To those in countries that have universal healthcare

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by glocke12, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    Jan 7, 2008
    #1
    Can someone from a country that HAS nationalized healthcare please post here and tell what things are like in terms of:

    Copays. Do they exist? If so how much are they?

    waiting for appt. procedures etc..(how much time elapses from time you call for an appt. and the time you are seen ? for me it is within 24 hours.

    availability of prescriptions: Any problems getting anything filled?

    Can you see the doctor you WANT to see, or do you see the doctor they TELL you to see?

    Is the same level of coverage available to everyone? Or can those with the means to do so purchase a package that offers a better level of service?


    People from the U.S., please dont respond, we dont have universal healthcare, and I am looking for answers to those questions from people in countries that have it. Everyone else, please answer the questions with minimal rhetoric and commentary, and above all LETS BE NICE>>>:D
     
  2. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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    Oct 13, 2007
    #2
    Copays: EDIT (after reading glocke's definition of it and not the translation I found ;) ): Insurance usually covers 100%. If not, you have to pay for it yourself.

    waiting for appt. procedures: Strongly depends on the doctor. From right away in a case of emergency to 2 or 3 weeks if it's just a routine check.

    availability of prescriptions: If you need some kind of medication - you get it. Unless it's not paid for by the insurance (only things you don't *really* need - like the Pill).

    Can you see the doctor you WANT to see, or do you see the doctor they TELL you to see: You can pick the doctor you want. There are also some doctors who don't contract with the social insurances and you have to pay for those yourself (usually, those are more experienced) and can afford not having so many patients.

    Is the same level of coverage available to everyone? Or can those with the means to do so purchase a package that offers a better level of service: Yes, if you have enough money, you can get a private insurance and go see "better" doctors and get appointments faster.
     
  3. djellison macrumors 68020

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    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #3
    not sure what you mean there



    If I need to see my GP, I can phone at 8am and be seen that morning.

    Never actually had to have one written out - but my other half has never had any trouble with them.

    Usually the one I want to if he's in that day.

    One could pay and go private. I've found the NHS to be superb, however. My job means I work with doctors quite regularly - and spending time 'behind the scenes' just makes me more proud of it.
     
  4. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

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    #4
    Sorry, what is a copay?

    Quite often you can see a doctor that you want - for an appointment, but not if you are on a ward.

    Waiting times vary wildly with where you live and what treatment you need. For a simple consult it is usually the next day or two where i am. Other than that, i've had relatives who have had quite rapid treatment, although again the local hospital is very good.

    No problems with prescriptions where i am, although i haven't had much experience myself.

    The NHS seems to vary depending on where you live - in terms of general care and specialized care - some places are better than others, simply. You can go private completely, but not a cross between the two (yet, its bound to come soon.) If you choose to pay for a part of the service privately, then it has to be in its entirety, you can't have some treatment done private and some not for example.

    The whole system seems to be slipping towards a privatized system, something which i personally am against. Doctors are starting to get performance related pay, and businesses can now take over GPs surgeries (i think the american equivalent is a clinic?) and run it for the government.

    If you have any more questions, i'd be glad to answer them.
     
  5. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #5
    A copay is a small fee that is paid to the doctors that covers what the insurance does not cover.

    For example: If insurance covers 80% of a doctors vist, and the doctors vist is $100.00, the insurance company pays $80.00, and I pay $20.00.

    That probably is not the techncial definition of a copay, but that is how it works in the real world.

    Other question I have:

    Does your form of healthcare cover dentists, orthrodontists, etc?


    Any doctors on this board from countries that have universal healthcare? What are your thoughts on it?
     
  6. ergdegdeg Moderator emeritus

    ergdegdeg

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    #6
    Dentists are fully covered (except you want more expensive fillings and anesthetization). Orthodontist you have to pay for yourself (I'm not sure if it's paid for if it's really severe but probably yes).
     
  7. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

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    #7
    Here dentists are mostly paid for, except for specialist appointments i think?
    Orthodontists are on the NHS if the treatment starts before you are 17. Things like breakages or replacements cost money however.
     
  8. djellison macrumors 68020

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    Pasadena CA
    #8

    Ahhh - well - no. It's free to everyone.
     
  9. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #9
    Only on dentistry, since Mr. Brown decided to change the contracts of NHS dentists in such a way most of them went private.
    Our local health trust has drop-in centres. You turn up and will normally see a doctor within an hour. If you want to go to your own GP it's more difficult to get an appointment, but still you ought to be seen within three days.
    No. The doctors and senior nurses at the drop in centres are both able to write prescriptions.
    See above.
    Same level to everyone except when it comes to seeing consultants. You can jump the appointment queue for specialists by paying. Some people also go completely private.
     
