Australia’s healthcare system is second only to the UK: study

Despite some faults, our system is among the best in the developed world.

Australia’s healthcare second best

A team of US researchers has ranked Australia's healthcare system among the best in the developed world.

Researchers at the New York-based Commonwealth Fund studied 11 national healthcare models and ranked Australia’s mixed public-private system second best, behind the United Kingdom.

The Netherlands came in third with New Zealand and Norway equal fourth. The other countries involved in the study were Sweden (equal sixth), Switzerland (equal sixth), Germany (eighth), Canada (ninth), France (10th) and the US (11th).

All 11 countries were ranked on five measures: access, equity, healthcare outcomes, care process and administrative efficiency.

Australia was ranked first for healthcare outcomes and administrative efficiency and second for care process, but performed poorly on equity, coming in seventh.

Scores on the care process were broken down into four categories: preventive care, safe care, coordinated care and engagement and patient preferences.

Australia ranked number one for engagement and patient preferences and number two for safe care, but performed poorly in coordinated care.

Remarkably, compared to the other 10 countries involved in the study, Australia spent the least on health care as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

One of the factors making up Australia’s top score for health outcomes relates to life expectancy at age 60, where it was equal second with Switzerland and behind France.

Opinion: Australia needs to address equity issue

There is a lot to like about how well Australia’s healthcare system operates compared to other developed countries around the world, but its performance on the equity measure is concerning.

The Government’s Medicare freeze over the past couple of years has contributed to growing out-of-pocket expenses for many.

The Commonwealth Fund analysed the equity of 11 selected survey measures and compared the performance for higher and lower income earners within each country.

Two affordability factors stand out in the study. First was the number of Australians who had any cost-related issues in the past year. Around 21 per cent of those on below-average incomes had experienced this, compared to only 10 per cent on above-average incomes. By comparison, in the UK, only seven per cent of people on below-average income experienced this problem.

The other issue relates to dental care, which is one of the few areas where Australia’s healthcare system is lacking, although there have been improvements in recent years.

The number of people on below-average incomes who skipped dental care or a check-up because of cost in the past year was 29 per cent in Australia, compared to 19 per cent on above-average incomes. The UK, by comparison, had only 12 per cent of people on below-average incomes avoiding a trip to the dentist and seven per cent of those on above-average incomes.

Australia’s solid health performance is good by world standards, but it could be better. Dental coverage under Medicare would be a step in the right direction.

If left untreated, dental disease can have serious consequences, including increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

While the Government ended its freeze on bulk-billing subsidies, a number of other services, such as rebates for some radiology, remain an out-of-pocket expense, making the situation worse instead of better in Australia.

What do you think? Is Australia’s heath care system good enough or can we do better? What changes would you like to see made?

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    MICK
    19th Jul 2017
    10:05am
    If Australia's health care system is so good then why is the current government wanting to push us all onto private insurance and turn our health care system into a clone of America's system which looks after the rich very well and consistently tries to put the bottom end of society into the gutters and leave it without cover?
    We do not need an American style health system. What we need is a government with the b*lls to push people who self harm through drugs and alcohol use and then show up for treatment. Then the costs to taxpayers will be manageable. No chance of either side of politics doing that though as losing votes is not an option and bipartisan support is unimaginable.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    1:24pm
    That's a political ideology issue, Mick - despite billions of dollars of extra costs to date, despite the increasing number of mouths to feed off the fat, in terms of overpaid boards and executives, then shareholders and duplicated staff, from each privatisation step .... some still adhere to the silly idea that somehow EVERY aspect of 'private enterprise' is somehow more efficient than public administration.

    Demonstrably untrue and nothing but a camouflage for ripping off public utilities and services and turning them into profit-making ventures, always backed by government guarantees, may I remind you, so that when the 'board' trash the show, they disappear with a few bill and then the taxpayer bails their 'failed' company out.

    Idiot's business sense in every way.

    Add to the healthcare scandal that socialised medicine (such as we have it here to around 30% at most) is anathema to the current government, for some strange reason known only to their donors.
    Anonymous
    19th Jul 2017
    4:44pm
    My god - whinge whinge whinge

    We have a great system that can be improved by removing bureuacracy and wastage
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    6:23pm
    I'd call it a clear shot and an excellent snipe, Rafe.. not 'whinging'. You may be able to silence others by posting such a childish inference, but I'd rather you attacked the facts presented.. if you can...

