The Australian National Health Account

The Australian National Health Account (ANHA) is an annual financial-year estimate of health expenditure in Australia, produced by the AIHW. It is published in the Health expenditure Australia (HEA) report series as well as forming the basis of Australia’s submission to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and World Health Organisation annual health accounts collection.

Health expenditure is defined as spending on health goods and services, which includes medical care (both in and out of hospital); pharmaceuticals; public health; rehabilitation; community health activities; health administration and regulation; health research; and capital formation.

The estimate of health expenditure reported in HEA provides information disaggregated by both funding source and area of health spending, reflecting the structure of funding in the Australian health system (Figure 32).

Broadly, HEA presents the latest expenditure information, as well as trends for:

  • the total amount spent on health in Australia, in current and constant prices
  • the amount spent by the source of fundings including Australian Government, state and territory governments and non-government sources
  • the amount spent on different types of health goods and services (“areas of expenditure”), such as hospitals, primary health care, referred medical services, health and medical research and capital expenditure.

The AIHW has been reporting on health spending for more than three decades. However, measuring health expenditure in Australia first began in the 1970s. A history of health expenditure data development in Australia can be found in Australian national health and welfare accounts: concepts and data sources (AIHW 2003).

Figure 32: The structure and funding of Australia’s health system

This figure shows who spends money on health care, and where this money is spent. It shows the flow of funding to different areas of health spending, as well as the flow of funds between funders themselves.