Impact of out-of-pocket costs on people in rural areas

Monday, 19 May 2014

New evidence from the NRHA shows that the Budget proposal for a GP co-payment on out-of-pocket health care costs would have particularly severe consequences for people in rural and remote areas - and for their GPs.

If the proposal for a seven dollar co-payment for those bulk-billed and a higher patient charge for other services is implemented, there would be a doubling of average out-of-pocket costs for each GP consultation in all geographical areas.

But the Alliance's Submission to the Senate Inquiry on the matter reveals that it would be rural and remote people - already the sickest - who would be worst affected.

Poor access to GPs and a range of socio-economic disadvantages result, among other things, in a higher rate of admissions to hospitals and a higher rate of potentially avoidable hospitalisations. These important issues are summarised in a special policy paper on the impact of out-of-pocket costs on people in rural areas.

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