For all international students studying in the United States, the U.S. health care system can seem impossibly complicated and confusing. That’s because the U.S. health care system is impossibly complicated and confusing; most U.S. citizens don’t even fully understand it. The following is a quick guide to help you better understand the U.S. health care system so that you can be fully prepared for your stay in the United States.
Quality of Health Care in the U.S. and The Netherlands
The United States boasts some of the best experts and clinics in the world. If you are sick or injured during your studies in the U.S. and are treated in a U.S. hospital, you can be sure that you are receiving some of the best care in the world.
The U.S. spends far more on health care than most countries; in 2009, the U.S. spent 17.4% of GDP on health, far more than “the rich country average of 9.6% (OECD). As a reference, the second highest spending country was the Netherlands with 12% of its national wealth.
Assessed life expectancy
Despite this, 40 countries, including nations such as Chile, have higher life expectancies than the United States, which ranked 37th in a recognized World Organization ranking of health care systems in 2000.
Health Care Conclusion
A possible explanation for this may be simply that health care does not affect health and longevity as much as public health and lifestyle measures. Still, on issues such as vaccines, the U.S. strictly exercises health protection.
Another possible explanation is the absence of an organized nationalized health care system in the U.S. Such systems can be inexpensive for many reasons: supplies can be purchased in bulk; excessive prescriptions can be controlled; unnecessary medical interventions can be limited.
The Value of Health Insurance
As long as you have health insurance, this should not affect you as an international student in the U.S. With health insurance, you are entitled to high quality care provided by the U.S. health care system. However, without valid health insurance, you may find that quality health care is not at all affordable to you and you may need to pay colossal medical fees if you become ill or injured.
Health Insurance in the U.S. and The Netherlands
Health care in the U.S. is provided by hospitals and private clinics. Most U.S. citizens have health insurance, which is usually provided by the individual’s employer and extends to his or her immediate family. Some insurance plans are provided by federal and state governments, labor unions, or private individuals. Because health care costs have increased in recent years, employers have increasingly asked their employees to contribute. About half of all Americans with private health insurance are covered by insurance they purchased themselves, and each of these plans has its own plan design.