More than AU$185 billion, or almost $7,500 per person, was spent on health goods and services in Australia during 2017–18, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
“Total health spending increased by $2.2 billion in 2017–18 to $185.4 billion in constant prices. This was a 1.2% increase on 2016–17 against a backdrop of 3.9% average annual growth over the decade,” said AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster.
The lower growth rate in 2017–18 was partly due to the previous year having included one-off capital expenditure on projects including the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.
“Governments funded twothirds ($126.7 billion) of total health spending in 2017–18, with the Australian government contributing $77.1 billion – $1.8 billion more than the previous year. Australia’s state and territory governments spent $49.5 billion – $1.3 billion less than the previous year.
“Health expenditure by governments represented 24.4% of tax revenue, a decline from 2016–17 where 26% of tax revenue was spent on health,” he said, adding that “the decline in health expenditure as a proportion of tax revenue was primarily due to relatively rapid revenue growth when compared with previous years”.
In 2017–18, personal out of pocket health costs amounted to an average of $1,578 per person. Contributions to health spending by private health insurers rose by $400 million to $16.6 billion in 2017–18, with the insurers spending an average of $1,470 per person covered.