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Healthcare outpricing chronically ill

Australians with chronic conditions are more likely to skip healthcare because of cost than their counterparts in Canada, France, Germany and the UK, new research has suggested.

The study found 1 in 4 chronically ill Australians is avoiding healthcare because of high costs.

Dr Emily Callander, senior research fellow in health economics at James Cook University, said people with mental health conditions were particularly affected.

“More than 40 per cent of people with depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions stated that they skipped healthcare treatment because of the cost,” Callander said.

The study found adults with mental health conditions had 95 per cent higher household out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure, while those with asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease had 109 per cent higher household out-of-pocket expenditure than those with no health condition.

Callander, from JCU’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine, said the findings had clear implications for government policy. “Successive federal governments have talked about increasing out-of-pocket costs. It shows the importance of these discussions and that in the back of our mind, we should always consider the implications for access.”

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