Oct 19, 2009

A Heath Care Comparison

It just surprises me the differences in cost between the USA and France for health care. I'm going to pretend that the Euro and dollar are the same since the have the same buying power. Here are some numbers:

Cost to visit the pediatrician:
USA without insurance $135
USA with insurance $90
France w/ or w/o insurance $35

France w/o suplimental insurance $18
France w suplimental insurance $0
USA $15

So it costs my American health insurance company $75 and the French gov't $17 for the same visit, so roughly 5x. Why? What does that pay for? (1) Billing -- apparently 15% of Doctor's bills are billing. (2) mal-practice insurance which cost the American doctor 1000x more. (3) Salary or the American doctors school debt, which is almost 200K at the end of 4 years. For French doctors there is no school debt. (4) nursing staff. I never saw a nurse at a private practice.

So in short in France if you have no insurance, you don't pay very much to see a doctor.  If you are on the state social system, you pay about what an average state worker in the US does for doctors visits at the end of the day without the "mutualle"  Although in France some doctors charge more (like 60 Euros) without explanation and so you might be paying a little more.  But then again, it isn't as much as an uninsured person in the USA, although would be more than an insured person.  Which makes things get complicated.

Next time I will compare the insurance premiums.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. true. But what about when you take income taxes and social charges into account? I don't know the answer, but you can't just compare the up-front prices and say that France is better. have to look at how much a person in France pays in taxes vs. how much a person in the US pays in taxes for roughly the same income. Plus, in the US the salaries are higher and it seems like the cost of living is less.

  2. Geez Megan, I am not done yet. This is just the first part in a series.

  3. That reminds me, I need to go to the "pharmacie" ;-)