Health System

Health systems around the world were recently brought into the spotlight due to COVID-19. The pandemic showed the strengths and weaknesses of different health systems and demonstrated the importance of efficient health systems in promoting and maintaining the health of a population. The long-term impact of the global outbreak remains to be seen, but it is clear the pandemic revealed flaws in health systems. Changes to funding, organization, and institutions may end up being a positive result of a terrible event.

Country with the highest health expenditure as a percentage of GDP
United States
U.S. national health expenditure
4 trillion U.S. dollars
Country with the largest average annual growth in per capita health spending
South Korea

Health economics

Who spends the most?
Per capita health expenditure in selected countries in 2019 (in U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

The amount a country spends on health care varies depending on its size, the health problems it faces, and the type of health system it has established. The United States spends almost 17 percent of its GDP on health care, which is more than any other country. The United States also spends around 10,600 U.S. dollars per capita on health expenditure, the highest in the world, followed by Switzerland and Norway.

United States health expenditures
UnitedHealth Group
National Health Service finance in the UK

Health policy

Which country is most satisfied with their health system?
Percentage of respondents worldwide who were satisfied with their country's national health system as of 2019, by country
Further details: Visit original statistic

Health systems, much like other social institutions, generally reflect the culture, history, and economics of a country. This is one reason why comparing health systems can be difficult. The countries where people are most satisfied with their health system include Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. Within the United States, the health care system remains an issue of contention and political debate.

Americans without health insurance
Health care in Turkey
U.S patient opinions on the Affordable Care Act

Private health insurance

Private health insurance still dominates in the U.S
Number of persons in the U.S. with private health insurance coverage from 1984 to 2018 (in millions)
Further details: Visit original statistic

Private health insurance plans are those provided by private companies, in contrast to public health insurance plans that are provided by a government. The degree to which private insurance plans are available varies by country. In the United States, private health insurance, usually through an employer, is the most common type of health care coverage, with around 178 million people covered under private health insurance plans.

Private health insurance in the U.S.
Health insurance status of the U.S. population
Leading health insurance companies in the U.S.

Public health programs

The importance of Medicare and Medicaid in the U.S.
Enrollment in the Medicare program from 1966 to 2020, by type of beneficiary (in millions)
Further details: Visit original statistic

Many countries, such as the United Kingdom, have public health insurance plans funded through taxes. These plans often provide universal coverage and help ensure each citizen has access to the health services they need. Although the United States does not have a universal insurance plan, it does have public health plans for low-income families (Medicaid) and the elderly (Medicare). Currently, around 75 million people are enrolled in Medicaid, and 61.3 million people are enrolled in Medicare.

NHS in the United Kingdom

Industry Definition

A health system, or health care system, refers to the organizations, institutions, resources, and people that maintain, promote, and provide health care within a country. Countries fund their health systems in different ways, and most countries use a combination of methods. These methods include general taxation, a national health insurance plan, voluntary or private health insurance, out-of-pocket payments, or donations to charities. Health systems, along with the organizations and markets they encompass, vary widely around the world, which is one reason why international comparisons of health standards can be difficult and complicated.


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