Countries Offering the World’s Best Healthcare – Part One

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Countries Offering the World’s Best Healthcare – Part One

Since the World Health Organisation released its controversial Health Report in 2000, in which the US surprisingly ranked at number 37, the debate over which nations provide the best level of healthcare has been fierce.

Far more recently, International Living published its own Health Care Survey for 2013 after studying a variety of foreign nations.

Following an assessment of the quality and affordability of medical procedures offered, International Living compiled a list of 7 overseas nations offering the best healthcare.

In Part One of this post we’ll count down from 7 – 5 and in Part Two we’ll see which nations got into the top 4, and which ranked at number 1!

Ecuador

A growing number of expats are singing the praises of Ecuador’s healthcare system. As well as offering low cost treatments Ecuadorian doctors are known for putting their patients first, and taking far more time over checkups and consultations than is usually allotted in countries like the US and UK. There is a relatively high amount of English speaking doctors in Ecuador’s largest cities, including Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca, and many hospitals in these areas are modern and well maintained.

The influx of expats to the area has been partly responsible for the surge of Ecuadorian doctors trained in the US and Europe.

Because of the low cost of treatments many expats opt to pay for medical treatments as they need them rather than taking out an insurance plan, although you can take out reasonably priced national health insurance or opt for private healthcare cover.

Furthermore, Ecuador’s public healthcare system benefited from huge investments in 2010/11 and expats who hold a residence visa are now able to pay into the system and receive treatment through it. If you opt to go down this route though you should bear in mind the fact that although coverage is comprehensive, waiting lists can be very long in the public healthcare system and you are unlikely to be offered a choice of doctors.

In Ecuador many common medications are available without prescription, but as the names may be different from what you’re used to you should always check with your doctor before taking anything.

Mexico

Although areas of Mexico have earned a reputation for less than reputable forms of ‘medication’ the nation does offer good quality healthcare. In larger cities the healthcare is particularly high quality, with modern facilities and highly trained specialists.

In fact, many US doctors go to Guadalajara to receive their own medical training.

The cost of procedures and treatments in Mexico is also comparatively low, although this does vary depending on your physician/condition.

While you should be able to find a doctor who speaks English with only minimal fuss, Spanish is Mexico’s first language and you may find visits to your local chemist trickier if you don’t speak a little Spanish.

Prescription medications are easily available and reasonably priced, but may be sold under different names to what you’re used to. Always check and be certain that you’ve been prescribed the correct medication/dosage.

Uruguay

Residents of Uruguay are able to use the national health care system, benefiting from access to its network of free clinics and high-end facilities.

Although the free clinics are usually crowded and getting an appointment can involve a pretty hefty wait, they’re a good option if you don’t have health insurance and the standard of care provided is of a good quality.

The most popular hospital among Expats in Uruguay is the British Hospital in Montevideo, but the private healthcare system operating in Uruguay is low cost, well equipped and well organised. A series of independently operated associations run high-level facilities and after becoming a member of an association (and begin paying a monthly premium) you will have use of all of the services listed in your plan (ambulance, pharmacy etc).

Furthermore, if you have an accident away from the association you’re registered with, they will pay for emergency coverage at your nearest hospital.

Part Two of our look at overseas healthcare is coming soon.

In the meantime, if you’ve had a particularly good (or bad) experience of healthcare overseas, let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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