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What's the healthcare system like in your country?





watersoul
I visited my dentist after a painful abscess developed in my mouth last week.
This has been a recurring problem over the last year and after yet another x-ray it was established that I have a cyst in the roof of my mouth roughly 2cm in size which will require surgery at the local hospital to remove it.

Because I work and earn more than a certain amount I had to pay 17 for the dentist appointment then a further 7 for the antibiotics to deal with the abscess. If I was unemployed or part-time/low wage it would not have cost me anything as these services are funded by general taxation.

I have a date for the surgery now, 4 weeks time.
There will be no requirement for me to pay anything for this as it is at my local NHS hospital and treatment is not charged at the point of need.
Some of my friends have complained that it is unacceptable that I have to wait 4 weeks, to which I've replied that some people in the world would be waiting until they die, so take a reality pill and put it into perspective.

I'm interested in hearing about the situation regarding healthcare for the many Frihosters around the world, if you had a similar ailment as mine what would it cost you (if anything) and how long would you expect to wait for treatment?
GuidanceReader
Here, in Australia, medicare will pay for a base rate on doctors, but individuals pay the gap. It's up to you whether you seek those that charge the base rate (bulk bill) or not. I pay about $15-$30 a visit out of pocket for the doctor I go to, as I believe him to be worth the cost.

If going to hospital, if you are a public patient it is free, but generally waiting lists can be astronomical. For this, we have private health insurance, which is paid for by the individual (some of it is subsidized by the government). My last hospital appointment I did privately and had no gap or excess to pay, as the hospital has gone out of their way to pay that for me, as it saves them money in the long run. I thought it was a good plan.

As for dentist, this is not covered by our health system, although I think there are places that offer free/very cheap dental work - especially those that also do 'teaching' of new dentists. My dental visits are subsidized with my private health insurance, and on my plan the last scale and clean cost me $7 out of pocket.
watersoul
GuidanceReader wrote:
Here, in Australia, medicare will pay for a base rate on doctors, but individuals pay the gap. It's up to you whether you seek those that charge the base rate (bulk bill) or not. I pay about $15-$30 a visit out of pocket for the doctor I go to, as I believe him to be worth the cost.

If going to hospital, if you are a public patient it is free, but generally waiting lists can be astronomical. For this, we have private health insurance, which is paid for by the individual (some of it is subsidized by the government). My last hospital appointment I did privately and had no gap or excess to pay, as the hospital has gone out of their way to pay that for me, as it saves them money in the long run. I thought it was a good plan.

As for dentist, this is not covered by our health system, although I think there are places that offer free/very cheap dental work - especially those that also do 'teaching' of new dentists. My dental visits are subsidized with my private health insurance, and on my plan the last scale and clean cost me $7 out of pocket.

Thanks for the reply GuidanceReader, it is interesting to learn the situation in Australia.
Here in the UK, if I want to see my local doctor there is no charge for the consultation, all NHS doctors are the same regarding state funding and although there are private doctors, I would never see any reason to pay for one as appointments are relatively easy to get and there are many different practices in my area to choose from. Again though, as I earn above a certain amount, if the doctor prescribes me any medicine then I have to pay a flat fee of 7 to get it from the pharmacy/drug store.

We had a situation a few years ago in the UK where many dentists stopped contracting to the NHS and only accepted private patients or those funded by a private insurance scheme. This has changed since then though with many skilled Eastern European dentists coming over to fill the need. My current dentist is Lithuanian and last year she spent 2 hours re-crafting a canine tooth snapped to the gum with multiple pins screwed in to make it almost as strong as the original. It looks beautiful, and cost me the flat NHS fee of 17, although she would receive more than this from the NHS contract of course.

I have considered buying private medical insurance in the past but having been sewn up and operated on quite a few times over the years with very little waiting time I've never felt the need.
I'm curious though, what about accident and emergency treatment in Australia, is that free at the point of need or can patients face paramedic or surgery bills after being patched up?

