How Does Health Insurance Work Around the World? US, UK, and Australia Compared

    Countries all over the world have different healthcare policies. While some countries offer the most affordable healthcare to their residents, others rely on private insurers, and some combine the two.

    Around the world, health insurance is compared based on access to care, quality of services, and affordability. Countries like the UK and Australia have been commended for providing good healthcare at affordable prices, while the US is said to have a high cost of accessing medical services.

    On that note, here’s an in-depth look at health insurance in the US, UK, and Australia.

    Health Insurance In Australia

    Australia’s health care has been ranked as the 32nd most efficient in the world by the World Health Organization. This is because the Australian government provides its citizens with a wide range of health services.

    These services range from population health to general practices, community health services, emergency services, rehabilitation programs, and palliative care.

    Public health services in Australia are provided by a single program called Medicare. This universal program covers all the citizens and permanent residents in Australia.

    Medicare offers treatments and medical services at little or no cost. Additionally, it covers physiotherapy, community nursing initiatives, and children’s basic dental care.

    Australian residents pay about 2% of their income to Medicare levy, which caters to public health care.

    Students and workers however still pay for health care services through cash or private health insurance. Those who have private insurance can ask to be exempted from the levy paid by other residents.

    The Australian government encourages those who earn more in Australia to get private insurance to reduce the pressure placed on the public health system.

    Health Insurance Options In Australia

    Australian citizens are automatically covered for health care under the government’s Medicare scheme, however, many Australians still take out private insurance to get access to high-quality services.

    This way, they can control the choice of doctors that attend to them, and have reduced or no waiting time for specialist care in the hospital.

    Also, there are two types of private health insurance in Australia; one covers in-hospital care, while the other provides auxiliary or additional coverage for services like ambulance and physiotherapy.

    Private health insurance in Australia covers some or all of the health services that are not covered by Medicare such as dental care, optical health care, and a range of other services. You can compare health insurance with iSelect to get the insurance coverage that best suits your needs and budget.

    Health Insurance In The U.S

    Healthcare facilities in most countries of the world are either owned by the government or businesses in the private sector, while in the US, a large number of hospitals are owned by private Nonprofit organizations.

    This however hasn’t deterred healthcare costs in the state as the US has the highest healthcare expenditure in the world, covered by federal institutions, private insurance, and individual payments.

    However, a large number of people in the United States are still uninsured or not adequately insured, this will have negative impacts on the country when temporary measures put in place are removed.

    Getting health insurance in the US can be a bit tricky, especially when you belong to certain groups in society such as the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. There is no general health insurance for Americans, each person, especially those who are not covered by their employers can check for a program they are eligible for and sign up for it.

    The consequence of this is that people can experience gaps in insurance at different points in their lives such as when they lose a job, haven’t gotten to, or have exceeded a particular age.

    Health Insurance In The U.K

    The United Kingdom is famous for its National Health System popularly known as NHS, this program is responsible for providing the different aspects of healthcare to permanent residents.

    The NHS is publicly funded and is unique when compared with other healthcare systems in the world. Each region in the UK has its NHS body, which provides for universality and equity in the country.

    The NHS is based on residency rather than insurance, this ensures that it is accessible to all residents for free, including expats. 

    People visiting from the European Economic Area also get free NHS care using their European health insurance card, others who settled in the UK and have been given indefinite leave to remain can also access the same free services.

    Although the NHS covers a large part of healthcare services, a small number of UK citizens still opt to pay for private health insurance. This gives them faster access to specialists and better health facilities, it also helps to reduce waiting times, and they get to enjoy private en-suite rooms rather than share wards with other patients.


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