Private health insurance is meant to take pressure off the public system. But with exclusionary policies, people are increasingly avoiding the levies and using the public system anyway.
In the final instalment of our series, Lesley Russell asks whether Australians need private health insurance, and what a two-tiered systems means for quality, access and equity.
Any new such financing system would need to carefully balance competition and choice, with affordability of coverage and equal access to quality care.
Private insurance, by its very nature, suppresses price signals and encourages over-servicing and cost escalation.
Some people balk at the cost of private insurance – especially the relatively young and healthy – because they don't see the value of it when they are already covered under Medicare.
How much do Australians pay for private health insurance?
The half of Australians who have private health insurance will be face higher bills from Wednesday, as insurance premiums increase by an industry average of 6.18%.
All Australian residents have access to Medicare, so why do half the population also decide to take out private health insurance?