The five countries boasting the 'most accessible' healthcare for expats – full list


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In the UK, citizens and residents are able to access an array of healthcare as a result of the publicly funded NHS. However, different countries around the world take their own approach to public healthcare. For expats, getting to grips with the way healthcare works overseas can be daunting.

Which countries have the “most accessible” healthcare systems for expats?

1 Italy

Italy was ranked as the best country when it comes to providing healthcare for new international residents.

the nation has its own universal health service similar to the NHS, called the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), which is funded by taxes.

According to Property Guides analysis: “Citizens can expect to contribute around 4.6 percent of their income to the public health system (similar to the UK) and can get free or subsidised healthcare.

“For the most part, GP and ER visits are free, and prescription costs are subsidised under state health cover, meaning you’ll only pay a small fee.”

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2 Germany and the Netherlands

Both Germany and the Netherlands tied in second place, according to the Property Guides analysis.

Germany has a national healthcare system similar to that of the UK and other European countries which is funded by tax.

According to Property Guides, citizens and residents can expect to contribute around 7.5 percent of their salary to the health service.

The experts added: “State healthcare is an opt-in system but having some form of health cover is mandatory.”

As a result, some German citizens may choose to take out private health insurance to supplement or replace public health cover.

Property Guides said: “As well as being one of the most affordable and comprehensive, Germany has one of the highest rates of equity, which means fewer people reported income-related disparities with their healthcare, according to the Commonwealth Fund.”

Furthermore, Germany boasts the highest number of hospital beds per 10,000 of the population and is home to one of the largest university hospitals in Europe.

Property Guides said: “This means the country is best equipped to deal with a surge in emergencies out of all our top 10 expat countries.”

The Netherlands, despite having a very different healthcare system to the NHS, ranks in equal second place for its “accessibility”.

While you may have to contribute 9.65 perecent of your salary to state healthcare, the Commonwealth Fund notes the Dutch healthcare system is “one of the highest performing healthcare systems in Europe”.

Health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands, and therefore residents are required to take out at least a basic healthcare policy.

Property Guides expert added: “Luckily, Dutch health insurance premiums are relatively low compared to the rest of Europe, the USA, and the UAE, and you’ll have access to free prescriptions, GP visits, and vaccines.”

3 Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Spain and the UAE both ranked in equal third place, despite the fact their healthcare systems are very different to that of the UK.

According to the World Population Review, Spain is the “healthiest country in the world”.

According to Property Guides’ analysis, this is “perhaps thanks to its universal healthcare, which guarantees access to free healthcare for all Spanish nationals”.

However, the delivery and standard of healthcare vary between each region.

This means healthcare may be different depending on where you choose to set up life in Spain.

The experts said: “The good news is, those who are living and working in Spain can access their state healthcare system, but you will need to check the terms and conditions for your region.

“While GP visits are usually free with state health insurance, you will have to pay a proportion of your prescription fees, as well as pay for any ER visits, vaccinations, or any specialist treatment.

“For this reason, many Spanish citizens pay for private insurance alongside state insurance which will give them access to a wider treatment.”

In the UAE, the state health service is funded by the government. As the UAE does not have an income tax, there are statutory contributions.

Instead, it is paid for with a corporate tax on large businesses.

Property Guides added: “It’s worth bearing in mind that the UAE has both public and private healthcare facilities, and expats can only access public hospitals and clinics if they have a UAE health card.

“These can be obtained from the Dubai Health Authority or the Health Authority Abu Dhabi.

“Emergency care is usually free in state-funded hospitals with a health card, although you may have to pay for a consultation with a private family doctor.

“That being said, costs are still cheaper than those in Switzerland and the USA.”


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