Expats find best healthcare in Europe

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HSBC's 2011 Expat Explorer Survey ranked Belgium #1 for healthcare; click to enlarge

It’s that time of year again. The results of HSBC’s 2011 Expat Explorer Survey are out and Belgium placed #1 for expat healthcare, followed by Germany and France. Those rankings are based on affordability, access and quality of care.

This year’s survey involved 3,385 expats living in more than 100 countries. In terms of healthcare, enough data was gathered to rank 31 countries.

Interestingly, the health rankings differ considerably from the overall figures. None of the top 3 destinations for healthcare placed higher than 21st overall. This of course implies expats are not using healthcare as their main criteria for deciding where to move abroad.

There is also a marked change in rankings when countries are evaluated solely on ease of organizing healthcare. Here Thailand is tops, followed by Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Overall, there is a clear divide between the countries with the best health systems and those with the strongest financial opportunities for expats. Countries in the Middle East and Asia ranked highly for income and disposable income, as well as work-related criteria, but they did poorly when it came to healthcare.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, for example, placed 1st and 2nd in terms of income. But for healthcare they placed 20th and 21st, respectively. So for the time being it seems expats will continue to face a trade-off between financial opportunity and superior healthcare.