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How Do US Health Costs Compare to Costs in Other Countries?

A lot of the national conversations about high medical care prices involve how the U.S. medical system stacks up against global alternatives. Does the U.S. really have significantly higher health care costs than other countries? These statistics released in 2019 by the International Federation of Health Plans and the Health Care Cost Institute help answer that question. Find the full report here.

Medical Costs in the U.S. Are Higher Than Abroad

“The median prices paid by private insurance for health care services in the United States was almost always higher than the median prices in eight other countries.”

In examining 14 common medical costs in eight countries, only one expense in one country was higher than the U.S. cost: single-visit cataract surgery in New Zealand, which costs 24% more. The 13 other median medical costs were higher in the U.S. than in any other country in the study, including angioplasty, CT abdomen scans, and MRIs.

This chart shows the significant gap between medical costs in the U.S. versus abroad for angioplasty:

Medications Cost More in the U.S. Than Abroad

“Drugs for most countries were less than half the US price”

Median U.S. prices for medication were higher than overseas costs in 87 out of 88 cases across eight countries.

The only competition came from the UAE, which surpassed the U.S. in median price for the cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco. In Holland, the medication costs 66% of what it does in the U.S.

Studied medications included both administered and prescription treatments for cancer, arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and hepatitis among other diagnoses.

Navigating the High Cost of U.S. Health Care

Some of us learn about the high cost of U.S. health care through articles like this one. But many of us learn the hard way: personally receiving a massive medical bill.

If you are one of the millions of Americans struggling with the financial burden of a medical crisis, you are not alone. Work with Help Hope Live to activate your community and uncover one-on-one support for your medical fundraising needs.

Make A Difference

Our nonprofit shouldn’t exist, but as medical costs continue to skyrocket, we have to.

If you don’t need help with your medical costs right now, consider following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram to help spread the word about the work that we do. You can also make a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit at any time or start a Facebook Fundraiser to support our mission.

Written by Emily Progin