    I always thought Ad Hominem was a gay advertising agency.... guess I was wrong.... I've been wrong before.... I thought feminism was about two peoples separated by a common sandwich.....

    What is this bureaucracy you want removed and what is the wastage?
    Retired Knowall
    19th Jul 2017
    7:31pm
    My wife has been treated for stage 4 melanoma for the past 2 years.
    She has had the latest drug treatment and the latest PET scan has shown no trace of melonoma. After 3 operations, numerous PET scans, blood tests and xrays, the cost to date is ZERO. You get better than that.
    "It could always be better", sure, but it could be a lot worse, try USA.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:17pm
    Dear RK - we are NOT comparing 'worst' alternatives' - what we are saying is that OUR system is fine as it is without all the tinkering.. and ANY system could do with improvement.

    Not so hard.

    I'm sorry to say - I had a very lovely cousin die of breast cancer - she was a nurse and had worked overseas in Saudi Arabia, and had married a US Marine. The government could not afford to fund a special treatment that might have done good, and I simply could not find the funding.

    For every positive story, there are many others that are not anywhere near positive.
    Retired Knowall
    20th Jul 2017
    12:24pm
    I guess my glass is always Half Full.
    GeorgeM
    19th Jul 2017
    11:31am
    The poor performance on equity comes as no surprise - with the Medicare freeze, BIG GAPS, lack of coverage in Medicare for Dental treatment, and a rotten Private system with huge Gaps. The Govt doesn't have b*lls to control excessive Doctor's fees (there should be Maximum Limits), not are they able to stop Private Insurers gouging their customers.

    The Private Health Insurance system in Australia is a fraud on the people, as the Govt forces it on people (with penalties), approves large increases in premiums every year, and yet forces Patients to bear the Risk of Gaps and high Doctors fees. Insurance companies need to bear these Risks of Gaps (all except 15% of Medicare Scheduled Fees) and high Doctors Fees, including for costs of Diagnostic Tests and Pharmaceuticals. Otherwise it is not Insurance, simply a scheme to refund part of costs. Insurance companies are getting away with a complete con on people without taking on these Risks, and making great profits.

    The Govt needs to change Laws as needed, and allow / persuade / force Insurance companies to cover all Risks for Gap Fees and all Medical Costs (all except 15% of Medicare Scheduled Fees), and then create a competitive market by ensuring Standard Products with full coverage are offered.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    1:27pm
    Under truly 'socialised medicine', George, doctors are all paid a salary by the state... so all this hoo-haaa about 'socialised medicine' here is just another camouflage for rampant profiteering by ANY on the 'inside', which to my eternal sorrow, includes the medical 'profession', many of whom view it as a business and not as a calling.

    That said - some of the best surgeons in this country have done work on me.. for free... but those are gentlemen of the old school who only charge the fat cats extra.,
    Rosret
    19th Jul 2017
    2:23pm
    Actually, Trebor socialised medicine as in the UK wouldn't be so bad. At least we would get genuine doctors who love the job not the high salary because they got a 99% HSC score.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    6:29pm
    Yes - one of my alma maters looks at other issues than simply a good score... one of my past doctors had been a nurse and went on to medicine after some years of nursing... and many courses now required that the applicant already hold a relevant degree before they can begin medicine...

    Others seem to be a graduating assembly line, which raises concerns.

    With all due respect, I am concerned over the number of foreign graduates, who come from an often very different academic regime, though perhaps that is an issue that needs to be closely looked at.

