What is Comprehensive Healthcare?

Mary McMahon

Comprehensive healthcare or comprehensive health care is healthcare which provides for all patient needs at all stages of life. Whether a patient needs a routine physical for school sports, or a complex emergency surgery, it is covered by this type of system. The goal of this type of healthcare is usually to keep patients fit and healthy, and to encourage people to address medical needs as soon as they arise, rather than waiting for them to become serious.

Costs of rehabilitation are covered under comprehensive healthcare.
Costs of rehabilitation are covered under comprehensive healthcare.

Many nations with universal healthcare in which every citizen is given healthcare have comprehensive healthcare systems. This type of healthcare is sometimes referred to as “cradle to grave healthcare,” referencing the fact that someone covered under a comprehensive plan will receive care from the moment of birth to the hour of death. Under comprehensive coverage, there are no exclusions or exceptions, and patients are encouraged to seek medical treatment promptly, rather than waiting out of fear about expenses, thereby making their conditions worse.

Comprehensive health insurance plans offer coverage for prescription drugs, but policy holders may be required to cover a co-pay.
Comprehensive health insurance plans offer coverage for prescription drugs, but policy holders may be required to cover a co-pay.

Routine diagnosis, treatment, follow-up and rehabilitation are all covered by comprehensive healthcare. Many such plans also provide preventative medicine, such as nutrition classes, psychological therapy, routine physicals, and other interventions which are designed to prevent the emergence of medical problems. They may also include things like benefits which pay for an assistant in the first few weeks after pregnancy, or home visits from healthcare workers who provide treatment in the comfort of the home, with the overall goal of promoting wellness.

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Routine diagnosis, treatment and follow-up are all covered by comprehensive healthcare.
Routine diagnosis, treatment and follow-up are all covered by comprehensive healthcare.

By providing care at all stages of life and in all situations, comprehensive healthcare can save money in the long term, especially in situations where everyone in a nation is covered under a healthcare plan. These plans promote the use of preventative education, reducing long-term healthcare costs by lowering the incidence of avoidable healthcare problems, and also reduce employee sick days and other problems associated with healthcare systems which are not comprehensive.

Comprehensive plans can reduce employee sick days.
Comprehensive plans can reduce employee sick days.

In a private healthcare system, comprehensive healthcare tends to be extremely expensive, much like comprehensive insurance on a car, since it covers any potential eventuality. Some people settle for comprehensive health insurance with a high deductible, counting on the healthcare to be available for expensive conditions. In universal single-payer systems, the costs for comprehensive healthcare are usually kept low by providing the service to everyone, allowing the single-payer to influence rates and enact other mandates which are designed to reduce the expenses associated with healthcare.

Comprehensive healthcare coverage encourages patients to seek medical care before problems become serious.
Comprehensive healthcare coverage encourages patients to seek medical care before problems become serious.
Comprehensive healthcare plans can extend to an employee's family.
Comprehensive healthcare plans can extend to an employee's family.
Follow-up and rehabilitation costs are covered by comprehensive healthcare.
Follow-up and rehabilitation costs are covered by comprehensive healthcare.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks for all the advice. We are trying to find a home health care program for my grandma and just want to make sure we find the perfect one.


@Sneakers41 - I agree with what you are saying but my fear is that the costs associated with this program would not only make Obamacare more expensive, but it would limit the use of the latest healthcare technology and experimental drugs.

It is a shame that this program would limit the use of medical advances in order to keep costs down. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

I also heard in a recent study that about 40% of practicing physicians would leave the profession when this law takes place. This form of universal healthcare cuts the reimbursements for doctors by 25%, with the growing costs of medical malpractice insurance and this reduction in reimbursements it is understandable why many doctors would leave the profession.

When you factor the costs of medical school and the personal sacrifices that many medical students make to become doctors it really does not seem fair.

I think that students looking at becoming a doctor should have their medical school education subsidized so that we could attract more doctors to the profession.

