More than half of Australian households are still living with the cost of their healthcare bills, according to new research.
The data shows that almost two thirds of households still pay the same amount each month in their healthcare costs and it shows that many Australians are struggling to pay.
The research, released on Tuesday by the Australian National University’s Centre for Health and Social Policy, found that people with lower incomes are more likely to be in financial hardship.
In 2015-16, more than 6 in 10 people with less than $50,000 in disposable income had bills for health and care costs, while just over half of people with $100,000 to $200,000 a year were in the same situation.
The Centre for Economic Performance said people with higher incomes were likely to have higher costs for health care, including hospital stays, prescription drug costs and prescriptions for prescription drugs.
The cost of a GP visit is $10.85 a day, while a GP appointment costs $25.00 a day.
It is estimated that around 3.5 million Australians pay between $10,000 and $20,000 for their healthcare.
While it was important to highlight the cost burden, the research showed that people were not getting much help from the Australian government.
“The government has a responsibility to ensure people are getting the best possible value for their money, but they haven’t done enough to address the financial hardship in households with lower income,” the Centre for Economics and Business Research’s David McWilliams said.
“There is also a gap between the amount spent on health care and the amount being spent on other important goods and services like education, housing and employment.”
The Centre on Budget Responsibility (CBR) said it was a shame that people didn’t have the resources to get the care they needed.
The survey also showed that while health care spending increased by $6 billion in the last financial year, the cost to Australians for their health was higher.
“For example, in 2015-2016, health care costs in Australia were up $3.4 billion in real terms, compared with $2.4 in real cost in 2013-2014,” the study found.
Health care costs have also grown over time, increasing by $7 billion in just one year in 2014-2015, and by $9 billion in one year last year.
More than half the cost is now going to pay for health services, including prescription drugs and dental treatments.
This means more than 50 per cent of Australians are still spending over $50 a month on health.
This was the result of spending on health-care costs going up at the same time the cost from Medicare increased.
“In some cases, this means people are now paying more out of pocket for healthcare services,” CBR chief executive Dr Ian MacGill said.
In the first quarter of 2017, people with incomes of more than $150,000 were the most likely to struggle financially, with a median monthly household income of $83,000.
The study also found that the cost for hospital care rose by $3 billion in a year and the cost paid by people with low incomes rose by another $2 billion.
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