AIWH report signals the need for government to increase financial support for couples planning for a family

16 August 2018

Media Release

The report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIWH) has found that some 10.9 million people, making up half of all patients in Australia, incur out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-subsidised healthcare delivered outside of a hospital.

According to the data, in 2016–2017, the median out-of-pocket costs per patient were $142 and this varied across Primary Health Network (PHN) areas. A number of factors influence the out-of-pocket spend, including the type of service required, availability of non-hospital and specialist services subsidised by Medicare, income, geographic location and availability of bulk-billed services.

Specialist and obstetric services were reported as attracting the highest out-of-pocket expenditure, with obstetric services showing the largest variation in costs per service.

Professor Steve Robson, President of RANZCOG said, “The amount women receive from the MBS was frozen for a number of years. While the cost of providing care has risen dramatically, the financial support for pregnant women through the Medicare scheme has not been fairly adjusted to meet this change.”

Of all the people that claimed non-hospital obstetric services, 44% of these patients paid a cost toward the care they received.

“These new figures show that the Government needs to reassess its support of new mothers urgently. Mothers and couples planning to have children should expect more from their Government.”

Read the full report here.



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