Out-of-pocket health care costs a burden for chronic health sufferers

Older people with multiple chronic health conditions are under significant financial pressure, a new National Seniors report has found.

The National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre report, The Health of Senior Australians and the Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Costs They Face, showed a prevalence of chronic conditions among mature age people who faced onerous out-of-pocket health care costs.

The report’s authors from the Australian National University found 570,000 people aged 55 years and over spend more than 10% of their income on health and about 250,000 spend over 20%.

The research showed that on average, older Australians spend $353 per quarter on out-of-pocket health care costs. Worryingly, those with five or more chronic conditions spend $882 per quarter which is almost six times as much as those with no chronic conditions.

National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said many older Australians will face problems paying for medical services because of the growing cost of health care which is rising faster than inflation.

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