Essay Sample on Comparison Between U.S. and Switzerland's Healthcare Systems

Published: 2023-01-22
Essay Sample on Comparison Between U.S. and Switzerland's Healthcare Systems
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  United States Healthcare World
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1521 words
13 min read


The healthcare system of the USA and Switzerland are different in various ways. The UAS;'s healthcare is known to employ nonstandard format because of the many states and different policies that govern each state. However, the healthcare system of Switzerland is uniform in that it provides healthcare that is focused on the needs of patients, and also it is universal. The healthcare system of Switzerland does not have intermediaries. It, therefore, shows that the two countries have dissimilar and unalike methods of delivering healthcare to its citizens. The healthcare system of the USA and Switzerland has various similarities and differences.

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Children, the Unemployed and the Retired

The USA tends towards introducing healthcare reforms which interfere with how children, the unemployed, and the retirees access healthcare. However, there is the affordable care act which provides approximately 5 billion to address the healthcare needs of the retired through their employers. The act also covers their partners and children. The out-of-pocket payments depend on the premiums and the copayment rates the plan is chosen by individuals, which also determine the out-of-pocket costs as well, and the price of medicines. The cost also depends on whether there is a generic form of the drug. Children from low-income families are covered in re4gards to receiving generic prescriptions. Medicaid caters for the needs of adults from low-income families, including women, children, and those with a lifelong disease. Medicare is accessible to people who have reached the retirement age. The individuals covered by these programs receive low-cost drugs, and sometimes they receive medicines for free. Those who are unemployed can get affordable insurance plans in the market based on their income.

Further, they may also be covered under Medicaid or Medicare if they are qualified for them. Further, some states offer low cost or free healthcare in certain hospitals. CHIP or Medicaid can cover children of people who are unemployed (Papanicolas, Woskie, & Jha, 2018). On the other hand, Swiss law indicates that every worker has a retirement fund that is determined by their contributions to a pension plan. The unemployed are safeguarded by tax-free personal savings. Further, the compulsory universal cover spreads the cost burden over time, whereby the young and the employed are required to subsidize the senior citizens, children, and the unemployed. It, therefore, provides basic health insurance that guarantees every person living in Switzerland affordable access to proper medical care. Insurers can provide basic insurance to every individual regardless of their age, income, or medical condition. Switzerland provides better healthcare to children, unemployed, and retirees due to having funds that citizens save while working. Further, Swiss citizens receive a higher amount in salaries through pension plans compared to Americans (De, Camenzind, Sturny, Crivelli, Edwards-Garavoglia, Spranger, & Quentin, 2015).

Medical Coverage between the U.S. and Switzerland

In Switzerland, every individual purchase his/ her health insurance. Switzerland has a universal healthcare system which mandates people to buy insurance. The insurance plan is similar to those of the United States under the affordable care act. It is delivered by private companies. It is also rated by the community, and its issue is assured. Prices depend on the extent of the network, degree of deductible, or simplicity of seeing a professional. About 30 percent of people receive subsidies that allow them to cater for the cost of premiums. Even though the insurance plans are offered on a nonprofit basis, insurance companies can also offer profit plans which offer more choice and benefits. The voluntary plans insurance company offer different services in regards to premiums and benefits. There are no middlemen in the healthcare system. This healthcare system intends to protect people from spending more than ten percent of their income on insurance. Spending a lot on healthcare is considered unhealthy since it has the effect of resulting in cost inflation.

Further, the country introduced a new program similar to Medicare, which is meant to control prices in hospitals. This program ensures that insurers are forced to charge comparable rates to people regardless of their age. This program also safeguards people from being charged on preexisting conditions. On the other hand, only one-tenth of Americans can purchase healthcare insurance individually while the rest depend on their companies (Squires,& Anderson, 2015).

Requirements to get a Referral

In Switzerland, there are no strict restrictions on getting a referral because medical insurance is personal. This ensures that individuals have the privilege of choosing a referral of their liking. This system reduces waiting time and also fastens healthcare delivery. People in this country are referred to hospitals that suit their insurance policies, and therefore, they do not have to depend on their employers for medical cover (Herzlinger, & Parsa-Parsi, 2004).

