3 Limitations of Australia’s Public Healthcare System and How to Deal with them

James Wilson
May 7, 2018
599 Views

 

Australia has a fairly decent healthcare system. According to the OECD, the nation’s life expectancy is the sixth highest in the world. However, there are some key challenges that Australian citizens face while navigating the healthcare system.

Many of the problems stem from rationing policies intended to curb costs. These policies have been effective and even necessary in a lot of ways. Adjusted for PPP, Australian healthcare costs are still considerably lower than those in many other countries. The public sector pays approximately 2,500 USD per citizen, compared to 4,000 USD per citizen in the United States.

At the same time, healthcare rationing in the public sector has led to some important challenges that need to be addressed.  Here are some of the issues that Australians face with the public healthcare system, as well as some strategies they are taking to avoid them.

Dealing with long wait times

Australia does a much better job ensuring access to healthcare than the United States. However, the timeliness of their healthcare delivery services leaves room for improvement. The University of Sydney conducted a survey on Australians that chose to purchase private health insurance. They surprisingly found that 50% of Australian citizens purchased a private health insurance policy either on their own or through their employer.

By far the biggest reason that they chose to purchase a private health insurance plan was the long wait times in the public hospitals. According to one report listed in Science Direct, wait times for many services where lower in Australia then every other country listed except for Scotland. However, this data leaves out a lot of context. Keep in mind that 50% of Australians chose to purchase private health insurance policies to get more timely access to the hospital system. The prevalence of patients with private Health insurance in most other countries is much lower. The same can be said for patients in Australia that lack private health insurance policies.

READ
Why You Should Perform a HIPAA Risk Assessment

Emergency room wait times in Australia are one of the biggest concerns. At the national level, the average patient needs to wait two hours and 48 minutes to receive care. The problems are most concerning in South Australia, where the average wait time continues to rise every year. Patients that purchased private health insurance policies have avoided these issues, which is one of the reasons that over half of Australians currently depend on private healthcare sector.

Lack of Life Insurance Policies

Australia’s healthcare system offers many things, but life insurance is not on the list. This can be very problematic for a breadwinner that develops a chronic medical problem, because their family may be left destitute. It can also be an issue for tradies that get injured and don’t have disability coverage.

The good news is that they can get a tbp insurance quote for a lot of great life insurance plans on the private market. Aussies can purchase these to cover themselves against a chronic medical problem.

Getting coverage for dental, vision and long-term care

Australia has a very generous public health care system relative to the United States. However, it doesn’t cover every service that citizens may need. Dental, vision and long-term care or among the important services that people don’t get coverage for. The system does cover prescription medications, which is something that the Canadian healthcare system lacks. However, many Australians without private health insurance find themselves unable to get certain treatments they need to live a comfortable life.

Over the past 20 years, a growing number of private health insurance companies have strived to fill this void. They offer some very generous dental and vision plans that have improved the quality of life for many Australians.