Which Countries Have Free Healthcare in 2024?

Recruiting and retaining talent in countries with free healthcare means lower healthcare-related costs for business, fewer sick days, and little-to-no absence from work. That can help companies build a motivated, satisfied, and more stable workforce.

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Countries with free healthcare help build and support a healthier, more motivated, and more productive workforce. That lessens the economic burden on companies as they incur lower healthcare-related costs and fewer sick days. Again, with fewer health concerns or medical debts, workers are more likely to stay motivated and engaged, which increases productivity.

That's why there's an increasing interest in countries with free healthcare, which can be of great benefit to both businesses and employees. By partnering with Playroll, businesses can find, recruit, retain, and seamlessly manage their global workforce with accurate, on-time payroll solutions.

countries with free health care medication

What Countries Have Free Healthcare?

So, which countries have free healthcare systems? Well, few countries offer completely free healthcare services. However,  most developed countries offer government-funded universal healthcare systems to citizens and residents where most services are free, or low cost.

Top 10 Countries with Free Healthcare

Below, we have compiled a list of the top 10 countries with free or universal healthcare, considering accessibility, quality, and coverage of healthcare services.

Canada

Canada tops our list of countries with free healthcare systems. Medicare, the Canadian universal healthcare system, is publicly funded and run by individual provinces and territories.

Healthcare services are available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Free healthcare services include doctor's visits, lab tests, hospital care, and prescription drugs.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a free and universal healthcare system called the National Health Service (NHS), which is praised for its accessibility and efficient primary care services. NHS free health care services are structured regionally and funded by the government through taxation.

All United Kingdom citizens and residents have access to comprehensive free health care services, including hospital care, medical consultations, doctor's visits, maternity care, mental health care, prescription medications, and more.

Australia

Australia stands out among the countries that have free healthcare. Known as Medicare, the Australian free healthcare system is funded through general taxation and offers essential healthcare services to citizens and permanent residents.

Residents have access to free basic medical services, hospital care, doctor's appointments, prescriptions, and some diagnostic tests. For high-quality services and faster access to specialists and elective procedures, Australians have the option of purchasing private health insurance.

Norway

The Norwegian universal healthcare system stands out among countries that have free healthcare because of low wait times, emphasis on patient outcomes, and quality of services. Norway’s healthcare system is funded through taxation and social security contributions and is available to all residents. 

Free health care services include hospital care, prescription medication, and medical consultations. Individuals looking for additional coverage and faster access to services have the option to purchase private medical insurance.

Our Norway playbook can help you understand the country’s labor laws and regulations.

Germany

Germany is among the countries that have achieved universal health coverage through a government-run " sickness fund" that requires all citizens to have medical insurance. Germany's healthcare system is funded through a combination of taxes, social insurance contributions, and copayments.

That ensures all citizens and legal residents have access to comprehensive high-quality medical services, preventive care, long-term care, and more.

France

Listing countries with free healthcare is hard without mentioning France. Its universal health care system is reputed as one of the best in the world for accessibility, quality care, and efficiency.

Healthcare services, including hospital care, prescription drugs, and doctor's visits are available to all citizens, legal residents, and even visitors residing in the country for more than 3 months.

Sweden

Sweden has made it to our list of countries with free healthcare systems because it has achieved universal health coverage with comprehensive healthcare services. The Swedish healthcare system is government-funded and is accessible to all citizens and legal residents.

Residents have access to many healthcare services, including hospital care, maternity care, preventive services, primary care, specialist consultation, and dental care for children and young adults.

Brazil

Brazil stands out as the model of countries that have free healthcare. The Brazilian free and universal healthcare system is funded by the government and is accessible to any person in Brazil, including citizens, legal residents, tourists, and even refugees and immigrants.

Patients have access to free health care services at the point of care, including hospital care, outpatient care, vaccinations, surgeries, preventive care, and more.

South Korea

South Korea is among the countries with the best healthcare systems in the OECD funded through government subsidies and monthly contributions from both employees and employers.

The Korean universal health system is accessible to all Korean citizens, residents, and even foreigners. The government-run health system covers 60% of healthcare costs and the remaining expenses are covered through a private health insurance fund.

Denmark

Denmark closes our list of top ten countries with free healthcare. Denmark's free and universal healthcare system is government-funded through taxes and offers free healthcare services to all residents.

The country’s healthcare system is highly regarded for its patient-centric services, preventive care, and comprehensive access to medical services, including prescription medicine, doctor's visits, hospital care, and more.

Challenges Facing Free Healthcare Systems

Free and universal healthcare systems offer numerous benefits, but they come with challenges, including:

  • Funding challenges
  • Rising healthcare costs
  • Long wait times
  • Inadequate access to specialists
  • Health inequalities

Managing a Global Workforce with Playroll

As healthcare policies worldwide continue to shift toward building free and universal government-funded healthcare systems, more countries are expected to join the list of countries with free healthcare.

That may impact where employees choose to live to access free or low-cost healthcare services or where businesses source talent to reduce workforce-related healthcare costs.

To help businesses navigate the challenge, Playroll offers HR solutions and EOR expertise for hassle-free management of a global workforce, including:

  • Payroll's Global Talent Finder to source and hire the best talent.
  • Payroll solutions to ensure accurate, on-time pay.
  • HR support to help you relocate workers abroad.
  • HR solutions and EOR support to manage remote teams effectively.
  • EOR expertise to navigate regional employment regulations and ensure tax compliance.
  • Country playbooks to help businesses understand country-specific labor laws and regulations.

