Medicine and Healthcare in the USA

Medicine and Healthcare in the USA

The United States is the world leader in healthcare spending, medical research performance, privacy and patient respect, timely care and patient satisfaction. Every year, hundreds of foreigners come to American clinics for treatment.


Insurance usually covers the cost of most drugs, in particular antibiotics that are available only with a doctor’s prescription. Many pain relievers, antipyretics, allergy medications, rhinitis drops, and other medications are available over the counter.

Medicines in the states are expensive. For comparison, the annual supply of medicines in the United States costs more than $1,000, in neighboring Canada – about $100. Moreover, in most cases, it is prohibited to import medicines for personal use in the United States.

The most famous pharmacy chains are Walgreens, Rite Aid and Bm Pharmacy. Here you can buy affordable drugs for various conditions. Medicines are sold not only in pharmacies but also in supermarkets.

Medical insurance

There is no compulsory health insurance in the United States. Medical expenses are borne by each individual person. Most Americans have insurance. Many get it from employers, some buy it on their own or use government programs.

Medicaid is available for low-income citizens and Medicare for people over 65. There are three types of insurance for the rest of the population – for individuals, for large and small (from 2 to 50 people) enterprises.

The minimum cost of insurance for one person is $300 per month. There is a fine for not having insurance – $94 per person per year.

One of the insurance options for individuals is the High Deductible Health Plan. It is designed for those who can afford to pay significant sums each year but want to protect themselves from the devastating costs of serious illness. The cost of this insurance is about $ 70 per month. The employer pays about $200 more for insurance a month and also gives the worker $500 a year in medical expenses. In addition, there is a special account (Health Saving Account), where you can save $3,100 per year before taxes. This reduces the tax base and the final tax amount.

The insurance does not cover everything but only a limited list of medical services. It does not include the services of a dentist, ophthalmologist, pediatrician and psychiatrist and many other specialists.

Non-residents cannot purchase insurance available to US citizens and residents. It is not necessary to buy an insurance to enter the country, but many people prefer to do this since medical services in the United States are expensive. Foreigners can buy visitor health insurance, which covers accidents and treatment for certain illnesses that occur during their stay in the country.

Hospitals and medical services

In the United States, there are both public (about 20%) and private hospitals.

In a hospital, a patient does not need to deposit money immediately. Doctors send the bill after the appointment.

A visit to a doctor with insurance costs $20-25 (this amount is paid by the patient, about $130 more is paid by the insurance company). Uninsured patients pay more – about $150 per visit (for example, with a therapist) and get to the doctor later than others; they have to wait a long time for help in the corridors of the hospital.

A day in the emergency room with a full examination (tests, ECG, MRI, etc.) costs $250 for insurers and about $670 for non-insured. In addition, you have to pay $130 for a doctor’s work.

A general blood test costs $80–150, an x-ray – $200–300 (without insurance). The operation to remove the appendix costs 30 thousand dollars (with insurance – at least 3 thousand). The cost of a filling is about $300. Given the high costs of dental services, in Los Angeles, it is considered normal to go to Mexico or Cuba for dental treatment. Childbirth for foreigners costs 20-30 thousand dollars. Services of a family doctor cost about $20 per hour.

Emergency help

The 911 number is used to call an ambulance. As a rule, doctors arrive quickly – within a few minutes after the call.

In Washington, the average cost of making a home call and a trip to the hospital ranges from $400 to $700, in Chicago – from $900, in New York – up to $1,290 (plus $12 each) for every mile).

Medical tourism

Most often, patients come to the United States for the treatment of oncological and gynecological diseases, organ transplants, and orthopedic operations.

Foreigners often choose the United States for childbirth, because when a child is born in the country, the infant automatically receives American citizenship, and the parents can subsequently receive a residence permit.

Category: General Information

Tags: diseases, health insurance, healthcare, insurance, medicine