  10. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #10
    Australia.

    Nothing.

    I book an appt with my GP the same day that I want to see him. Alternatively I can rock up to a medical centre and been seen within an hour.

    Never. You just take it to a chemist and it's filled.

    Yes you can see the doctor you want. I have a great GP that I've been going to for years.

    This is the idea of the system.

    Yes you can purchase a better package if you want (i.e. go private). If you're in need of elective surgery you get in more more quickly in the private. It's not really required but there are private hospitals with more attractive surroundings. They usually employ the same doctors and just use the public surgeons/operating theatres. At a certain level of income there is a tax benefit for taking out private cover.
     
  11. Ntombi macrumors 68030

    Ntombi

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    #11
    The most telling thing from this thread so far? None of them had a clue what a copay is.

    I wish I could insert a jocular smiley there, but it's not in me right now... :(


    BTW, I saw a fantastic documentary on PBS several months ago that compared the universal healthcare systems of the world. It looked at the pros and cons of each system, talked about how each came into being, and how it would or would not work in the US. I was infinitely more informed and depressed at the end of those two hours.
     
  12. JG271 macrumors 6502a

    JG271

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    #12
    Similarly, i saw a short program about a charity that flew out to remote areas to give people healthcare and dentistry that they couldn't afford. I was so amazed when they talked about health insurance, and how people spend $1000 a month on it, and how easily people are left behind by the entire system.

    It made me appreciate universal healthcare a lot more... and realize I'm lucky to have it.
     
  13. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    Birmingham, England
    #13
    I can only echo what those from the UK have said.

    Last time I was ill (ear infection) I saw my doctor the same day I called. I had to pay for my prescription (around £7 no matter how may tablets were on the prescription). Thank fully I've never had to have surgery. However I can tell the story of a friend who needed major heart surgery. It didn't cost him a penny. We pay for our health care through taxes and national insurance payment. Our NHS may not be perfect but I never have to worry if I can afford to see the doctor or if I need an operation. and of course I don't have to worry if I'm covered for a pre-existing condition if I change job.

    When my dad had throat cancer and needed major surgery and a huge amount of medication it cost him around £120 for a year for all the drugs needed and again the surgery did not cost him anything.

    As I said it's not perfect here but on the whole it is pretty outstanding.

    Oh and as for the same level for everyone. I have a friend who was a visitor to the uk on a temporary working visa. he came down with septicemia, he was worried about getting treatment as he thought he would have to pay for it, but as he had paid tax and NI he was FULLY covered. so yes it is pretty much the same for everyone.
     
  14. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    Madison, Alabama
    #14
    It's interesting to me is that some people (those who can afford it?) choose to pay for private insurance so that they can get better care. Also JG271's observation that the system seems to be becoming more privatized in various ways.
     
  15. nick9191 macrumors 68040

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    Location:
    Britain
    #15
    UK, all free, same care for everyone, see doctor of your choice same day or more likely a couple of days if not very important.

    People can go private and pay insurance, however you still have to pay the same tax.

    My dad had a big knee operation. He did have to wait a couple of months however it got progressively worse so the doctor managed to push him forward. They did a good job, he didn't catch MRSA, and he's fine.
     
  16. geese macrumors 6502a

    geese

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    London, UK
    #16
    +1 with the other UKers here.

    I've moved quite a bit in the UK- never had a problem getting a doctor within 20 min walking distance, never had any complaints with doctors, and I've used NHS drop-in centres twice in a semi-emergency.

    Once was on St Patrick's night in a hospital near Crouch End, London. Lots of cheery drunk people, including one family who'd looked had a punch-up but had all made up and were having a giggle about it. I had to wait a couple of hours to get a small injury treated, but you cant complain, really.

    NHS Direct is a great service- a lo-call number you can call to get medical advice if you're unsure if you need medical attention. NHS dentistry is a bit of an arse though.

    I dont know why anyone would want to be forced to pay medical insurance though- I dont know how a large nation such as the USA can be hoodwinked into believing that their current system is better then some form of Universal Healthcare. Private Healthcare is great if you can afford it, but why should you be forced into it? If I had to do that, I couldn't fund my compulsive bike-buying/music habit.
     
  17. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #17
    In Australia you don't really get better care with private health insurance. It usually gives you the same level of care - you're largely treated by the same surgeons in the same operating theatres but have nicer wards (i.e. private rooms). Medically this really doesn't add up to better care.

