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.
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.
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.
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.
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.