What Are the Countries With the Best Healthcare?
Healthcare systems differ greatly by country and region, which makes it difficult to determine where the best healthcare in the world is. Fortunately, there are organizations that have assessed which country has the best healthcare (as well as the countries with the worst systems!).
In 2021, the Commonwealth Institute examined the healthcare systems in 11 high-income countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The measurements took into account how easily people can access care, administrative procedures and equity around this care, and the quality of healthcare outcomes. Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia were the countries with the best healthcare. The United States ranked at 11, placing it at the bottom of this list.
The Commonwealth Fund regularly ranks the best healthcare in the world. The United States has come in last in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2017, and 2021.
You can read the full 2021 report here: Commonwealth Fund Report
Healthcare System Performance Ranking
Key findings: “The top-performing countries overall are Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia. The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care. The U.S. ranks last on access to care, administrative efficiency, equity, and health care outcomes, but second on measures of care process.”
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The Best Healthcare Systems in the World in 2023
The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, has also evaluated where to find the best healthcare in the world. Its 2023 report includes a “Health pillar” that is based on how healthy a society is and whether people are able to access tools to maintain their health, including healthcare services. Of course, in most countries you’ll need a travel insurance plan, for short visits for up to one year, or an international medical insurance plan, if you want long-term medical coverage for a year or more, to access these services.
What country has the best healthcare according to this assessment? Singapore comes in at No. 1! Other countries with the best healthcare are listed below.
Best Healthcare in the World
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
- Costa Rica
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- Sri Lanka
- Saudi Arabia
- Trinidad and Tobago
- United States
- Cabo Verde
- Dominican Republic
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- El Salvador
What Country Has the Best Healthcare in Europe?
BAV Group, part of the global marketing company VMLY&R, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 17,000 people around the globe, which confirmed Europe has some of the best public healthcare systems in the world. The countries with the best healthcare in Europe were: Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Finland, and Belgium.
Keep in mind that public healthcare in some European countries often comes with long wait times to receive care. And if you don’t qualify for enrollment in a country’s public healthcare system, you’ll need an international health insurance plan to be sure your medical needs will be covered. Private plans provide you with access to quality healthcare around the world, as well as offering shorter wait times and more choices in treatment.
Related: Insurance for Travel to Europe
Which U.S. States Have the Best Healthcare?
The Commonwealth Fund’s 2022 Scorecard on State Health System Performance reveals that affordability is an ongoing concern for healthcare in the United States. Premature deaths from heart disease, diabetes, and drug overdoses remain an ongoing problem. Visitors to the United States will need an international health plan to have their medical care covered.
States With the Best Healthcare Systems
States With the Worst-Rated Healthcare Systems
- West Virginia
Related: Insurance for Travel to the USA
Which Countries Have the Worst Healthcare in the World?
According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, the following countries have the worst healthcare in the world. This list begins with the country with the worst healthcare system:
- Central African Republic
- South Sudan
- Sierra Leone
- Equatorial Guinea
International Health Insurance Plans Abroad
When living abroad, ensure access to the best health care and coverage for your medical expenses.
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- For Foreigners in the US or US citizens abroad
Best International Health Plans Based on Where You Will Be Living
Guides to the best health insurance for international citizens or expatriates living in specific countries based on the top destination countries of people living abroad.
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Written by Joe Cronin, the Founder and President of International Citizens Insurance. Mr. Cronin is an authority in the areas of global health, life, and travel insurance, with expertise in advising individuals and groups on benefits for today's global workforce . Follow him @Joe_Cronin_Jr