    My ex's husband died after being diagnosed with pleurisy while he was having a heart attack, and her grandson was kept for hours waiting with something stuck in his throat.... I took a guy into hospital one night who was bleeding and we sat all night until we gave up, and the staff were less than agreeable to being questioned as to why he was waiting so long ... I really wonder sometimes who actually puts people into jobs in hospitals (the overpaid administration with no real clue methinks).... they do get some bricks.
    Jim
    19th Jul 2017
    12:15pm
    The real problem is not with Medicare, we have one of the best systems in the world, I am not sure how some people think that the government is trying to push everyone into private health cover, if the statistics I have seen/heard recently are true then less people are taking out private cover, the cost of private health cover is becoming too expensive for lots of people to be able to afford, so if the government is trying to push people onto private cover wouldn't it make more sense to make the cover cheaper. I think the main problem with our health system is the rorts by certain members of the medical profession, I was in hospital recently after a couple of heart attacks and having stents fitted, the care I received was fantastic, our nurses must be close to the best in the world, the rorts I mention were from the specialists that did nothing but were paid an enormous sum, the specialist that saved my life and put the stents in earned every cent he was paid, his bill was a fraction of the cost that the cardiologist charged, I seen the cardiologist twice while in hospital, I was there for 5 days, the other 3 days a couple students came round and probably spent less than 2 minutes asking how I felt, the bill to the hospital was over $3000 now I think that is almost as obscene as the pollies rorts. Dentists are the modern day Ned Kelly's, again looking at information on salaries Dentists are amongst the highest earners in the country, I know you can't always believe statistics online, but whenever I have been to the dentist I am always amazed at the charges.
    KSS
    19th Jul 2017
    12:24pm
    Whilst there can always be improvements, can't we, for once, just show a little gratitude for the health system we do have and acknowledge that it is one of the best in the world?
    grounded
    19th Jul 2017
    1:02pm
    Can only agree with you.....but then the bellyaching 'experts' - on every subject - would have nothing to whine about.....
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    1:29pm
    We do - we just don't want it changed for the worse to suit some 'investor's' pocket....

    (I put investor in inverted commas because that is a false word to describe and define the kind who seek profiteering out of such things as people's health and well-being)....
    Jim
    19th Jul 2017
    3:42pm
    Absolutely correct, our nurses in particular are the best and are very much sought after in other countries.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:29pm
    Maybe so - but there is always woom for impwovement....
    Anonymous
    20th Jul 2017
    2:45am
    Why do some folk assume that speaking out about issues in the hope of driving improvement is a bad thing to do and evidences lack of appreciation for what is good, KSS?

    How the hell are we going to make good better and better best if we don't recognize deficiencies and strive to make improvements?

    It's not lack of appreciation of what is great that drives critical comment. It's a desire to drive constant improvement and avoid changes that might result in deterioration.
    Crimmo
    19th Jul 2017
    12:36pm
    Australia has a dysfunctional health system. At least half our GPs are incompetent and that includes hospital doctors. I have just recovered from a bout of Legionella, of which two hospitals failed to diagnose. One public hospital and one private hospital. Great health system.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    1:32pm
    Fault begins at medical school time, when academic attainment is far too much the yardstick, when what is required of a doctor is the feeling that medicine is a calling that you would do for free if necessary - not for personal profit and kudos.

    You can teach monkeys to fly......

    That said - some medical schools have a steadily differing approach and actively seek students who feel a genuine calling as much as possible, but unfortunately, also the profit motive for academia comes into it, so as to ensure the continued over-payment and perks of the dean and his cronies...

    Another area of life where the work done is massively overpaid and over-entitled.... needs review so there is more funding to feed students of merit through the system.
    Triss
    19th Jul 2017
    9:12pm
    I remember being stunned, Crimmo, when I was visiting a friend in hospital. The doctor checked the dressing of the patient in the next bed and came straight to my friend to check his. When I said she needed to wash her hands before she put them on my friend she looked at me as though I was an insect but did go across the the basin and wash them. Surely that should be the first thing taught in medical schools.
    LiveItUp
    19th Jul 2017
    10:57pm
    I remember seeing a woman with bad septic ulcers in a bed next to another one who had a hip replacement. I watched them move the woman with the ulcers and then clean the area as though it was contaminated with something deadly. Even the curtains went into a special bag to be destroyed. I often wonder if the woman with the hip replacement survived with all those bad bugs so close to her.
    KB
    19th Jul 2017
    12:41pm
    Health care does need improvement.People on low incomes are refusing x- rays because they cannot afford the cost so hence Medicare must pay more of the cost In South Australia the hospitals system are over flowing with patients and with the closure of hospitals will become worst. People are largely responsible for maintaining their health. Private health cover system still expects you to pay huge gaps particularly with dental care whereas they should be paying more.That issue needs assressing
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    1:36pm
    I could never understand paying for private when the costs are higher and you end up out of pocket anyway... neighbour from a while ago had a minor tail-bone op and it still cost him thousands when he was in private ...