On the other hand, Americans are required to have a written order so to see a doctor. Further, patients have to get a referral from a medical expert for many health maintenance organizations. The lack of referral makes it difficult for the insurance plans to pay for the healthcare services (Squires, & Anderson, 2015).

Coverage for Preexisting Conditions

There is a similarity between the USA and Switzerland in regards to the issue of preexisting conditions. The existing laws in the USA indicate that health insurance companies cover a patient's medical services irrespective of whether they have a preexisting medical condition. Healthcare insurance companies do not have the authority to charge more than what the client paid for insurance. There is a list of preexisting conditions that are accepted, such as asthma, cancer, and diabetes. A patient can never be denied treatment once a patient has medical insurance (Ridic, Gleason, & Ridic, 2012).

The same thing happens in Switzerland. Every patient has the justice to be treated in spite of having preexisting medical issues. However, applicants are required to adhere to certain tariffs and rates, but they cannot be denied medical care if they have an insurance cover. The difference between the USA and Switzerland system is that the Swiss enjoy the daily benefits insurance which assures people of sustained sick pay when they have a long period out of work.

Financial Implication

The USA spends a significant amount of money on healthcare. It is estimated that the country spends roughly $10000 per individual, which accounts for 18 percent of the country GDP (Papanicolas, Woskie, & Jha, 2018). The high medical expenditure by the government negatively affects the financial muscle of the country since other areas are denied money to fund healthcare. The USA expenditure exceeds what is standard, and therefore, it ends up slowing down the economy. The healthcare expenditure by the USA is eight times more than other developed countries such as Switzerland. The Medicare program is the source of the rising costs of healthcare in the USA since it has been increasing double the rates of inflation. This trend is likely to become worse due to baby boomers approaching old age, which is associated with the rise in medical problems. There is a need for the healthcare system in the USA to change so that it is provided on per-fee for service basis or based on value. These methods would help decrease expenditure on healthcare. There is a need also to expand the Medicaid program, which increases funding to the safety-net hospitals that cater to the needs of the low-income population. This can help in reducing the cost of health the Swiss healthcare system is much affordable are and also in assisting the vulnerable people.

On the other hand, the Swiss healthcare system is also faced with various challenges. The citizens are required to purchase health insurance, and it is mandatory. Out-of-pocket expenses are regarded as high compared to other European countries. Mandatory health insurance premiums are also considerably high. In spite of these challenges, Switzerland healthcare system is better than that of the USA due to it being affordable and offering services that lead to better health outcomes (De et al., 2015).


The healthcare systems of the USA and Switzerland differ significantly. Switzerland offers universal health insurance to its citizens. USA healthcare is fragmented and has gaps in rates and coverage. Private insurance is handled at the state level all over the country. There is a mutual responsibility between the government, individuals, and employers to provide healthcare coverage to Americans. The healthcare system in the USA is the most expensive in the world. Even though Switzerland depends on out-of-pocket contributions, it is much more affordable and effective compared to the USA's healthcare system.


De, C. P., Camenzind, P., Sturny, I., Crivelli, L., Edwards-Garavoglia, S., Spranger, A., ... & Quentin, W. (2015). Switzerland: health system review. Health systems in transition, 17(4), 1-288.

Herzlinger, R. E., & Parsa-Parsi, R. (2004). Consumer-driven health care: lessons from Switzerland. Jama, 292(10), 1213-1220. 10.1001/jama.292.10.1213

Papanicolas, I., Woskie, L. R., & Jha, A. K. (2018). Health care spending in the United States and other high-income countries. Jama, 319(10), 1024-1039. 10.1001/jama.2018.1150

Ridic, G., Gleason, S., & Ridic, O. (2012). Comparisons of health care systems in the United States, Germany and Canada. Materia socio-medica, 24(2), 112-120. doi:10.5455/msm.2012.24.112-120

Squires, D., & Anderson, C. (2015). US health care from a global perspective: spending, use of services, prices, and health in 13 countries. The Commonwealth Fund, 15(3), 1-16.

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