Countries with free healthcare help build and support a healthier, more motivated, and more productive workforce. That lessens the economic burden on companies as they incur lower healthcare-related costs and fewer sick days. Again, with fewer health concerns or medical debts, workers are more likely to stay motivated and engaged, which increases productivity.

That's why there's an increasing interest in countries with free healthcare, which can be of great benefit to both businesses and employees. By partnering with Playroll, businesses can find, recruit, retain, and seamlessly manage their global workforce with accurate, on-time payroll solutions.

countries with free health care medication

What Countries Have Free Healthcare?

So, which countries have free healthcare systems? Well, few countries offer completely free healthcare services. However,  most developed countries offer government-funded universal healthcare systems to citizens and residents where most services are free, or low cost.

Top 10 Countries with Free Healthcare

Below, we have compiled a list of the top 10 countries with free or universal healthcare, considering accessibility, quality, and coverage of healthcare services.

Canada

Canada tops our list of countries with free healthcare systems. Medicare, the Canadian universal healthcare system, is publicly funded and run by individual provinces and territories.

Healthcare services are available to all Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Free healthcare services include doctor's visits, lab tests, hospital care, and prescription drugs.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a free and universal healthcare system called the National Health Service (NHS), which is praised for its accessibility and efficient primary care services. NHS free health care services are structured regionally and funded by the government through taxation.

All United Kingdom citizens and residents have access to comprehensive free health care services, including hospital care, medical consultations, doctor's visits, maternity care, mental health care, prescription medications, and more.

Australia

Australia stands out among the countries that have free healthcare. Known as Medicare, the Australian free healthcare system is funded through general taxation and offers essential healthcare services to citizens and permanent residents.

Residents have access to free basic medical services, hospital care, doctor's appointments, prescriptions, and some diagnostic tests. For high-quality services and faster access to specialists and elective procedures, Australians have the option of purchasing private health insurance.

Norway

The Norwegian universal healthcare system stands out among countries that have free healthcare because of low wait times, emphasis on patient outcomes, and quality of services. Norway’s healthcare system is funded through taxation and social security contributions and is available to all residents. 

Free health care services include hospital care, prescription medication, and medical consultations. Individuals looking for additional coverage and faster access to services have the option to purchase private medical insurance.

Our Norway playbook can help you understand the country’s labor laws and regulations.

Germany

Germany is among the countries that have achieved universal health coverage through a government-run " sickness fund" that requires all citizens to have medical insurance. Germany's healthcare system is funded through a combination of taxes, social insurance contributions, and copayments.

That ensures all citizens and legal residents have access to comprehensive high-quality medical services, preventive care, long-term care, and more.

France

Listing countries with free healthcare is hard without mentioning France. Its universal health care system is reputed as one of the best in the world for accessibility, quality care, and efficiency.

Healthcare services, including hospital care, prescription drugs, and doctor's visits are available to all citizens, legal residents, and even visitors residing in the country for more than 3 months.

Sweden

Sweden has made it to our list of countries with free healthcare systems because it has achieved universal health coverage with comprehensive healthcare services. The Swedish healthcare system is government-funded and is accessible to all citizens and legal residents.

Residents have access to many healthcare services, including hospital care, maternity care, preventive services, primary care, specialist consultation, and dental care for children and young adults.

Brazil

Brazil stands out as the model of countries that have free healthcare. The Brazilian free and universal healthcare system is funded by the government and is accessible to any person in Brazil, including citizens, legal residents, tourists, and even refugees and immigrants.

Patients have access to free health care services at the point of care, including hospital care, outpatient care, vaccinations, surgeries, preventive care, and more.

South Korea

South Korea is among the countries with the best healthcare systems in the OECD funded through government subsidies and monthly contributions from both employees and employers.

The Korean universal health system is accessible to all Korean citizens, residents, and even foreigners. The government-run health system covers 60% of healthcare costs and the remaining expenses are covered through a private health insurance fund.

Denmark

Denmark closes our list of top ten countries with free healthcare. Denmark's free and universal healthcare system is government-funded through taxes and offers free healthcare services to all residents.

The country’s healthcare system is highly regarded for its patient-centric services, preventive care, and comprehensive access to medical services, including prescription medicine, doctor's visits, hospital care, and more.

Challenges Facing Free Healthcare Systems

Free and universal healthcare systems offer numerous benefits, but they come with challenges, including:

  • Funding challenges
  • Rising healthcare costs
  • Long wait times
  • Inadequate access to specialists
  • Health inequalities

Managing a Global Workforce with Playroll

As healthcare policies worldwide continue to shift toward building free and universal government-funded healthcare systems, more countries are expected to join the list of countries with free healthcare.

That may impact where employees choose to live to access free or low-cost healthcare services or where businesses source talent to reduce workforce-related healthcare costs.

To help businesses navigate the challenge, Playroll offers HR solutions and EOR expertise for hassle-free management of a global workforce, including:

  • Payroll's Global Talent Finder to source and hire the best talent.
  • Payroll solutions to ensure accurate, on-time pay.
  • HR support to help you relocate workers abroad.
  • HR solutions and EOR support to manage remote teams effectively.
  • EOR expertise to navigate regional employment regulations and ensure tax compliance.
  • Country playbooks to help businesses understand country-specific labor laws and regulations.
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