Australia has the seventh most efficient healthcare system in the world, according to a study that was recently conducted by Bloomberg.
We were beat out by Hong Kong, which took the top spot, followed by Singapore, Japan, Israel, Spain and Italy – but making it into the top 10 is still something to be proud of!
The study judged each country on three criteria: life expectancy, healthcare costs (as a percentage of GDP per capita) and overall healthcare costs (per capita).
Bloomberg explained that only countries with over five million people, a minimum GDP (per capita) of $5,000 and a life expectancy of at least 70 years were included in the study.
The life expectancy of the average Australian is 81.8 years, which means we are "on a par with other high performing countries in this ranking".
This is according to Alison Verhoeven, who is chief executive officer of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).
She added that this means Australia's "investment in a universal healthcare system is a winning model".
Because all the countries involved in this study have such different approaches to healthcare, the extent to which they can be directly compared with one another is limited.
However, Ms Verhoeven says that the data indicates "a possible relationship between life expectancy and universal healthcare," which she thinks should be looked into further.
Medicare, our universal healthcare system, has been the subject of much debate leading up to the election.
The MLS is usually about 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent of your annual income. It is required of most Australian taxpayers, and is in addition to the Medicare Levy, which is 1.5 per cent of your salary.
While Ms Verhoeven believes Medicare is a "winning model" that has been benefiting Australians for almost 30 years, she still thinks the current system is a little rough around the edges.
In a media statement, released on August 11, she said that Medicare provides the country with a "good base for universal healthcare," but that out-of-pocket costs for medical treatment are still having a significant impact on many.
She explained that those in rural and remote areas often struggle to access timely healthcare, and waiting times in public hospitals "can be very long".
In addition to this, Australia is now facing an ageing population, as well as healthcare costs that are continually rising and an ever-increasing number of people with chronic illnesses.
All of this adds up, and it puts a significant amount of strain on the Australian healthcare system.
Ms Verhoeven also said its puts into question "the sustainability of the current approach to universal healthcare".
She, and the AHHA, are not calling for a complete overhaul of Medicare.
On the contrary, Ms Verhoeven believes this healthcare system was built on strong principles – namely "equity, efficiency, simplicity and universality" – and a few tweaks to the rules and regulations that are already in place might help it to function better.
She also says Australia needs to work on the balance between the public and private sectors, to ensure Medicare and private health insurance can work together in "an equitable and fiscally sustainable way".
If you are interested in taking out Australian health insurance, or would just like some information about the options that are available to you and your family, get in touch with HICA today.
We can provide you with expert advice and a private health insurance comparison.