Healthcare in Houston

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Healthcare in Houston can be summed up in a mere three words – Texas Medical Center (TMC). This world-renowned facility is the largest of its kind, made up of 49 institutions including 13 hospitals, two speciality hospitals, two medical schools, four nursing schools, and a number of other houses of learning and research.

Foreigners and citizens from across the nation travel to Houston to receive treatment from within its wards, and in turn, the Texas Children's Hospital - Healthcare in Texascentre entices some of the foremost medical professionals in America to come to Houston to practice.

To name a few of the formidable institutions: The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center was ranked as one of the nation’s top cancer hospitals; the Texas Children’s Hospital is the largest paediatric hospital in the nation and is ranked among the best in a number of departments; and the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital is a top-performing heart surgery facility.

Expats moving to Houston will not only have access to the TMC’s high-ranking medical services, they also have the benefit of living in a city where the standard of healthcare, in general, has been elevated to compete with the centre and its achievements.

Urgent care centres, walk-in clinics, assisted living facilities for the elderly, comprehensive care hospitals explicitly for women, and even a healthcare program that caters to homeless people are all part of Houston’s push to provide residents with the best healthcare possible.

Finding a doctor in Houston

Though Houston claims the most impressive healthcare climate in the Southwest US, its reputation still doesn’t make it any easier to find a doctor that aligns with your preferences.

While the Harris County Medical Society Physician Referral Service is one traditional resource that can help you find a doctor in your area, it’s still best to engage with your community and use word of mouth channels to find a reputable practitioner.

Your colleagues and your employer can also be good sources for recommendations, as can web forums.

Pharmacies in Houston

Pharmacies are widely available in Houston, and are usually found within 'drug stores'. Popular drug stores in Houston are CVS, Walgreens and Randalls. Many medicines can be obtained over the counter, but prescription medication can only be obtained with approval from a physician. Many pharmacies stay open as late as 1AM.

Health insurance in Texas

As in the greater US, health insurance is a must-have in Houston. There’s no universal coverage in America, and as a result, those without insurance who need treatment will often have to pay exorbitant fees out of their own pockets.

Furthermore, with no system of compulsory coverage, the onus falls on you to negotiate with your employer or your organisation for insurance; or for you to organise it independently.

Most employers in Houston do provide healthcare in association with employment packages, and it’s commonplace for dependants and spouses to be covered by these packages, as well.

Do note that most employer-sponsored coverage is limited to a certain type of plan, so if you have a complicated issue, it may still be necessary to organise health insurance independently.

Plans through independent, private carriers tend to be more expensive, but they also allow you the freedom to shop around for the type of coverage that you need.  

If purchasing health insurance through a private carrier, be sure the company holds a valid Texas insurance licence.

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