Mar 07 2019

Healthcare Bang-for-Your-Buck

I found the health-efficiency index cited in Bloomberg’s article, “These Are the Economies With the Most (and Least) Efficient Health Care,” to be one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen in the last several years regarding healthcare in America versus the rest of the world.

Put simply, it’s a survey which measures bang-for-the-buck, and in it, the U.S. comes in a shockingly low 54th, tying for next to last with Bulgaria coming in last. The survey looks at the cost of healthcare and lifespan as compared to 55 other countries. Even though the lifespan in the USA is approximately 78.7, 25 other countries have greater longevity for much less cost. What’s important in this survey is to look at the cost in the U.S. relative to other countries.

For example, Costa Rica comes in at 25th on the list, with a lifespan of 79.8 years, more than a full year longer than the U.S.A., but costs almost 90% less than in the U.S.A. So in essence, the people of Costa Rica are getting a lot of bang-for-the-buck.

What really makes it all the more interesting is that, relative to the U.S.A., Costa Rica is a poor country, with a GDP of approximately $10,300 per capita (2016), compared to $59,500 for the U.S.A. (2017). Costa Rica was the highest rated Latin American country on the list. At Retire for Less in Costa Rica, we’ve had people swear up and down, inside and out, that the U.S. has the best healthcare in the world and nothing else compares. I’m not here to say that Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, or Spain has great or superior healthcare than the U.S.A., but on a bang-for-the-buck basis, the stats don’t lie. But you be the judge. Of course, this is taking into account the general population. If you’ve got a lot of money, you can probably get good healthcare anywhere.

Please take a hard look at this most interesting survey and let us know what you think. You can read Gloria’s summary of the article, as well as the original Bloomberg article, at the links below.

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