When comparing the healthcare systems and healthcare logistics companies of the United Kingdom with the United States, it may be stated that they are on opposing ends of the spectrum. As a Brit living in America, I’ll provide my impressions of the benefits and drawbacks of each system based on my own experience.
For those unfamiliar with the United Kingdom’s system, it is nationalized and provides universal coverage to all citizens, regardless of social position or money. The NHS (National Health Service) is funded entirely by general income tax. Every citizen or resident of the United Kingdom pays a contribution to the NHS, which amounts to around 20% of total taxes but fluctuates based on income level.
Differences Between the Healthcare Systems in the United Kingdom and the United States
In compared to the UK, the healthcare system in the United States appeared (and still looks) extraordinarily complicated when I arrived here little over six years ago. I was fortunate in that my healthcare was covered by an employer through private providers for the most of my stay in the United States. What I find most perplexing about the system is that each carrier provides a diverse range of plans and coverage. Different plans provide varying amounts of coverage, so you may still have to pay out of pocket for some treatments, such as specialists.
Even seemingly basic treatments, such as a simple doctor’s appointment or bloodwork, may need an additional charge or co-payment. Before I moved to the United States, I had never heard of a co-payment and had no idea what it was.
Another disadvantage of the US healthcare system that I personally encountered was that if you are without job for a length of time, you usually lose your health coverage either immediately or very fast after returning to work. Despite the fact that solutions exist, they might be exceedingly pricey. If you have a choice of jobs, the private healthcare options accessible to you may influence where you choose to work. It is not uncommon in the United States for someone to select a job not because it is the one they enjoy most, but because it provides better health care.
In the UK, this would be extremely unusual because healthcare is not normally supplied or covered as a bonus by an employer, therefore it is not usually a factor when deciding where to work. In the United Kingdom, almost everything is covered, with the exception of some prescription fees, which must occasionally be paid out of pocket.
In the United States, you must pay close attention to and fully comprehend the health plan you choose. Just though cutting-edge services are available in the United States doesn’t guarantee you can utilize them. Every health plan does not provide the same degree of coverage or access to care.
Another peculiar feature of the US system is that you can alter your insurance coverage just once a year and for a limited period of time. Depending on your position, this election or enrollment time may be both beneficial and detrimental. On the one hand, you may tailor your coverage to your personal needs each year. On the other hand, if you misunderstood or selected the incorrect coverage, you’ll have to wait a year to change it.
The benefit of living in the United Kingdom is that everyone has access to the same level of healthcare. Unemployed people get the same basic coverage as people who work full-time. This was proved recently when Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, was hospitalized with COVID-19 and got the same amount of treatment as any other tax-paying UK resident. The President of the United States is unlikely to obtain the same level of healthcare as the typical American worker.