Thanks again for the info from your part of the world, if anyone else from anywhere else wishes to share their situation I'm very interested. Do you rely on medical insurance? Is the state system free at point of need or minimal charge? Is the state system not so good so anyone who can afford it buys their own cover? Local doctors, hospitals, emergency treatment and dentists etc, I find this interesting, especially when I hear friends complaining about our system when many millions in the world have no such option if they don't have the money to pay for it.
deanhills
If something like that should happen to me it would probably be partially covered by my medical insurance - like 80% depending on the treatment - and if it is a procedure like the one you described, it would have to be pre-approved first. I'd have to pay the whole fee to the dentist first however, and then submit the claim to my medical insurance for reimbursement. Not all medical insurance in the UAE is the same and not all schemes include coverage for dental. I've got coverage of basic dental treatment only. Crowns, cleaning, etc are not included.
TheGremlyn
My regular dentist appointment probably runs about $175 and they try and make be go every 9 months but I usually end up rescheduling since my life turns itself upside down in that period of time. Usually anything that happens at the hospital hasn't cost me anything as its covered under our health care plan (OHIP and it stands for Ontario Health Insurance). I've probably only been put under anesthetic once at the hospital and I walked out of there and didn't pay for any of it. My regular visits to the Dr don't cost anything either. If I need medication then I have to pay and depending on what it is it could cost a few dollars or a few hundred dollars. I remember I had to get my bottom wisdom teeth out and they were impacted. That cost almost $1300 and I at least had 50% coverage for 2 impacted wisdom teeth. I still had to pay upfront, well my mom did and then the money that came back in the mail I put towards rent.

That's about all I can remember as I haven't had any major problems.
Nick2008
Terrible. I can't afford health insurance and my routine checkup costed $150. None of the American doctors I've ever been to seemed to even care about me or my health, all they care about is their mansions and Mercedes. Simply put, I've stopped going to doctors, they are not worth my money or time.

There's really no way to get around dental cleanings and x-rays, these cost about $200 here.

For me, doctors and hospitals are absolutely the last resort. If you end up in hospital, they'll treat you and then give you a $30,000 medical bill that will screw up your life forever. My father took a hard fall in the bathroom and badly bruised his arm 6 weeks ago and it still hurts really bad, we've refused to go to the doctors because we can't afford it.

I used to live in Canada and I miss their healthcare system so much, it's light years ahead of what we have received here in the U.S. Sad
watersoul
I'm guessing that an injury breaking a tooth or two would be quite expensive for you then Dean?
Out of interest, how much is a typical basic dental/medical insurance plan per month/year?
I know we can't compare our situations as very similar, as I imagine that a foreign national worker pays very little in taxes to the UAE, whereas the tax burden here in the UK is admittedly pretty high.
Still interesting to try a comparison.

UK employee taxes:
20% of every on earnings from 8000 to 35000 per year
40% of every on earnings from 35001 to 150000
50% of every on earnings above 150000

Plus National insurance (just a different name for an income tax)
12% of all weekly earnings between 146 to 817
2% of all weekly earnings above 817

As you can see, pretty high, so although my treatment is generally free and of high standard, it's not really 'free' as the NHS takes up about 10% of total tax money spent here.
watersoul
TheGremlyn wrote:
I remember I had to get my bottom wisdom teeth out and they were impacted. That cost almost $1300 and I at least had 50% coverage for 2 impacted wisdom teeth. I still had to pay upfront
Ouch, both for the mouth and the wallet! I had exactly the same thing a few years ago, I remember the pain afterwards but didn't have to pay anything, well apart from the single rate prescription fee for strong painkillers of 7.

Nick2008 wrote:
For me, doctors and hospitals are absolutely the last resort. If you end up in hospital, they'll treat you and then give you a $30,000 medical bill that will screw up your life forever. My father took a hard fall in the bathroom and badly bruised his arm 6 weeks ago and it still hurts really bad, we've refused to go to the doctors because we can't afford it.
That is such a sad situation to be in Nick, I genuinely feel for you and others suffering the same financial choices.
If I had to pay many thousands for my upcoming hospital surgery, I certanly wouldn't be getting it done in just 4 weeks time and would be looking at how I'd be raising the cash. Your story is exactly the sort of thing I remind my friends when they complained that I shouldn't have to wait a few weeks, some of them forget how lucky they really are.
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