Information for Patients
The United States does not have a universal healthcare program, unlike many other countries. Healthcare services are largely provided by private sector businesses. A small number of hospitals are owned by the government. Healthcare coverage is provided through a combination of private health insurance and public health coverage. Private health insurance is either offered by employers or schools or bought individually. Public healthcare coverage comes under different Acts. The ACA, which stands for the Affordable Care Act (nicknamed “Obamacare”) provides subsidies to those who cannot afford high insurance premiums. The size of the subsidy depends on the individual’s income. There are, however, penalties for not having health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Apart from the ACA, there are two other plans that offer free or law-cost healthcare to those in need. The first one, Medicaid, is for pregnant mothers and their children, parents of minors, people with disabilities, and low-income individuals. The second one, Medicare, works like a retirement insurance plan for people over 65 years.
Information for Health Care Professionals
All medical professionals need to pass a licensure examination offered by their respective professional boards. The most common of these is the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination and is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). All physicians with an MD degree (including international medical graduates) are required to pass this examination before being permitted to practice medicine in the United States.
The language of medical instruction in the United States is English
Information for Travelers
The United States is a leading destination for medical tourists—the third-most popular healthcare destination worldwide in 2012. The availability of advanced medical technology and sophisticated training of physicians are cited as driving motivators for growth in foreigners traveling to the US for medical care. Several major medical centers and teaching hospitals offer international patient centers that cater to patients from foreign countries who seek medical treatment in the US. Many of these organizations offer service coordinators to assist international patients with arrangements for medical care, accommodations, finances and transportation including air ambulance services.
The common language of hospitals in the U.S is English, but Spanish is spoken in many states.