I read somewhere that the shortage of doctors is going to be taken care of by nurse practitioners. There will be an increase in nurse practitioners all over the country and while they can perform many tasks they are not doctors. I think that the quality of our nation’s healthcare system would suffer because we would have so few doctors practicing.


@SauteePan - I understand what you are saying, but Obamacare does offer insurance coverage to people that have preexisting conditions which would normally not be eligible for insurance.

This can be a lifesaver for someone with a chronic illness like diabetes. While there may be some opposition to the program, it does have some points to it. It is difficult to have a chronic or life threatening illness and have to not only worry about your life but how you are going to pay for your healthcare costs. This program is a relief for many people.


@SZapper -I think that a universal healthcare or a health policy that would cover all Americans is great in theory, but there are a lot of other problems associated with it.

Most countries that have a single payer system usually have a fraction of the population that the United States has. Also, many of the available drugs and state of the art treatments are not available due to cost in those countries.

There is a measure of rationing of services and some countries even have a government panel in order to determine eligibility for some life saving services. I think that although private insurance is expensive at least you have the choice to see a doctor when you want and seek the treatment that you may need even if you have to pay for the services yourself.

I think that it is better to have cheap health insurance with a large deductible that can be used for larger medical expenses.

For example, the Health Service Accounts allow people to put pre-taxed dollars into the account that can be used for preventative care. The deductible is usually about $2,500 for family care but at least this type of insurance allows for proper coverage that is cost effective for most companies.

This is important because I recently heard that up to 30% of American companies will drop health care coverage for its employees due to the high costs of Obamacare.


I believe that to get comprehensive healthcare in your country you really need to fight for it. If you look at a country like France, which has one of the best comprehensive health care systems in the world, as identified by the World Health Organization, they really had to fight to get what they needed. The French are famous for going to the streets and protesting for their rights. While I think you don't need to flip cars to get your point across, you do need to speak up as a nation.

France offers amazing healthcare for their citizens with 96% receiving 100% reimbursable or free healthcare. They allow them the right to choose their healthcare providers and receive the highest quality of care possible. I'd say it was tax dollars well spent.


I believe that comprehensive healthcare should be a universal right for everyone, no matter what country they live in. It sickens me to see people losing their homes and going into extreme debt because they, or a loved one is sick.

We all have to pay taxes, that is a fact of life, but I would really like to get something truly worthwhile out of what I pay. I think that providing citizens with a decent standard of health is not a luxury, but a right.

I think that turning medical care into nothing but a consumable product is terrible. I would rather sit on a waiting list for regular checkups, and know I will be taken care of if they find something, than pay to get in right away and be told, pay up or get out for extended treatment.


There are definitely a lot of advantages for the average person under a comprehensive health care delivery system. Who wouldn't want to be able to nip any problems in the bud, or even have regular checks to spot potential health problems?

However, it is important to not overlook the downfalls. Countries such as the UK may have a free at access point health care policy, but many areas also have extremely long waiting lists for non life threatening medical and surgical procedures.

Something between the two options would be ideal in my opinion. People need to be able to get a health insurance quote that won't make them faint, or leave them without access to any quality medical aid as it is needed.


@JessicaLynn - Comprehensive healthcare would be a great thing for everyone in this country to have. But I don't see it happening unless we totally do away with private insurance and I'm not actually sure that's a very good idea. Shouldn't I be able to pay more for better quality care and services if I can afford it?


Comprehensive healthcare is something we desperately need in the United States. Our healthcare system simply doesn't work for everyone. Even with the recent reforms some people still don't have access to health insurance and cheap health insurance is even harder to come by.

A lot of people are against universal healthcare and whine and complain about how it's going to cost too much money. Like the article states, comprehensive health care can actually be cheaper in the long run. I read an article a little while back about the costs of healthcare inequalities and believe me, it was astounding.

I can only hope universal healthcare with comprehensive coverage for everyone is something I will leave to see. I mean, if Canada can do it why can't we?

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