Selection of private or public hospital care: examining the care-seeking behaviour of patients with private health insurance

Rana, Rezwanul Hasan and Alam, Khorshed ORCID: and Gow, Jeff (2020) Selection of private or public hospital care: examining the care-seeking behaviour of patients with private health insurance. BMC Health Services Research, 20:380. pp. 1-17. ISSN 1472-6963

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This study aimed to examine the healthcare-seeking (hospital, primary and preventive care) and healthcare utilisation behaviour of patients with private health insurance (PHI) in Australia. It also aimed to examine the socioeconomic, demographic and lifestyle factors that influence the choice of hospital care in Australia.

A logistic regression model with repeated measure t-test and Pearson’s Chi-square test were used to identify the factors that affect the choice of care. Data from waves 9 (2009) and 13 (2013) of the nationally-representative Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey were used in the analysis.

Patients with PHI had a higher number of hospital nights’ stay despite having a lower number of hospital admissions than those without private cover. Significant disparities were identified in preventive and specialist care use between patients with cover and without cover. No significant variations were observed in healthcare utilisation for PHI patients before and after dropping PHI. One in four patients chose to use public hospitals despite holding PHI cover. Moreover, those insured and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those who were younger and without long-term health conditions showed a higher probability of selecting public rather than private care.

It is evident that PHI cover encourages people to use private care. However, a considerable number of PHI patients are using public care, even though eligible for private care may indicate consumer information asymmetry.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce (1 Jul 2013 - 17 Jan 2021)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2020 03:59
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 02:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia; Care-seeking; Healthcare use; Hospitals; HILDA
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes
C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
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