    I've had heart surgery - one month wait.... shoulder.. one immediate, another one month...nose immediate ... some done in private hospitals.... the ex still wants to know my secret, but I'm not telling, since she cannot read the clues.

    The ex needs some thoracic surgery for diaphragm.. wait two weeks.... they nearly got her in three days after she saw the doc....

    Why the hell would I pay for private cover?
    Attila
    19th Jul 2017
    2:57pm
    http://www.insightci.com.au/perth-radiology-clinical-imaging-locations

    Have never been charged for an xray at Insight. Here in WA. There is no excuse for not having all types of scans and xrays. Inform your GP to send you and ask him her to tick the box to Bulk Bill.
    notelle
    19th Jul 2017
    1:37pm
    Our health care system would be the best if it wasn't for the LNP. Ever since it was first introduced the LNP has been trying to get rid of, or dismantle it. They have chipped away at it relentlessly and are still hoping that one day they can replace it with a copy of that second rate system they have in the USA.
    Jim
    19th Jul 2017
    3:29pm
    Did you actually read the article, Australia's health system is 2nd to the UK in rankings and in some aspects we are ranked No 1 so the UK and Australia are ranked 1&2 in the world so you are saying in your argument that it is the fault of the LNP that our system is what it is. Is it possible for us to be better than the best we already are?
    notelle
    19th Jul 2017
    5:50pm
    Of course I read the article Dim. Do you think I'm stupid?
    It (and you agreed) stated that we are now 2nd to the UK in the rankings. Therefore my argument is that if the LNP's had spent their energy to support our system instead of chipping away at it through the years - we would be number one in ALL aspects !
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    6:41pm
    "Is it possible for us to be better than the best we already are? "

    As a former Army general of my acquaintance once said (his most oft-repeated phrase).. "There is always woom for impwovement...."

    (true story - not a Monty Python sketch)...
    Anonymous
    19th Jul 2017
    7:09pm
    notelle is now first in the queue holding hands out for government assistance, he/she is not stupid!!!!!!!!!
    Jim
    19th Jul 2017
    9:16pm
    The article clearly stated that we were No 1 in some of the aspects, to blame the LNP that it's their fault that we are not No 1 in all aspects is quite ridiculous, the UK's National health system has been around since 1948 whether we are No 1 or No 2 we still have a great system that is not even close to the US system. I don't think you are stupid, but by your response to the article I naturally assumed that you hadn't read it.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:23pm
    I don't think anyone is blaming the LNP for the relative shortcomings - the issue is that the LNP seem intent on dismantling what is a very good system and replacing it with a failed system like that of the United States.

    If they continue to cut back on Medicare and such... it is inevitable that many will consider that they are intent on dismantling a perfectly good system - rather like a pilot figuring his plane would fly better if he dismantled the control system and asked some outsider to fly the aircraft on his behalf ......

    There are, as has been discussed countless times - countless measures that any responsible government could take to avert some 'budget catastrophe' ...

    (thought I'd throw that one in - we've had 'budget emergency' from the likes of failed treasurer Fat Joey and Slim Tony - if the propaganda of EMERGENCY doesn't - let's look for a better one - try DISASTER or CATASTROPHE
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:23pm
    I don't think anyone is blaming the LNP for the relative shortcomings - the issue is that the LNP seem intent on dismantling what is a very good system and replacing it with a failed system like that of the United States.

    If they continue to cut back on Medicare and such... it is inevitable that many will consider that they are intent on dismantling a perfectly good system - rather like a pilot figuring his plane would fly better if he dismantled the control system and asked some outsider to fly the aircraft on his behalf ......

    There are, as has been discussed countless times - countless measures that any responsible government could take to avert some 'budget catastrophe' ...

    (thought I'd throw that one in - we've had 'budget emergency' from the likes of failed treasurer Fat Joey and Slim Tony - if the propaganda of EMERGENCY doesn't - let's look for a better one - try DISASTER or CATASTROPHE
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:23pm
    I don't think anyone is blaming the LNP for the relative shortcomings - the issue is that the LNP seem intent on dismantling what is a very good system and replacing it with a failed system like that of the United States.

