How much more expensive is the U.S. healthcare system compared to other developed countries? There are many ways of approaching that question, but when comparing per-capita healthcare spending in different OECD nations, the answer is: a lot more expensive. As our chart illustrates, U.S. per-capita healthcare spending (including public and private as well as compulsory and voluntary spending) is higher than anywhere else in the world, with second-placed Germany trailing quite far behind.
On average, healthcare costs in the U.S. amounted up to $12,318 per person in 2021. In Germany that number stood at $7,383 - 40 percent lower. Yet, the U.S. lags behind other nations in several aspects such as life expectancy and health insurance coverage.
High costs for healthcare are the norm in German-speaking countries, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries. Costs are a bit lower - aroud $5,000 per capita, in France, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Japan. Among developed nations, per-capita health care costs were the lowest in Eastern Europe.
During the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare costs started to rise more steeply in OECD countries. The chart therefore includes only 2021 numbers for better comparability.