According to the claims, treatment expenses are 34,000 dollars in the USA, 28,000 euros in Holland, 20,000 euros in Spain, 25,000 euros in France, 24,000 dollars in Israel, 30,000 euros in England and 32,000 euros in Germany; but it is free in Turkey. However, the claim is not true. In the countries in the claim, treatment in public institutions is free. Treatment expenses depend on patients in private institutions and there is not any standard price for it. Besides, private institutions were publicized temporarily in some European countries and patients can get treatment free of charge in these institutions.
Turkey is a “social” state of law according to its constitution, and therefore the health of citizens is guaranteed by the Constitution. On the other hand, there has been serious privatization in the health system, especially in the last 30 years. According to the data of the Ministry of Health in Turkey in 2018, the total number of hospitals is 1,534. 889 of them belong to the ministry, while 577 of them are private hospitals and 68 are the university hospitals. According to the same data, private hospitals have a capacity of 50,196 beds. The number of intensive care beds is 15,973.
In health institutions belonging to the ministry in Turkey, treatment expenses of Covid-19 are covered by the SSI; that is free of charge. This is not the case for private hospitals. Teyit reached the Social Security Institution, which said that private hospitals have the right to demand up to 200% extra charge. There is no standard or the average number for the treatment of Covid-19. Some private hospitals such as Memorial Hospital and Liv Hospital admit patients for free of charge if public hospitals do not have a place. However, it does not mean that the treatment of COVID-19 is completely free.
The health system in the United States is largely specialized. The 35,000-dollar bill of the Covid-19 treatment expense of a woman living there was widely reported in the press. The claim is most likely based on this bill. However, this is not a standard fee and the woman received treatment from a private institution. Figures depend on patients and treatment, but according to the research of The Peterson Center on Healthcare and KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), Covid-19 treatment of a person who does not have any health insurance in the US costs about 20 thousand dollars. If s/he does not have health insurance and the treatment is comprehensive, this figure can rise to $ 75,000. For someone who has a health insurance policy, this figure is approximately 1,300 dollars.
There are public insurance systems for state officials or military men as well as Medicaid, which gives basic health services for low-income people, and Medicare, which serves people age 65 or above. However, 8.5% of the population in the USA, that is more than 27,000 people, lack health insurance.
Treatment for Covid-19 in the USA does not cost 35,000 dollars. If you have health insurance, it costs 1,300 dollars.
In Holland, the treatment of Covid-19 is covered by the public. The country follows the principle of providing free medical support to everyone in need. Besides, there are private institutions and treatment expenses vary.
In Spain, it is mandatory to be in health insurance coverage. Covid-19 expenses of everyone with legal residence status are covered by the state. During the epidemic, 1 million euros were given to the Ministry of Health from the national budget. The government transferred 557.4m euros to private hospitals to meet their urgent needs. As the crisis grew, all private hospitals and treatment centers were temporarily expropriated. There is currently no charge for Covid-19 treatment, even if it is a private hospital.
In France, the Covid-19 test and treatment fees are covered by the national health insurance fund. However, if you have an extra request such as a private room, you have to pay for it. An additional 2 billion euros have been allocated to combat Covid-19 in the country. The majority of the budget will be spent on the production of special masks and the payment of the extra working wages for healthcare workers.
Israel started to apply the universal health insurance system many years ago. Anyone with a certain income in the country has to pay an insurance premium and have health insurance. Those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip cannot benefit from this guarantee. However, for the first time at the beginning of April, a Palestinian woman benefited from the health insurance of the state of Israel. Some of the government funds in Israel were transferred to hospitals for the Covid-19. In Israel, where the Covid-19 test is applied free of charge, private hospitals do not have internal medicine wards and emergency care. These services are completely public.
While there are private insurance companies in Britain that cover Covid-19 treatment costs, what does most of the work is the National Health Service (NHS). In the United Kingdom, those who are in the coverage of NHS do not pay treatment fees as in Turkey. Foreigners who meet certain criteria can also benefit from the free treatment service. In private health institutions, treatment fees vary depending on the course of the disease. It’s hard to give a standard figure. Besides, most of the private health institutions in the country will serve for NHS throughout the epidemic.
Covid-19 test costs in Germany have been covered by health insurance funds since 28 February 2020. In the country, the number of intensive care beds, which was 28,000 before the Covid-19 epidemic, was increased to 40,000. Treatment costs are covered by the state as before, regardless of where they are made.
In conclusion, it is free to take the Covid-19 test and get treatment for it in the countries in the claim except for the USA. Turkey is just one of them. Costs of private health services vary depending on the country and the treatment. There is not a standard price. Besides, in some European countries, private institutions have been temporarily publicized.
T.R. Ministry of Health, Annual Health Statistics 2018
Phone call with the Social Insurance Institution (SII)
Phone call with the Memorial Hospital
Phone call with the Liv Hospital
Anadolu Agency, Treatment costs for COVID-19 of those with private health insurance will be covered, 5 April 2020
T.R. Ministry of Health, Notice about the pandemic hospitals, 20 March 2020
Phone call with the Social Insurance Institution (SII)
TIME, Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43, 19 March 2020
Matthew Rae, Gary Claxton, Nisha Kurani, Daniel McDermott, Cynthia Cox, Potential costs of COVID-19 treatment for people with employer coverage, 13 March 2020
US Census, Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2018, November 2019
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Covid-19 Health System Response Monitor, Policy Responses for Spain
Covid-19 Health System Response Monitor, Policy response for France
Covid-19 Health System Response Monitor, Policy response for the Netherlands
Covid-19 Health System Response Monitor, Policy responses for Israel
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NL Times, Covid-19 Patients in ICU Jump to 761, 27 March 2020
Business Insider, Spain has nationalized all of its private hospitals as the country goes into coronavirus lockdown, 16 March 2020
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, An Overview of Israel's Universal Health Care System, 2014
i24, In first, Palestinian woman said to receive coronavirus treatment in Israel, 11 April 2020
Israel government, Bituach Leumi
Which.co.uk, Coronavirus: what it means for life insurance, health insurance, and income protection, 25 March 2020
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ABI, Private Health Insurance, Covid-19 Information Hub
BBC, Coronavirus: Thousands of extra hospital beds and staff, 21 March 2020
The Guardian, NHS, and private hospitals join forces to fight coronavirus crisis, 14 March 2020
Official website of the Germany Ministry of Health, Daily updates on the coronavirus
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Translation: Hilal Ebru Yakar