    If they continue to cut back on Medicare and such... it is inevitable that many will consider that they are intent on dismantling a perfectly good system - rather like a pilot figuring his plane would fly better if he dismantled the control system and asked some outsider to fly the aircraft on his behalf ......

    There are, as has been discussed countless times - countless measures that any responsible government could take to avert some 'budget catastrophe' ...

    (thought I'd throw that one in - we've had 'budget emergency' from the likes of failed treasurer Fat Joey and Slim Tony - if the propaganda of EMERGENCY doesn't - let's look for a better one - try DISASTER or CATASTROPHE
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:23pm
    I don't think anyone is blaming the LNP for the relative shortcomings - the issue is that the LNP seem intent on dismantling what is a very good system and replacing it with a failed system like that of the United States.

    If they continue to cut back on Medicare and such... it is inevitable that many will consider that they are intent on dismantling a perfectly good system - rather like a pilot figuring his plane would fly better if he dismantled the control system and asked some outsider to fly the aircraft on his behalf ......

    There are, as has been discussed countless times - countless measures that any responsible government could take to avert some 'budget catastrophe' ...

    (thought I'd throw that one in - we've had 'budget emergency' from the likes of failed treasurer Fat Joey and Slim Tony - if the propaganda of EMERGENCY doesn't - let's look for a better one - try DISASTER or CATASTROPHE
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:31pm
    That's not mine. Baby! Honest! I only hit once!!
    Rosret
    19th Jul 2017
    2:20pm
    As you age teeth give up. Going to the dentist for a six monthly check IS a waste of time for the elderly because there is a really good chance you will be back for something major during the year anyway.
    I went to a "cheap" dentist, paid $250 for two hours of agony and then returned to my very good expensive dentist to have it all fixed painlessly two months later at a cost of $2500. So the choice is pay for the best or put up with the rest.
    Some people pay for trips to Malaysia and China and get their teeth fixed OS.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:24pm
    My teeth have been progressively committing suicide for years now.... swines.....
    Triss
    19th Jul 2017
    9:31pm
    What gets me, Rosret, when I was much younger adult and went to the dentist all my teeth got looked at and any fillings were done before I went out the door.
    Now when I go to the dentist if I have a chipped tooth that gets put right and none of the other teeth are looked at or I'm charged for a double appointment and if there is a filling needed I have to make yet another appointment. Three appointment just to get my teeth looked at. And the gap charge seems to be nearly as much as the health fund is charged.
    Yes, yes, I know, I'm whingeing.
    Triss
    19th Jul 2017
    9:34pm
    For the last few years, Trebor, we've been told that stem cell treatment for growing teeth is very close. I wish it would hurry up.
    LiveItUp
    19th Jul 2017
    10:51pm
    They already know how to grow teeth but it will be put on the back burner as it will put too many dentists etc out of work.
    Old Geezer
    19th Jul 2017
    5:22pm
    You get what you pay for like a lot of things in life.
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    6:34pm
    So your level of healthcare depends on how deep your pocket is?

    Thanks for that revelation....
    Old Geezer
    19th Jul 2017
    6:41pm
    Definitely if you want control of your health. If not then rely on Medicare and hope for the best.
    Anonymous
    19th Jul 2017
    7:10pm
    agree
    TREBOR
    19th Jul 2017
    9:27pm
    So - the unemployed 64 year old can starve on the streets rather than get a bed in a hospital for a crisis?

    Thank you two for coming - first exit on the right as you face rear on the aircraft, parachutes are limited and you are at the back of the row...... sorry.....

