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Challenges and Solutions in Constructing a Microsimulation Model of the Use and Costs of Medical Services in Australia


  • Sharyn Lymer

    () (NATSEM, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, 2601, Australia)

  • Laurie Brown

    () (NATSEM, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, 2601, Australia)

  • Ann Harding

    () (NATSEM, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, 2601, Australia)

  • Alicia Payne

    () (Department of Treasury, Langton Crescent, Parkes Act 2600, Australia)


This paper describes the development of a microsimulation model =HealthMod which simulates the use and costs of medical and related services by Australian families. Australia has a universal social insurance scheme known as =Medicare which provides all Australians with access to free or low-cost essential medical services. These services are provided primarily by general practitioners as well as specialist doctors but also include diagnostic and imaging services. Individuals may pay a direct out-of pocket contribution if fees charged for services are higher than the reimbursement schedule set by government. HealthMod is based on the Australian 2001 National Health Survey. This survey had a number of deficiencies in terms of modelling the national medical benefits scheme. The article outlines three major methodological steps that had to be taken in the model construction: the imputation of synthetic families, the imputation of short-term health conditions, and the annualisation of doctor visits and costs. Some preliminary results on the use of doctor services subsidised through Australias Medicare are presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharyn Lymer & Laurie Brown & Ann Harding & Alicia Payne, 2011. "Challenges and Solutions in Constructing a Microsimulation Model of the Use and Costs of Medical Services in Australia," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 4(3), pages 17-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:ijm:journl:v:4:y:2011:i:3:p:17-31

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Annie Abello & Sharyn Lymer & Laurie Brown & Ann Harding & Ben Phillips, 2008. "Enhancing the Australian National Health Survey Data for Use in a Microsimulation Model of Pharmaceutical Drug Usage and Cost," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 11(3), pages 1-2.
    2. Laurie Brown & Annie Abello & Ben Phillips & Ann Harding, 2004. "Moving towards an Improved Microsimulation Model of the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 37(1), pages 41-61, March.
    3. Rodgers, Willard L, 1984. "An Evaluation of Statistical Matching," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(1), pages 91-102, January.
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