How Do the Different Types of Healthcare Systems Compare?

Healthcare reform in the United States has been a talking point for decades, particularly as hospital and prescription drug expenses increase. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation regarding single payer health care, universal healthcare and socialized healthcare, and oftentimes, these terms are used interchangeably in spite of the fact that they have some major differences. Understanding what each system is and just as importantly, what each system is not, is important for keeping up with the ongoing debate.

Single Payer Health Insurance

With a single payer system, there is one entity that collects all healthcare fees and pays for all healthcare costs. Rather than multiple competing health insurance companies, there is one public or quasi-public agency that finances healthcare for everyone in the system. Essentially, everyone would have the same health insurance plan from the same health insurance company. In countries with single payer health insurance, citizens have access to all necessary medical care, including vision care, dental care, doctors and prescription drugs and are able to choose where to receive care. This system is similar to our current Medicare system.

The primary benefit of single payer health insurance is that it is associated with significantly fewer administrative costs. Because fewer entities are involved, overall expenses and wasteful spending are easier to control.

Currently, there are 17 countries with single payer health insurance, including Japan, the United Kingdom, Finland, Spain and Iceland.

Universal Healthcare

As its name suggests, universal healthcare coverage is a system in which every individual has healthcare coverage. Oftentimes, though not always, universal healthcare and single payer health insurance go hand-in-hand. To date, more than 30 countries have universal healthcare, including Canada, which also has a single payer system, and Germany and Japan, which do not have single payer health insurance.

In most cases, countries with universal healthcare only extend healthcare to citizens. In Canada, for example, undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive coverage.

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Socialized Medicine

While socialized medicine tends to be used as a blanket statement for single payer health insurance and universal healthcare, it actually takes both models a step further. With socialized medicine, the government owns the technology, operates the hospitals and employs the medical staff. This is the system in place in Great Britain. In the United States, the Veterans Administration is an example of socialized medicine.

By contrast, with a single payer health insurance model, the hospitals are privately funded and the doctors are not employed by the government.

Finding Health Insurance Coverage Today with Nevada Insurance Enrollment

As the cost of healthcare in the United States climbs and the debate surrounding different models marches on, we may continue to see changes to our current system. If you need help navigating the current system and understanding what type of healthcare coverage is available to you, Nevada Insurance Enrollment is here to help. Contact one of our experienced health insurance agents today to find a health insurance plan that fits your needs, budget and lifestyle.

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