Healthcare Costs By Country [2023 Latest Statistics]

Updated On: 08/29/2023 is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

As I deeply dive into the complex world of healthcare, one of the most striking revelations is the vast difference in healthcare costs by country. If you've always questioned why medical bills weigh so heavily on your pocketbook, I promise you're not alone.

This question has sparked countless debates and conversations, as it's evident that not all countries feel this burden equally.

To help make sense of this puzzling issue, I've embarked on a journey to unearth what lies beneath these staggering differences.

The aim is simple - with a clearer understanding of the landscape, I hope to shed light on what fuels these cost disparities and where exactly countries like the United States fall on the spectrum compared to others.

Trust me when I tell you – you will find this report incredibly insightful! Rest assured that every bit of information shared here is backed by extensive research and reliable statistics.

What Country Has the Highest Healthcare Costs?

What Country Has the Highest Healthcare Costs?

When we analyze global healthcare fees, it's indisputable that the United States takes the lead, spending approximately $12,555 per person each year. This is almost 1.5 times that of its immediate competitors - Switzerland and Norway - which maintain a two to three times higher healthcare cost rate than most developed nations.

These figures call attention to the multifaceted nature of U.S. healthcare expenses, significantly influenced by drug costs, facility set-up fees, administrative overhead, specialists' wages, insurance costs, etc.

These factors contribute to higher spending than countries like Australia or Sweden, which have more regulated healthcare systems. Reflecting on these statistics raises essential questions about affordability and efficiency in the country's healthcare industry.

Healthcare Costs by Country (2021-2022)

How Does the U.S. Stack Up in Per Capita Spending?

When we shift our lens to per capita healthcare spending, the United States still sits atop the ladder, dwarfing other economically advanced nations.

The U.S., with an expenditure of approximately $12,197 per person yearly, substantially outpaces countries like Sweden or Germany, which spend around $6,000 - $8,000 per individual.

Also Read: Average Wedding Costs By State [2023 Latest Statistics]

How much money is spent on healthcare worldwide?

Approximately US $9 trillion is spent on healthcare, roughly 11% of the global GDP. This figure outlines the costs associated with health services, such as medical appointments, hospital stays, medications, and other related health expenses.

Several countries contribute heavily, with countries like the United States and Switzerland leading the charge in per-capita healthcare costs.

Factors affecting these numbers include population aging, living standards, the cost of medical technology, and healthcare service prices.

The ongoing goal of many nations is to effectively manage and potentially reduce these costs while still providing quality healthcare services to their populace.

The healthcare expenditure in the U.S. is three to four times greater than in South Korea and Japan.

The healthcare expenditure per capita in the United States is significantly higher compared to South Korea and Japan. In 2019, the U.S. spent approximately $10,857 per person on healthcare, as stated by OECD data.

This expenditure is about three to four times more than in South Korea and Japan, where the healthcare spending in the same period was $3,291 and $4,611 per person, respectively.

List of 10 Countries With The Highest Health Care Costs In 2022

Let's start by unwrapping the figures. Here's a list of ten nations recognized for their exorbitant healthcare costs, with all values presented as U.S. dollars:

CountryCost (USD)
United States12,555

As evident from the figures above, one fact stands out like a sore thumb - the United States tops this list significantly. The US healthcare spending per capita is noticeably high and exceeds other affluent countries.

Now, let's break down these facts to provide some context.

The United States ($12,555)

Healthcare in the United States is notorious for its skyrocketing costs. It's a private-sector-dominated industry where competition drives prices instead of pulling them down.

The combination of new medical technology adoption and the expensive cost of health insurance places America at the top of global healthcare spending.

Switzerland ($8,049)

Switzerland follows behind with healthcare spending, accounting for approximately a quarter of its GDP – one of the highest proportions in Europe.

The country operates on a mandatory health insurance system which guarantees access to a wide range of services from any insurer.

Germany ($8,011)

The German healthcare system prides itself on its universality despite this admirable goal and achievement. However - high-quality medical care comes at a considerable cost due to Germany's aging population and extensive coverage provided by mandatory statutory health insurance.

These are just three examples from our list that barely scratch at what lies beneath these soaring expenses while also touching on how unique each country's health system is.

When viewing this situation through different lenses - societal norms or government regulations - one thing remains clear: health care expenditure isn’t more than just numbers on a page and should not be viewed independently from overall economic considerations.

FAQs about Healthcare Costs by Country

Why Are U.S. Healthcare Costs the Highest in the World?

High prices of medical services, drugs, and healthcare administration contribute to the U.S.'s elevated healthcare costs.

What Country Has the Lowest Healthcare Costs?

Developing countries like Turkey and Thailand tend to have lower healthcare costs due to lower labor costs and government subsidies.

Does a Higher Healthcare Cost Indicate Better Quality of Care?

Not necessarily. Countries like France and Germany spend less per capita but often score higher in healthcare quality and access than the U.S.

How Do Single-Payer Systems Affect Healthcare Costs?

Countries with single-payer systems, like Canada and the UK, often have lower healthcare costs due to government-negotiated service fees.


While healthcare costs vary widely among countries, higher expenses do not necessarily equate to better quality care.

It becomes critical, then, for countries like the United States to closely examine and possibly learn from the strategies implemented by countries that have managed to strike a delicate balance between affordability and quality healthcare.

As we continue exploring this topic, we should focus on learning more about procedures and practices that could help reduce costs without compromising healthcare quality.

What's certain is that constructive dialogue continues to be necessary to make global healthcare affordable and accessible for all.

Michael Restiano

I lead product content strategy for SaltMoney. Additionally, I’m helping our broader team of 4 evolve into a mature content strategy practice with the right documentation and processes to deliver quality work. Prior to Instacart, I was a content strategy lead at Uber Eats and Facebook. Before that, I was a content strategist at SapientNitro, helping major Fortune 500 brands create better, more useful digital content.