    Don't you two children have homework to do?
    Jim
    19th Jul 2017
    10:20pm
    In actual fact you don't get what you pay for, a mate of mine went into hospital to have a quadruple by-pass he went into a public hospital as a private patient, the chap in the next bed to him was having the same operation as my mate, the only difference was this other chap was in as a public patient. They both had the same surgeon, they were given the same medication, they had the same nurses, my mate did have a free paper and tv that the public patient didn't get, but he did borrow my mates paper. In the weeks after the operation, my mate received bills totalling over $1000 which were the excess that his health fund didn't cover. What a great system we have, I don't believe all the doom and gloom that we hear re dismantling of our health system, it's worth noting that th UK opposition is saying exactly the same about their government trying to dismantle their national health system, I find it strange that the two best health system's in the world are being undermined by a clear agenda from the left wing of both these countries. I suppose if these two oppositions have got nothing to offer then they have to create some sort of disquiet to try and claim government.
    LiveItUp
    19th Jul 2017
    10:49pm
    The public patient probably had a trainee practice on him with the surgeon reading the paper in the corner. I'd rather pay the extra myself.
    Anonymous
    20th Jul 2017
    2:54am
    Wrong, OG and Bonny. You DO NOT get what you pay for, and the public patient DID NOT have a trainee practice on him. Dim is absolutely correct. Private insurance is a rort - far too expensive and poor value.

    I had three operations in one year. I went private for two and got massive gap bills for TERRIBLE care. For the third, I dropped out of private insurance and went public. The care was first class and it didn't cost me a cent.

    I was horrified when a relative, a father of four young kids, dropped out of private cover. A year later his wife was diagnosed with cancer. He said cancelling private cover was the best thing he ever did. She got top class care for free. A privately-insured friend, in similar circumstances, went bankrupt paying the ''gap'' charges for his wife's treatment, and his wife was treated exactly the same, by the same staff, in the same ward as my relative's wife.

    The private insurance system is seriously messed up. Before I dropped out, I was offered discounts on Nike shoes and trips to SeaWorld, but I couldn't get essential medical care paid for in full. Ultimately, I could see no value at all in paying for the privilege of copping huge ''gap'' costs when excellent care was available free!

    And in every case, doctors in the private system were less dedicated and less diligent than those who worked in public hospitals. I have never had an issue with a public doctor or dentist. I've had major issues with highly paid medical specialists who won't work in the public system.
    Anonymous
    20th Jul 2017
    3:03am
    Also, went to the ER in a strange country town while travelling because I had respiratory problems. Admitted immediately. Had no less than 6 nurses and 2 doctors diligently examining me and administering relief treatments. X-rayed. Placed in a lovely private room with ensuite. Fed excellent meals. Received superb care. They even gave my partner meals and a reclining chair to sleep in. I was well again and discharged within 48 hours, despite being seriously ill and critically dehydrated on admission. Discharged with a beaming smile and not even a hint of requesting/expecting a cent in payment.

    I dread to think of the gap charges if I'd had private cover, but for certain I could not have received better care if I'd been paying millions.
    LiveItUp
    20th Jul 2017
    8:01am
    Why are you paying gaps or excess in publuc hospitals by being a private patient? I have never been charged them as public hospitals are glad to accept the extra funds from your private health fund without any excess. I also have never been charged any gaps in the private hospital system. I also never get charged by specialists or doctors as they just bill medicare. I am not on welfare or hold any sort of health care card. With private health insurance I get the care with the roctor I choose when I need it not wait months on some waiting list. No extra charges so worth every penny including the free glasses and free dental as well.
    Anonymous
    20th Jul 2017
    9:27am
    Strange that the rest of Australia can't find this utopia you claim to live in Bonny - because it doesn't exist! You are full of it. Gaps are a fact of life for the privately insured. And glasses aren't free unless you choose very cheap ones. Dental is so limited that the private cover is virtually worthless to anyone with significant dental problems.

    I have never waited for public hospital treatment except for one non-urgent procedure that I waited 2 weeks for. The equivalent procedure in a private hospital the previous year involved a 9-week wait. And I've had better doctors in the public system than I've ever found in the private system. Those who work in public hospitals are dedicated and caring, not just money hungry.

    No system is perfect and there will always be folk with complaints about both public and private health, but at least if you save the premiums you can afford to pay for the occasional more costly procedure if necessary. The premiums certainly exceed the cost of mine and my partner's glasses and dental care many times over!
    Retired Knowall
    20th Jul 2017
    12:33pm
    Not Utopia, when we went to a Public Hospital all expenses were covered, no out of pocket and got free parking vouchers for the family, own room when available and a daily newspaper.
    Sorry if that spoils your story.
    Old Geezer
    20th Jul 2017
    2:31pm
    Agree those parking vouchers are a real money saving thanks to private health insurance. Also that free TV is not cheap in excess of $10 a day if you have to pay for it.

