While the Australian Medicare arrangements provide strong protection for Australians against unmanageable health costs, as people age they are likely to have more chronic conditions leading to increasing costs of health care. In this report, we examine the costs faced by older Australians with chronic health conditions, and explore how many face extreme costs in relation to their incomes and the characteristics of the older Australians who face severe financial burdens due to their health care costs.
The results reported in this study are based on a survey of members of National Seniors Australia (NSA) which was undertaken in 2009. Questionnaires were mailed to a sample of 10,000 NSA members and 4,574 responded (a response rate of 45.7%). The survey collected information about general health, health conditions which had lasted more than 6 months, the amounts respondents had paid for health care in the last 3 months, and information on work, education and income. The survey was undertaken as part of the SCIPPS (Serious and Continuing Illness Policy and Practice Study) through the Menzies Centre for Health Policy.