April 27, 2010

AUSTRALIA: Older Australians have costlier healthcare

. SYDNEY, NSW / Australian Aging Agenda / Health Care / April 27, 2010 More money is spent on health for older Australians than other age groups because they are more likely to have chronic diseases and life-threatening illnesses. An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report on health expenditure for disease and injury in 2004-05 found that more than a fifth of health spending, or $11 billion, was directed towards people aged 75 and over. Those aged 75 to 84 made up the costliest age group, with $8 billion allocated to managing their diseases and injuries. Only $3 billion was spent on the health care needs of people aged 85 and over but this was because there was a smaller number of people in that age group. At $7.9 billion, health expenditure for people aged 65 to 74 was only marginally higher than healthcare costs of those aged 55 to 64, which reached $7.5 billion. But on a per person basis, healthcare spending on those aged 65 to 74 was 66 per cent higher than the younger age group. Healthcare costs for males aged 55 and over were higher than those for females. This was partly because older men were more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, the report said. The AIHW’s report on health expenditure in 2004-05 did not include data from residents in high level residential aged care. [rc] © The Intermedia Group. Illustrative photo courtesy WA Government