Posted: Nov 14, 2017
Healthcare might not be the first thing people consider when looking to move to a new country but it is actually one of the most important factors we should all think about before taking the plunge. There are few needs more important than your own health, after all, and all of us will likely need to seek medical attention or advice every so often.
With that in mind, here are the top five countries in terms of their healthcare provision, according to the Legatum Institute’s 10th annual Global Prosperity Index.
Perhaps best known for its more liberal political leanings and its tulips, the Netherlands also has what is regarded as one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. The country consistently ranks well in various healthcare surveys, topping the 2017 Euro Health Consumer Index and placing in the top three every year since 2005.
In part this is thanks to the 160 primary care centres which operate on a 24/7 basis across the nation, cutting down waiting times and offering solid access to treatment whenever or wherever it may be needed. Even so, as health insurance is mandatory even if your stay in the Netherlands is temporary, this is important to consider when budgeting for a move here.
Cutting-edge equipment is a key feature of the Japanese health system thanks to the nation’s place at the forefront of global technology. Not only is healthcare of the highest quality, access is generally free of charge to citizens and those staying in the country for longer than a year.
Nevertheless, this can be offset by the potential language barrier between expats and medical professionals, as there is no guarantee of seeing an English-speaking doctor. While it could be wise to take an interpreter with you, the government has been taking steps in order to increase the coverage of bilingual provision.
The healthcare leader in Asia, Singapore is a compact city-state which benefits from its robust infrastructure and investment in technology. Some of the most respected hospitals and medical centres in the world are based here, helping to keep standards high throughout the system.
Affordability is a key draw for Singaporean healthcare, as private and public hospitals directly compete to prevent any significant divergence in price point. That said, as expats do not qualify for subsidies it’s crucial to sign up to a good international health insurance plan in order to meet any costs that you may end up facing.
While Luxembourg is a small state that doesn’t stop it punching above its weight in the healthcare stakes, ranking a comfortable first in the Legatum Institute’s health sub-index. The country offers free basic health coverage to all of its residents, funded by both the state and social security payments.
It’s worth nothing that GPs in Luxembourg operate on a slightly different schedule to their European/ international counterparts, with practices generally closing on Wednesday afternoons. However, this slight inconvenience is largely balanced out by the benefits of a walk-in appointment system, which allows patients to seek a consultation at their own convenience.
Even amongst the highest ranking countries there’s still a balance between pros and cons, with no one country having a completely perfect healthcare system. As a result it’s important to do your research and make sure you choose a country whose provision best suits your individual needs and circumstances.