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9 Healthcare Perks That Only Exist in Other Countries

There always seems to be noise about U.S. healthcare—whether insurance is just too expensive or sometimes, just plain useless. (Hello $5,000 deductables, we’re looking at you.) The recent subsidized offerings through Obamacare have certainly helped Americans obtain better and more accessible care, but still, in a recent survey of 11 nations conducted by The Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. healthcare system ranked last. Ouch.

Most other countries offer public insurance as well as private, meaning that residents all have insurance paid via taxes—in one form or another. But here are some other healthcare benefits offered in other parts of the globe.

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Healthcare perk: It’s free. And we mean really, really free. If a Canadian is in a hospital, their only bill might come from a long-distance telephone call. That’s it. Of course, the Canucks pay higher sales taxes, for example, but all citizens are insured.

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Healthcare perk: Free urgent emergency care. Forget about the $50 or $75 co-pay at the emergency room. If you’re in an accident, or suddenly ill, you can immediately receive care, free of charge.

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Healthcare perk: No deductables. Some U.S. plans come sans deductables, too, but with higher premiums. In Germany, there’s no such trade off.

New Zealand
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Healthcare perk: Free dental care up to age 18, making life easier on moms. In New Zealand, general healthcare is also free—and includes maternity care!

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Healthcare perk: Guaranteed minimum wait times. In Sweden, if you need surgery for example, the government guarantees you’ll receive it within 90 days. Sure, Americans can get appointments a lot faster, but we also pay a lot more up front too.

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Healthcare perk: Included disability and sickness insurance benefits. If you’re disabled or sick for three months or longer, you’re eligible for cash payouts. In the U.S., this type of insurance is separate and sometimes not available for individuals.

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Healthcare perk: You can pay out of pocket for most medical expenses. A doctor’s visit might run you $16, for example, and a dental exam $9.

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Healthcare perk: The more trouble you have, the more care you receive. For example, those with expensive illnesses, like diabetes and cancer receive complete coverage from the government, including the costs of medications, surgeries, and therapies. There are no co-pays; no co-insurance needed.

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Healthcare perk: Included physical and occupational therapy benefits. Many U.S. plans don’t cover physical therapy, or only offer a set amount of visits per year.