    Free preventive dental is over $500 a year for each person covered alone and glasses would costs us over $500 each if the fund didn't pay for them. That's our premium back without any other extras.

    Many good doctors work in both public and private hospital systems now too.
    Anonymous
    21st Jul 2017
    2:08am
    Expensive glasses you are choosing, OG. Mine cost $220 and I only replace them every second year. They look great and work perfectly. The optometrist examination is free.

    I don't need ''preventative'' dental. The dental work I need no fund will pay more than $250 towards, and I'm looking at costs of thousands.

    As for parking vouchers, where? I can name hundreds of parents of sick children who are going broke fast paying for parking at hospitals and there are petitions circulating to politicians to address the problem. We spent over $2000 in parking costs to visit a relative who had cancer and her spouse's spending was more than double that - and NO voucher!

    I did have procedures in public hospitals that were covered in full by medical insurance. I dropped out of private because those were the exception rather than the rule. The gap payments were common and substantial. I could afford the premiums. I couldn't afford the ''gaps''. In the end, I did a detailed spreadsheet analysis and found saving the premium and going public whenever possible yielded far better results.

    I paid for years to a fund to cover corrective surgery for a child who was born with a deformed jaw. When the time came for the surgery, the Fund decided it was ''optional cosmetic'' and therefore not covered. For 8 years they had taken my premium payments on the basis that it would be. I appealed, but got nowhere. I was hit with a $25,000 bill to fix a jaw that couldn't close sufficiently for the child to eat! There was nothing 'optional' about the treatment!

    An employer in my early working life told me never to pay health insurance, but to save my premiums in my early ''healthier'' working years and buy an investment house that would cover costs when I had a family and health costs started to increase. I wish I'd been in a position to take that advice. I would have been a lot better off today.
    Old Geezer
    21st Jul 2017
    11:44am
    Maybe you should ask the right person for those parking vouchers but as you don't have private health cover then you may not be entitled to them.

    No wonder you have major dental problems with all those years of neglect by ignoring the need for preventive dental treatment. I wouldn't have all my teeth as I do today if it hadn't been for my preventive dental treatment twice a year. Problems are easily fixed before they become major ones.

    I have got more back that I have paid for Health Insurance for many years now so saving the premium would have had me well behind.
    Anonymous
    22nd Jul 2017
    3:24am
    There you go again with your vile nasty assumptions blaming others for their misfortune, you horrid man OG! My dental problems stem from a disadvantaged childhood. The damage was done long before I was old enough to decide whether or not to pay for preventative care. And I could never afford preventative care anyway when I was prioritizing expensive health care for a special needs child who, thanks to that expensive care, was able to escape a life on disability benefits and make her own way in life.

    As for parking vouchers, if they are a feature of private health cover, then we live in a sick world because that means the neediest, with chronically or terminally ill spouses or children, are slugged with unaffordable costs so the rich can party. That's sick and disgusting! I will continue to support petition for reform of such a vile and cruel system.

    If you've got more back than you paid for Health Insurance then you are the exeption. The system is geared for the insurance company's to profit. Only an idiot would suppose the majority can get back more than they pay! Most will lose so the insurance companies can thrive. That's plain common sense, Old Greedy!
    Strummer
    20th Jul 2017
    8:11am
    If you want a perfect health care system, emigrate to La-La Land. Very good suits me just fine.
    Retired Knowall
    20th Jul 2017
    12:35pm
    Would not help, this mob would complain if you gave them Gold.
    They would complain it was too heavy.
    Old Geezer
    20th Jul 2017
    2:44pm
    Agree with this lot the more you give them the more they want. I just wish they would change the prescription system so that you only get generic drugs for the health care card price as most want the "real" drug as they say they are entitled to it.

    Talking of medication I got a prescription today for a skin condition that cost me $62 and my medical fund is going to cover the cost of it. Just love health insurance.
    Anonymous
    21st Jul 2017
    2:10am
    ''Disadvantaged'', OG, yet you can afford private health insurance? Stop the lies please! You really are disgusting.
    Anonymous
    21st Jul 2017
    2:22am
    There's a huge difference between ''complaining'' and examining a system to identify problems and consider where improvements can be made.

