When you’re out of action, the last thing you want to be worrying about is how much a trip to the dentist, specialist, or hospital will cost you. But while necessary, getting better isn’t always free, with out-of-pocket costs varying from country to country.
This feature will explore average annual out-of-pocket healthcare costs worldwide – looking closely at the countries with the highest spends and the lowest – using the latest data ranging from 2018 – 2020 from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
An overview of out-of-pocket healthcare spending
The OECD defines out-of-pocket expenses as a direct payment for services from the household primary income or savings.¹ In healthcare, out-of-pocket simply refers to the costs paid for health services after insurance and other subsidies. On average, out-of-pocket healthcare costs account for more than 20% of total health spending across the 36 countries of the OECD.¹ Out-of-pocket spending is made up of:
- Pharmaceuticals (36%)
- Dental care (17%)
- Outpatient services (16%)
- Therapeutic appliances (10%)
- Inpatient care (7%)
Out-of-pocket healthcare costs around the world
The table below reveals annual out-of-pocket healthcare expenses in 49 countries per capita. These figures are in US dollars. These figures are averages and may not indicate what individuals actually pay for healthcare in each country.