4363.0 - National Health Survey: Users' Guide, 2014-15  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/07/2017   
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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 Veteran's Affairs or other government health benefits cards, was excluded.


Information was obtained for persons aged 18 years and over in the 2014-15 NHS.


Information about private health insurance was published in Health Service Usage and Health related Actions, Australia, 2014-15. based on a sample of approximately 14,564 people aged 18 years and over.

Respondents were asked if they were currently covered by private health insurance, and if so, the type of membership and cover 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 membership refers to whether the respondent was covered under a family, couple, sole parent or single person insurance policy.

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.

Respondents were also asked whether they had a Veterans' Affairs treatment entitlement card (and the colour) as well as whether they were covered by any concession cards such as a Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

Data items

The questionnaire, data items and related output categories for this topic are available in pdf/Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.


Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following:

  • Data reflect respondents' perceptions of their insurance cover, which may not necessarily correspond to their actual cover. Data may not be directly comparable with statistics on health insurance levels compiled from fund membership information and published by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
  • 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.

Comparability with 2011-12

Private health insurance data are considered directly comparable between the 2014-15 and 2011-12 NHS.

While the questions asked in the 2014-15 NHS were identical to those asked in the 2011-12 NHS, prompt cards were provided to 2014-15 NHS respondents, whereas, Interviewer read out the options. to 2011-12 respondents.