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released: 2 Nov 2011 author: AIHW media release

In 2008-09, health expenditure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people varied across remoteness areas, service types and disease groupings. The greatest difference in expenditure between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was in Remote and very remote areas where, for every dollar spent per non-Indigenous Australian, $2.41 was spent per Indigenous Australian. Expenditure on genitourinary diseases, and mental and behavioural disorders, accounted for the highest proportions of admitted patient expenditure for Indigenous Australians (11% and 10% respectively). Additional analysis has been undertaken in the 2008-09 report to include expenditure on potentially preventable hospitalisations.

ISSN 1323-5850; ISBN 978-1-74249-220-9; Cat. no. HWE 54; 30pp.; Internet Only

Summary

This report complements Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2008–09 (AIHW 2011) by providing a more detailed analysis of health expenditure estimates for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Estimates are disaggregated at the regional level as well as for specific disease and injury groups.

Health expenditure in 2008–09:

  • Overall, for every dollar spent per non-Indigenous Australian, $1.39 was spent on Indigenous Australian (AIHW 2011).
  • Expenditure on health services varied depending on the service. However, on the total selected health services in this report—admitted patients, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs), Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)—expenditure was higher for Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians. For every dollar spent per non-Indigenous Australian, $1.55 was spent per Indigenous Australian.
  • Expenditure on these selected health services varied depending on location, generally increasing with remoteness. The difference was greatest in Remote and very remote areas where, for every dollar spent per non-Indigenous Australian, $2.41 was spent per Indigenous Australian.
  • For MBS and PBS expenditure, however, the amount spent on Indigenous Australians was generally lower than for non-Indigenous Australians. On average, for every $1.00 spent per non-Indigenous Australian on MBS services, $0.58 was spent per Indigenous Australian.
  • PBS expenditure per person was lower for Indigenous Australians across all remoteness areas, except in Remote and very remote areas, where for every dollar spent per non-Indigenous Australian, $1.22 was spent per Indigenous Australian.
  • The average cost per hospital separation was higher for Indigenous than non-Indigenous Australians in Major cities and Inner regional areas.

Hospital expenditure by disease group in 2008–09:

  • Genitourinary diseases (including those for which dialysis is a treatment) were responsible for the highest proportion of hospital separations among both Indigenous (45% of all hospital separations) and non-Indigenous Australians (16%).
  • In 2008–09, genitourinary diseases (11%) and mental and behavioural disorders (10%), accounted for the highest proportion of admitted patient expenditure for Indigenous Australians, while cardiovascular diseases (12%) and unintentional injuries (10%) were the highest expenditure areas for non-Indigenous admitted patients.

Potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPH) in 2008–09:

  • The highest expenditure for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians was for diabetes complications ($95 and $24 per person respectively) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ($55 and $23 respectively); both chronic condition PPH.
  • In the acute conditions group, the highest PPH expenditure per Indigenous Australian.

Recommended citation

AIHW 2011. Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2008-09: an analysis by remoteness and disease. Health and welfare expenditure series no. 45. Cat. no. HWE 54. Canberra: AIHW. Viewed 20 October 2014 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737420243>.