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The determinants of the demand for private health insurance under Medicare

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Since the introduction of Medicare in 1984, the proportion of the Australian population with private health insurance has declined considerably. Insurance for health care consumption is compulsory for the public health sector but optional for the private health sector. In this paper, we explore a number of important issues in the demand for private health insurance in Australia. The socio-economic variables which influence demand are examined using a binary logit model. A number of simulations are performed to highlight the influence and relative importance of various characteristics such as age, income, health status and geographical location on demand. A number of important policy issues in the private health insurance market are highlighted. First, evidence is provided of adverse selection in the private health insurance pool, second, the notion of the wealthy uninsured is refuted, and finally it is confirmed that there are significant interstate differences in the demand for private health insurance.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 1996

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