When it comes to healthcare debt, Canadians were well ahead of their commonwealth cousins, who also have a universal healthcare system.
The poll published by Compare the Market, which surveyed the average healthcare debt held by residents of Canada, Australia and the United States, found that the average Canadian held $8,214 in debt due to healthcare costs, largely as a result of dental care and prescription medication.
In comparison, Australians had an average healthcare debt of $2,839.
The United States came in with the highest level of debt, averaging $12,765 per person in Canadian currency.
A total of over 3,000 adults from Canada, Australia and the United States were surveyed by the poll to achieve its results.
Canadians were also more likely to say that they would go into debt to pay for medical services for themselves or loved ones. A total of 17.5% of Canadians said they have gone into debt for healthcare, while 15.5% of Australians said the same. In the United States, 27.3% have taken on debt for healthcare.
“Canadian responses by age-group followed a similar trend to Australia, with the younger age groups being more likely to incur debt for healthcare bills. However, while the likelihood of going into debt for medical bills lessened steadily for older Australians, Canadians in the 45-54 age bracket plateaued out between 12% and 15%,” researchers wrote.
As concerns about the state of healthcare in Canada mount, British Columbia has resorted to sending cancer patients for specific treatments in the US due to a shortage of providers in Canada.
Beginning on May 29, some patients will have the option to receive radiation therapy in Bellingham, Washington, just south of the province’s border with the US.
A recent report by the Montreal Economic Institute found that many of Canada’s healthcare problems, such as long surgery waitlists, could be fixed by embracing “duplicate” private healthcare options.