to the level of healthcare services available. A more equitable allocation in funding relates to a higher level of service for all.

17. Netherlands. All Dutch citizens are required to purchase health insurance, with the stipulation that no one is to be denied health insurance based on age or health status. The Dutch government covers the cost of all health care for minors and offers financial assistance to residents who have low incomes.

18. United Kingdom. The U.K. has one of the oldest modern healthcare systems to offer universal coverage to its citizens. The current system was established in England in 1948. Each of the four countries administers their National Health Service separately. British citizens pay a flat fee of £7.40 for prescription medicines and everything else is 100% covered. In Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, all services and prescriptions are covered. All hospitals are government owned, and health services are paid for through taxes. For those who can afford it, private insurance and private physicians are available.

19. Ireland. The Republic of Ireland uses a partially tax-funded and partially subsidized system of healthcare. The cost is dependent on age, income, and other factors. Realizing the importance of prenatal care, the system covers all maternity services and medical care for babies until they are 6 months old.

20. Romania. The public health system in Romania has many many problems, the doctors are working with old equipment, their salary is somewhere between 700-1500 Euro / mo. In the private health system, the situation is totally opposite, new hospitals and clinics are opened every year, doctors are from the public system are attracted with bigger salaries and the latest modern tools which leads to more accurate diagnosis for patients. The Universities in Romania develops well prepared doctors, they are followed not only by local romanian students but also from Greece, France, Liban and other arabic countries, etc. The prices for medical treatment in Romania are significantly lower than in other countries but the quality of doctors remain the same, for example a teeth treatment in Romania is at half price than in Austria and a quarter than in the UK.

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