    Retired Knowall and OG, your comments are very nasty and reflect lack of empathy and disgusting ignorance. There may be many who have just cause to complain, because they have suffered hardship or injustice. Others are very content with their lot but want to see improvements for the benefit of the less fortunate.

    There is NO indication here that anyone here is unreasonably dissatisfied, or would never be content. Only that some are intelligent enough to identify areas of potential improvement for national benefit.

    We live in a great country. Some of us want it to stay that way. Having observed that most of our politicians are fools who want to copy systems that DON'T work as well as ours, I worry that we might go down the American path of making health care available only to the rich. We used to have a great private health insurance system that nearly everyone could afford to contribute to. It's now outrageously expensive.

    I'd like to see (1) the quality of the current system preserved, with no unwelcome deterioration; and (2) where possible, improvements that will make a better system for everyone.

    Frankly, I think all three of you are very nasty and disgracefully disrespectful to comment as you do, and your attitude is dangerous. It's attitudes like yours that allow problems to continue and grow rather than being recognized and resolved.
    Retired Knowall
    21st Jul 2017
    9:37am
    It's obvious you don't know the difference between complaining and examining. I suggest you read your posts and see if get a clue. It seem your purpose in life is to act as a warning to others. In my life when I see something wrong, if I do something to fix it, I take action, you on the other hand bitch and moan and blame others. Grow Up and take responsibility for your situation.
    LiveItUp
    21st Jul 2017
    9:41am
    Rainey your clmments are those of one who would never be satisfied no matter how good you had it even with tne best money could buy. No wonder you are so miserable and down on others that see the world as a much brighter place than you do.
    Old Geezer
    21st Jul 2017
    11:46am
    I agree Retired Knowall. It is predicable when someone has an agenda that they discredit anyone that has any opposition to that agenda.
    Anonymous
    22nd Jul 2017
    3:13am
    Yes OG, and yours and Bonny's agendas are very obvious. You continually discredit anyone who disagrees with your arrogant, self-serving assertions that you should have more and everyone else should have less. You shout demands for cruel abuse of people who are struggling but striving and for deprivation of anyone who has achieved a modest level of security but not become rich. You make your agenda very clear - both of you.

    Retired Knowall, when I see something wrong I do something. I have taken responsibility for my situation. I raised myself and my family out of hardship you couldn't even begin to imagine, and I am self-sufficient in retirement despite suffering hideous disadvantage. And now I speak up when I see ways to influence improvement in society that would enable others to do the same - while you simply criticize and condemn people and gloat about your superior privilege. It's you who needs to grow up. Acquire some compassion and human decency. Learn to treat others with respect.
    Anonymous
    22nd Jul 2017
    3:16am
    BTW. Bonny, your stupid comment evidences an inability to read and comprehend. I've repeatedly said I'm very happy with my lot in life. I have done well and I'm enjoying the rewards of a lifetime of hard work. But unlike the self-serving over-indulged, I've experienced extreme hardship and gross injustice and I know what is wrong with the system and what can and should be addressed to make it better. And I will continue to speak out to try to drive awareness. Self-serving arrogant over-privileged people wearing blinkers won't silence me.
    Retired Knowall
    24th Jul 2017
    2:39pm
    Tell us what you have actually done that's productive to fix an issue.
    lainee
    25th Jul 2017
    10:00pm
    Triss recalls correctly---back in the fifties and sixties a dental consultation re some required work -for example a new toothache--automatically included a full examination as well as the aching tooth attended to- The dentist then reported the state of your teeth and advised on any future work required. Same with GP consultations. Firstly, the doctor read your past info before you walked in- They automatically listened to your chest sounds, BP, as well as attending to the issue you went there for.Today.s 10 minute specials are often wanting re correct diagnosis with much time wasted with the doctor using the computor while listening to the patient. This 'time is money' atmosphere isn't so great for thrashing out more complex presentations, side effects etc. There is also a push to limit various tests. Some of these tests
    gave me the correct diagnosis for serious problems which the GP's had not considered.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles