PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE
Private health insurance is additional health cover to that provided under Medicare, to reimburse all or part of the cost of hospital and/or ancillary services incurred by an individual.
Information was obtained about respondents' private health insurance arrangements current at the time of the survey. Health cover provided or arranged through employers was included. Ambulance only cover, and cover arranged under Veteran's Affairs or other government health benefits cards, was excluded.
Information was collected for persons aged 18 years and over in the NHS.
Respondents were asked if they were currently covered by private health insurance, and if so, the type of cover and type of membership they had, the reasons they had cover, and how long they had been covered.
Respondents without current private health insurance were asked the reasons why they did not have cover. More than one reason was able to be provided for why a respondent did or did not have private health insurance. Interviewers were encouraged to prompt respondents (for example, 'Are there any other reasons?') to ensure as much information as possible was recorded.
Type of cover refers to whether persons were covered for hospital expenses, expenses for ancillary services, or both hospital and ancillary expenses. Private insurance for hospital expenses provides cover for the costs of accommodation in private hospitals and private accommodation in public hospitals, while ancillary cover includes services such as but not limited to dental, physiotherapy, optical and acupuncture services.
Type of membership refers to whether the respondent was covered under a family, couple, sole parent or single person insurance policy.
Data items and related output categories for this topic will be available in Excel spreadsheet format from the Downloads page of this product.
Points to be considered when interpreting data for this topic include the following.
Comparability with 2007-08
- While efforts are made to ensure that only legitimate private health insurance was reported, some respondents may have reported life, accident or other forms of insurance.
- Data reflect respondents' perceptions of their insurance cover, which may not necessarily correspond to their actual cover. Data are therefore not directly comparable with statistics on health insurance levels compiled from fund membership information and published by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.
- Respondents may have been unaware of their coverage/lack of coverage under a family or couple membership where the arrangements were administered by another person (for example, their spouse).
- Type of cover was only collected at the very broad levels of hospital only, ancillary only, or both hospital and ancillary. Within each of these categories, the actual type and level of cover provided can differ significantly.
- Length of time insured relates to the current episode of insurance. Previous periods of insurance which have lapsed or been terminated are excluded.
Questions asked in the 2011-12 NHS were identical to those asked in the 2007-08 NHS and therefore data items are directly comparable. However, in 2011-12 only persons aged 18 years and over were asked questions about private health insurance, whereas in 2007-08 questions were asked of persons aged 15 and over.