One of the major differences that people tend to point out when it comes to the UK and the USA, is the differences between the two countries’ healthcare. From medical care itself, to the actual healthcare careers and services that each of the countries have in place all differ. The main and well-known difference of course is the fact that in the UK, the National Healthcare Service provides free public healthcare to all UK citizens.

In the USA however, there have been a number of horror stories about private healthcare medical bills for even the smallest and most routine of operations or medication. Here, we’re taking a closer look at the differences between the two, and what you should consider if you’re looking to travel to either of the countries or relocate there.

Travellers & Their Healthcare

If you’re travelling to the USA, then it is important that you have some form of travel insurance that will cover you for any form of healthcare that you may need in an emergency in the country. This is vital, as otherwise you will be left with sky-high bills, and should be purchased as a priority alongside your ESTA Visa. Locals in the country also have to be covered by a form of medical insurance in order to avoid this, and even though they have to pay their insurance bills, this works out to be a much cheaper option in the long run.

In the UK however, if you are a UK citizen (or have dual citizenship with the UK) or you are a citizen of an EU country that accepts the European Health Insurance Card, then you will qualify for free healthcare under the NHS in an emergency. However, it is important that you keep your EHIC on you, and also take out a form of travel insurance just in case the nearest hospital you are transported to is a private hospital.

Average Wait Time

Back in 2012, there was a lot of outcry from the media after it was made obvious that in the UK, just 93.4% of people would be seen within four hours at Accident and Emergency – down from the standard 95% which the NHS was supposed to meet. Nevertheless, this isn’t the end of the world that the media was making it out to be. In comparison, the USA average waiting time is that 95% of patients will be seen within three hours.

While this looks like the USA appears to be further in front of the UK, there is a very small, yet important statistical detail that tends to get overlooked. In the UK, the 93.4% of people are receiving complete treatment within that 4 hour period. In the US however, the waiting time of 3 hours is just to see a doctor – that doesn’t include treatment being administered.

The UK Will Discourage Patients

Because of the strain on the UK healthcare system, the NHS often post up a huge range of posters in order to actively discourage patients with very minor ailments that can be treated at home from wasting time at the surgery or accident and emergency. In the US, this is very rare, but this is because everybody will be paying for their own treatment and resources are not quite as strained.

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