The MyHealthyCommunities website is closing on 30 June 2019

Don’t worry – you can still find the latest information about your local area on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW)External link, opens in a new window.[https://aihw.gov.au] website, along with many more reports and data on a range of health and welfare topics.

Visit the Healthy community indicatorsExternal link, opens in a new window.[https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-data/indicators/healthy-community-indicators] page to use the new interactive tool to explore health topics including health risk factors, cancer, expenditure, and different population groups in your Primary Health Network (PHN) area.

In some cases, the way you find information has changed. If you need help finding anything, please contactExternal link, opens in a new window.[https://www.aihw.gov.au/contact-us] the AIHW.

Once the MyHealthyCommunities website closes, you will be able to access an archived version through TroveExternal link, opens in a new window.[https://trove.nla.gov.au/], the National Library of Australia’sExternal link, opens in a new window.[https://www.nla.gov.au/] web archive. Please note the interactive content will not work in the archived version.

Healthy Communities: Patients' out-of-pocket spending on Medicare services, 2016–17 - Report - Out-of-pocket spending on health care

Healthy Communities: Patients' out-of-pocket spending on Medicare services, 2016–17

Download Report (PDF, 2.9 MB)

Out-of-pocket spending on health care

Medicare does not always cover the full cost of medical services. Doctors and other health care providers are free to set their own fees for consultations and procedures and the patient may need to contribute to the cost of those services.

Nationally, it is estimated that Australians spent $29.4 billion out-of-pocket on all their health-related expenses in 2015–16—or about $1,195 per person. This compares with $141 billion spent on health by governments, private health insurers and accident compensation schemes (AIHW 2017).

Out-of-pocket costs in 2015–16 included spending on:

  • prescription and non-prescription medicines ($10.8 billion)
  • dental services ($5.7 billion)
  • hospital services ($3.3 billion)
  • non-hospital Medicare-subsidised services ($2.9 billion)
  • aids and appliances, including glasses, wheelchairs and hearing aids ($2.8 billion)
  • other expenses, including allied health services not subsidised by Medicare ($3.9 billion) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Total patient out-of-pocket spending on health in Australia, 2015–16 ($ billions)

The below figure is a bar graph showing the total out-of-pocket spending on health in Australia in 2015–16. The x-axis is the Out-of-pocket expenditure in billions of dollars. The y-axis is the Health service. In Medicines, the cost was $10.8 billion. In Dental, the cost was $5.7 billion. In Hospital, the cost was $3.3 billion. In Non-hospital medicare, the cost was $2.9 billion. In Aids and appliances, the cost was $2.8 billion. For all other areas, the cost was $3.9 billion.

The following link expands the table data. Show tabular data Hide tabular data
Health service Out-of-pocket expenditure
Medicines $10.8 billion
Dental $5.7 billion
Hospital $3.3 billion
Non-hospital medicare $2.9 billion
Aids and appliances $2.8 billion
Other $3.9 billion
Sources:
AIHW 2017; AIHW analysis of MBS claims data, 2015–16.

Patients may also incur personal expenses which are not identified in the data, such as taxes, travel, and private health insurance premiums.

The out-of-pocket costs for patients can affect their ability to get the care they need, when they need it. Being able to get health care ‘at the right place and right time, taking account of different population needs and the affordability of care’ (NHIPPC 2017) is a cornerstone of a high quality health system.

Download Report (PDF, 2.9 MB)