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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Health >> Household expenditure on health and medical care

Average household expenditure on health and medical care has increased steadily between 1984 and 1998-99. As a proportion of total household expenditure on goods and services, health and medical care increased from 3.9% in 1984 to 4.7% in 1998-99 (table 9.33).

The Household Expenditure Survey (HES) provides estimates of expenditure on medical care and health by households across Australia. Expenditure is net of any refunds and rebates received from Medicare, private health insurance companies and employers. The ABS has undertaken the HES at five-yearly intervals since 1984. Average expenditure in this survey is calculated across all households, not just those households that spent money on specific goods or services.

Expenditure on accident and health insurance has accounted for the largest percentage of total expenditure on health and medical care in each of the survey periods. However, this percentage has declined markedly between 1993-94 and 1998-99 (from 50% to 41%) reflecting the decrease in hospital, medical and dental insurance from 44% of total health expenditure in 1993-94 to 35% in 1998-99. This decrease is largely due to the falling health insurance coverage, and has occurred despite increases in private health insurance costs between the surveys.

While the proportion of household health expenditure spent on health practitioner's fees has remained relatively constant since 1984, expenditure on individual items have fluctuated. In particular, general practitioner doctor's fees have decreased from 3.8% of total health expenditure in 1984 to 2.4% in 1998-99, while specialist doctor's fees have increased from 3.9% to 7.8%.

The proportion of total health expenditure spent on medicines, pharmaceutical products and therapeutic appliances has increased from 20% in 1984 to 25% in 1998-99.


9.33 EXPENDITURE PER HOUSEHOLD ON MEDICAL CARE, Percentage of Total Health Expenditure - 1984 to 1998-99

Expenditure category
1984

%
1988-89

%
1993-94

%
1998-99

%
1998-99

$/week

Accident and health Insurance
50.1
44.4
49.6
40.6
13.18
Hospital, medical and dental insurance
45.7
40.0
43.9
35.0
11.37
Sickness and personal accident insurance
3.3
3.5
4.5
4.6
1.48
Health practitioner’s fees
26.5
31.9
24.7
30.7
9.96
General practitioner doctor’s fees
3.8
3.6
2.3
2.4
0.77
Specialist doctor’s fees
3.9
6.2
5.5
7.8
2.53
Dental charges
10.6
13.3
10.4
13.5
4.37
Medicines, pharmaceutical products and therapeutical appliances
20.0
20.5
22.9
24.9
8.09
Prescriptions
6.2
6.1
8.0
9.1
2.94
Other medical care and health expenses
2.2
3.2
2.8
3.8
1.23
Hospital and nursing home charges
2.2
3.1
2.5
3.0
0.96
Health as proportion of total expenditure on goods and services
3.9
4.3
4.5
4.7
. .


Source: ABS data available on request, Household Expenditure Surveys (various).


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