4727.0.55.002 - Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2012-13  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/04/2014  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All  
Contents >> Health Related Actions >> Private health insurance



Private health insurance is additional health cover to that provided under Medicare, to reimburse all or part of the cost of hospital and/or ancillary services incurred by an individual.

Information was obtained about respondents’ private health insurance arrangements current at the time of the survey. Health cover provided or arranged through employers was included. Ambulance only cover, and cover arranged under Veterans’ Affairs or other government health benefits cards, were excluded.


Information was collected for non-remote persons aged 15 years and over in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS).


Respondents were asked if they were currently covered by private health insurance, and if so, the type of cover and type of membership they had, the reasons they had cover, and how long they had been covered.

Respondents without current private health insurance were asked the reasons why they did not have cover. More than one reason was able to be provided for why a respondent did or did not have private health insurance. Interviewers were encouraged to prompt respondents (for example, ‘Are there any other reasons?’) to ensure as much information as possible was recorded.

Type of cover refers to whether persons were covered for hospital expenses, expenses for ancillary services, or both hospital and ancillary expenses. Private insurance for hospital expenses provides cover for the costs of accommodation in private hospitals and private accommodation in public hospitals, while ancillary cover includes services such as but not limited to dental, physiotherapy, optical and acupuncture services.

Type of membership refers to whether the respondent was covered under a family, couple, sole parent or single person insurance policy.

Data items

The data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered in interpreting data for this topic:

  • While efforts are made to ensure that only legitimate private health insurance was reported, some respondents may have reported life, accident or other forms of insurance.
  • Data reflect respondents’ perceptions of their insurance cover, which may not necessarily correspond to their actual cover. Data are therefore not directly comparable with statistics on health insurance levels compiled from fund membership information and published by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
  • Respondents may have been unaware of their coverage/lack of coverage under a family or couple membership where the arrangements were administered by another person (for example, their spouse).
  • Type of cover was only collected at the very broad levels of hospital only, ancillary only, or both hospital and ancillary. Within each of these categories, the actual type and level of cover provided can differ significantly.
  • Length of time insured relates to the current episode of insurance. Previous periods of insurance which have lapsed or been terminated are excluded.

Comparability with 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS)

Data for common items are considered directly comparable between the 2004-05 NATSIHS and 2012-13 NATISHS. Both surveys only collected private health insurance data in non-remote areas, however, it should be noted there are some very small differences in the wording of the questions asked in the 2004-05 NATSIHS.

Comparability with 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS)

Private health insurance information was not collected in the 2008 NATSISS.

Comparability with the 2011-12 National Health Survey (NHS)

Data for common items are considered directly comparable between the 2011-12 NHS and the 2012-13 NATSIHS. However, in the 2011-12 NHS only persons aged 18 years and over were asked questions about private health insurance. Furthermore, the questions were asked irrespective of locality, thus remote persons were asked private health insurance questions. Both these points should be considered in any analysis between the surveys.

Previous PageNext Page