Variations in out-of-pocket costs for primary care services across Australia: A regional analysis

Emily Callander, Sarah Larkins, Lisa Corscadden

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study is to describe average out-of-pocket costs across different regions of Australia, as defined by Primary Health Network (PHN) boundaries, and assess the association between population characteristics and out-of-pocket costs for selected primary care services. A combination of descriptive and regression analysis was undertaken using administrative data from the Australian Department of Human Services reporting on the health services used across PHNs in Australia. Those in regional areas paid significantly more for Allied Health services than those in capital cities (A$5.68, P≤0.006). The proportion of an area's population aged 65 years and over was inversely related to out-of-pocket charges for Allied Mental Health (-A$79.12, P≤0.029). Some areas had both high charges and disadvantaged populations: Country South Australia, Northern Queensland, Country Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory, or populations with poor health: Northern Territory and Tasmania. Although there was a large amount of variation in out-of-pocket charges for primary care services between PHNs in Australia, there was little evidence of inequality based on health, age and socioeconomic characteristics of a population or the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

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