Private health and health care financing – Learning from the world

Josefa Henriquez, Andrew Matthews, Francesco Paolucci and Adam Stolz

Josefa Andrew Matthew Francesco Adam

Building on the recent Green Paper (How to make Private Health Insurance Healthier), this Dialogue paper takes another look at private health in Australia - how it is financed, whether it meets the needs of consumers and areas of potential reform. 

The authors draw upon international comparisons from 12 countries to inform the discussion and concludes that although Australia's health system compares favourably, there is room for improvement. 

The paper suggests possibilities for better integration between private and public health care without the need for radical changes, but rather building on what exists.

Areas of improvement include:

  • Conditions for specific segments of the population (e.g. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and mental health patients).
  • Australia's high out-of-pocket expenses and health cost growth. 
  • Better integration of public and private systems.
  • Risk adjusted rebates.
  • Community rating of private health. 

The Dialogue is a series of papers written by actuaries and published by the Actuaries Institute. The papers aim to stimulate discussion on important emerging issues. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of either the Institute of Actuaries of Australia (the ‘Institute’), its members, directors, officers, employees, agents, or that of the employers of the author