Thursday, April 07, 2011

Healthcare in Switzerland vs. the United States

In the past few years, the U.S. has been in the news for its so-called health care reform. But what has been accomplished?

Like most things, as you learn more about another country’s way of doing things, you’re educated about your own country at the same time. Unfortunately, what I am learning is not flattering to the healthcare situation in the United States.

Basic Swiss health insurance covers you for emergencies that take place outside of Switzerland for up to twice the cost of what this emergency would cost inside the country. And yet Switzerland, known for being one of the most expensive places in the world, recommends that for travel to the United States, one take additional travel insurance since medical costs there will likely exceed twice the cost of the same procedure in Switzerland.

Yes. Medical care in the United States will generally exceed twice the cost of medical care in Switzerland. Why? Too many lawyers? Too many greedy people? Too many fat people? To me this is absolute insanity and shows just how out of control medical costs in the United States have gotten and how much reform really needs to take place there.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

It depends on the type of medical insurance you have. I belong to an HMO, so I pay just $15 co-payment fee for a doctor's visit. My HMO insurance plan pays the rest.

Recently, I went to the Emergency Room and paid just $75.

This is in Hawaii, but I am sure there are other HMOs on the mainland USA, such as Kaiser.

M'dame Jo said...

gigihawaii > I believe Chantal is referring to the hospitals' and doctors' bills (that insurances pay) and not to what we, insured people, have to pay to be covered.

Chantal, I honestly don't know what to think, it's a problem whose complexity is beyond my knowledge. But from where I see things, the US system seems to have gotten out of control and may be a good example for Switzerland to study and not to follow.

When I was in the US, I was covered through work, but as it was for a few months only, I was strongly advised to keep my swiss insurance, plus get an extra travel insurance (60.-/year) in case the cost would go beyond what the basic insurance covers. Long story short, I had to go to the doctor and the one I was recommended wasn't cover by my medical care plan, so my regular swiss insurance paid the bills. It was indeed much higher (about three times) that what I would have paid for the same exams here.

Diana said...

You know what's wild? The US has the highest per capita spending on health care than any developed country, the highest infant mortality rate and the lowest life expectancy.

Reasons for the high costs: Doctors are afraid of getting sued. Some say it's the additional cost of R&D (i.e. the US leads the way for medical discoveries... don't know if this is true).

Hattie said...

It's not true that the fear of lawsuits is what's making health care so expensive in the U.S. It's the greed of the insurance companies, the drug companies, and all the other companies in the business of providing health services. In the absence of serious regulation, they have gone hog wild.

Chantal said...

I think lawyers and greed of insurance companies as well as lack of regulation probably all have something to do with the high cost of healthcare in the U.S.

It's probably also the amount of overweight people and also the fact that so many are uninsured.

M'dame Jo said...

Some say it's the additional cost of R&D (i.e. the US leads the way for medical discoveries... don't know if this is true).

Maybe, but I would find it surprising. Companies only invest a few percents in R&D, I have a hard time imagining how it could make the cost double or triple.

mrsmac said...

liability. when i gave birth to bettina in switzerland the difference was astounding. want to go visit bettina at the kinderspital less than 48 hrs after your csection? sure, go ahead, let us know when you get back.

in the us- want to leave the hospital 4 days after your csection? here's a stack of papers you need to sign before your released, we will send you out in a wheelchair, and we will check the installation of your infant carseat before you go. insanity.

M'dame Jo said...

I saw this and I thought about your post.

Dena Yard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dena Yard said...

This post is interesting. I didn't know that Switzerland's insurance is much cheaper than the United States. I think lawyers from United States need to take an action about this insurance.

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Samuel Wilson said...

It's unfortunate that we can't have the same efficiency in our health care system. This is the reason why most people would rather go for private health insurance.

Maia Dobson said...

Health tourism and dental tourism is the trend these days. I think Americans should try this because it doesn't only help them save bucks with the health services but it's also a chance for them to see the other side of the world.

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daniellaprice30 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
daniellaprice30 said...

What I envy about Switzerland's health care insurance is their emergency health support. I hope our insurance here in the States would also be as efficient and worth it.

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Josh Schwartz said...

Health insurance is essential to us nowadays. I hope the government would take resolution to provide cheap health insurance that included dental care.

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Stew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stew said...

This is exactly the reason over 56% of the US population do not get themselves covered for dental care in their health insurance policies. It's appalling at its best. I guess the answer lies in that over 70% of the world's population of lawyers have their offices in this country. Sigh. memphis sleep apnea

Mina Johanson said...

My dentist in las vegas doesn't ask for much when he does his procedures. I know US has the best insurances in the world, in my opinion.

Terry Wilson said...

Whatever healthcare it is, they are all the same for me. As long as they do their job as providing care first then pay later. Like how my dentistry in atlanta accepts all these dental care insurance.

dentists in scottsdale said...

I highly agree with the other comments. It really depends with what insurance you have. And now all are the same. So I think comparison isn't a must here.

fairfield invisalign said...

I really find no difference with these two countries. But I'm more on the United states side. I haven't experienced the healthcare from Switzerland though.

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