Healthcare expenditure in Germany was around € 290 billion in 2012, equivalent to 10.9 % of GDP. Belgian healthcare expenditure was also equivalent to 10.9 % of GDP and the only EU countries with higher percentages were France (11.2 %) and the Netherlands (11.8 %). Denmark and Austria also reported that current healthcare expenditure exceeded 10.0 % of GDP.

Outside the EU, the ratio of current healthcare expenditure to GDP reached or exceeded 10.0 % in New Zealand, Japan, Canada and Switzerland, peaking at 16.2 % in the United States. In contrast, current healthcare expenditure accounted for less than 6.5 % of GDP in Lithuania, Poland, Latvia and Estonia, with Romania recording the lowest ratio at 5.5%.

Relative to population size, current healthcare expenditure in the EU was highest in Luxembourg, at €5,500 per inhabitant in 2012; outside the EU only the United States reported higher expenditure per inhabitant. However health care expenditure in Luxembourg included expenditure in respect of cross-border workers who are not resident in Luxembourg, resulting inevitably in higher per capita spending. Denmark and the Netherlands recorded healthcare expenditure over €4,000 per inhabitant. Nine EU Member States reported expenditure of less than €1,000 per inhabitant, with the lowest level (€358 per inhabitant) in Romania.

In 2012, curative and rehabilitative services incurred more than 50% of current healthcare expenditure in the majority of EU countries, the exceptions being Belgium, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania. In Canada, curative and rehabilitative services also incurred less than half of current healthcare expenditure. Medical goods dispensed to outpatients was the second largest expenditure, with average spending accounting for around one quarter of total healthcare expenditure, with the lowest share (10.1% ) recorded by Denmark and the highest (41.4%) recorded by Bulgaria.

Services related to long-term nursing care accounted for less than 10% of healthcare expenditure in more than half the EU, but were over 20% in the Benelux countries and Denmark, and came to nearly 30% in Norway. However, it is difficult to separate the medical and social components of expenditure for long-term care, leading to an inevitable impact on cross-country comparisons. In addition, the relatively low share reported for many EU countries could well be due to the main burden of long-term nursing care residing with family members with no payment being made for providing these services.

The proportion of current healthcare expenditure incurred by ancillary services to healthcare (such as laboratory testing or the transportation of patients) ranged from 2% in the Netherlands to 11.2% in Estonia. These services accounted for an even lower share in Japan (0.7%), South Korea (1%) and Iceland (1.7%). Expenditure on healthcare administration and health insurance ranged from 1.2 % of current healthcare expenditure in Poland through to 3.9 % in the Netherlands, 4.9 % in Belgium, 5.4 % in Germany and 6.1 % in France. In Norway the share of current healthcare expenditure dedicated to administration and health insurance was particularly low (0.6 %), while in the United States, which had a very high share of expenditure financed by private insurance, the share reached 7.5 %.

For more information on these statistics, click here on