    What it allows however, is for more timely care. For example getting your gall-bladder out (non-emergency) is something you can jump on a list to do in the public system for free. It may take six months (usually less) and in that time you have to refrain from eating overly fatty foods (no cheesecake). However you could do it under the private system in a month or so and be back on the fatty food wagon immediately. Private insurance also covers things that the public system doesn't like cosmetic orthodontic treatment, gym memberships, sport shoes, etc etc. It's an adjunct to the public system here, and having private care by no means excludes you from using the public system if you desire. For some things the public system is far better (i.e. emergency and intensive care) and for some things the private is better (i.e. elective surgery).
     
  18. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #18
    A curious choice of metaphor, to be sure.
     
  19. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #19
    Thanks for this information, that makes it a bit more clear. I was having trouble making the leap from "Universal health care is great and everyone receives exactly the same level of care!" to "... but some people choose to pay for private insurance." (i.e. why would you pay extra if there wasn't in fact some difference?)

    A related question: In the U.S., for a number of professions, it's expected that your employment benefits will include partial or complete payment of (private) health insurance costs. If I were a senior-level software developer (or some other professional) looking for a job in a country like Australia or the U.K., would employers typically offer private insurance as part of their benefits package or is that not even considered since you have universal coverage?
     
  20. Queso macrumors G4

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    #20
    Most "professional" firms in the UK offer flexible benefits packages. You can choose private health insurance if you want it, have larger pension contributions, or just trade it in for more days holiday. It's up to you.
     
  21. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #21
    Nope. But if you don't have your provincial health card, a visit will cost you $20 (you can return with your health card within 21ish days for a refund).

    I have two family doctors, when I visit them my appointment is usually within 30 minutes of the scheduled time. Most of the time I go to a walk in clinic though, where I wait, well, 30 minutes.

    Two years ago I went to the doctor complaining about a heart palpitation. I got an EKG one hour later. I've also gotten chest x-rays, arm x-rays, and ultrasounds within 24 hours (usually at my convenience) for non-serious concerns within the past two years.

    I have simply never had to wait an unreasonable amount of time for any procedure, and I was in and out of the hospital many times as a youth.

    I have only ever had one prescription I couldn't fill at the local pharmacy. I had to go about three subway stops to get that one filled.

    If I go to see my family doctor(s), then I get to see my family doctor(s). If I go to the clinic, I just go for when my preferred doctor is working (I have his schedule), and I get to see him. I've never had a problem with seeing someone I didn't want to see, or being told I couldn't see who I wanted to see. The only time I've had a different doctor fill in for the one I went to see I was notified via telephone 24 hours beforehand, but I can't tell you if that's standard procedure or just the way my family doctor runs his practice.

    Single tier system, everyone gets the same level of care (without branching into homeopathy, dentistry or cosmetic).
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #22
    I'm from the Province of Ontario (Canada), and I've never paid for anything, nor have I ever seen a bill. :) I just show them my Health Card (looks like a driver's licence), and I sit down and wait for the doctor to call me to his office. That's it.


    I've never had surgery, but the wait times are long. I don't know how long they are for each treatment (obviously), but it'll depend on what you need. You need to wait a bit for MRIs and such, but the wait times depend on where you live, and the hospitals near your home. I think CT scans can be done rather quickly, but MRIs take a while. Necessary surgery also has a long waiting list, but I guess if the procedure is life-saving, it gets rushed, while procedures that aren't as urgent are at the back of the line (maybe a 6 month wait?)
     
  23. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

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    #23
    I'm in England, we've got the "NHS". It's not bad but it's not great. I still largely prefer it over the way the healthcare system in the US is operated. (I am an american, for the record. I've been in the UK for just over 2 years.)

    No co-pays for anything medical but there is in Dentistry, which is mostly private now. (thanks Brown, you numpty!)

    If it's an outright emergency my GP will fit me in the same day but usually I have to wait a couple days for an appointment.

    If you need referrals to specialists or diagnostic tests within the NHS there can sometimes be a considerable wait if it is not deemed life-threatening.

    No problems or restrictions that I know of. They all cost £6.85 (IIRC) and birth control is free for us girlies.

    You need to find a local GP according to where you live so your options are often limited. Referrals to whom you see within the NHS are also limited to the GP's prescribing area. Personally I have private insurance through my husband's work so I can see any specialist I please without hassle or waiting, but even with private you do need to stick with your own GP for those referrals..

    The NHS is the NHS and if you want more you can supplement that with private insurance.
     
  24. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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    UK
    #24
    I've a fair amount of experience with the NHS and I'm very glad that it's there. It's not perfect but when it comes down to it I don't worry about my health as I know that I'll be taken care of.

    That said I was referred for surgery last december and it was all held up due to incompetence at various levels, though it's not time critical surgery so it doesn't matter so much. It's all resolved now mind, but I still have to wait a few months more.
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #25
    Interesting read.

     

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