Where in the World is Health Insurance Mandatory?

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Healthcare and insurance varies around the globe. Various countries worldwide provide free public healthcare to their citizens, yet, these systems vary by country. Some countries provide government-run free public healthcare systems funded by tax, like the UK, while others have mixed public-private systems. 

Meanwhile, some countries have non-universal healthcare insurance systems. Such countries require citizens to take out their own private healthcare plans, with some being eligible for subsidised costs, and others being completely uninsured without paying for it. 

 

What Is Private Health Insurance? 

Private health insurance is a form of medical insurance which individuals pay for through private companies. In contrast to national health services, like the NHS which is widely available and used by UK citizens for free, private healthcare comes with costs and policies.

Private health insurance plans will vary depending on the person’s financial and medical needs. For instance, an individual may take out a policy which covers specific treatments, like cancer treatment, to help pay towards the costs. Meanwhile, an individual may simply take out a general policy which covers most basic medical costs, like hospital visits, doctor appointments and prescriptions, in their respective country. 

 

In Which Countries Is Private Health Insurance Mandatory?

In certain countries worldwide, there are different healthcare models and plans available for citizens. In others, universal healthcare does not exist and citizens are expected to pay for their healthcare. Countries where private health insurance is mandatory include:

  • Israel 
  • Liechtenstein 
  • Netherlands
  • Switzerland 

This means that citizens who are on low-incomes will typically have their private health insurance subsidised by their government. However, generally private healthcare in these countries is considered mandatory. 

Meanwhile, there are countries which have no universal healthcare systems. This means that some citizens rely entirely upon private healthcare, others receive subsidised treatments through public healthcare, while others are uninsured completely. This is the case in: 

  • Bangladesh 
  • Burundi 
  • Democratic Republic of Congo 
  • Egypt 
  • Ethiopia 
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Jordan 
  • Kenya 
  • Nigeria
  • Paraguay 
  • UAE 
  • Tanzania 
  • Uganda
  • United States (the only developed country without universal healthcare) 
  • Yemen 

 

Which Countries Have Private-Public Healthcare Systems? 

There are also some countries which rely on private-public healthcare systems. This means that citizens predominantly rely on private healthcare, such as through private hospitals and facilities in their countries. However, those which are ineligible for private healthcare can instead receive medical treatment through government-funded public healthcare. This is applicable in:

  • Algeria
  • Austria
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Cyprus 
  • Germany
  • Mexico 
  • Peru 
  • Turkey 

 

What Is a Government-Funded Health System? 

Several countries worldwide rely solely on government-funded health systems. However, this doesn’t mean these countries don’t also provide private healthcare and insurance for citizens who wish to opt for this. In such countries, governments provide free, universal healthcare to citizens regardless of their income or employment status. 

Countries which rely on these types of medical systems include the UK, Canada, Cuba, Ukraine, Oman and even Australia. As of today, there are currently 34 countries which use such a system for their citizen’s healthcare needs. As these are publicly provided, this means citizens will contribute towards healthcare systems through tax, social security or even charities in some cases. 

 

Which Countries Require Medical Travel Insurance? 

Some countries also require visitors to buy and prove they have medical travel insurance in order to enter the country. This ensures all travellers are covered for any medical needs which may occur during their trip, accidents and other costs. 

Examples of countries which require mandatory medical travel insurance include (but are not exhaustive to): 

  • Cuba
  • Turkey
  • US
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine 
  • Vietnam 

There are many other countries which make visitors buy health insurance either before arriving or when they land in order to enter the country. Some countries nowadays even require medical travel insurance to cover COVID-19 costs. Before you go on your next visit, it is important to check all of the country’s entry requirements, especially in relation to medical costs and COVID-19. 

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