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Variation in the costs of healthcare for chronic disease in Australia: The case of asthma, CHERE Working Paper 2008/7

Listed author(s):
  • Patsy Kenny


    (CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney)

  • Jane Hall


    (CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney)

  • Madeleine King
Registered author(s):

    Objectives Individuals with chronic conditions represent a high healthcare cost group and understanding the cost variation among individuals is important for developing appropriate policy. This study aimed to investigate the sources of variation in the cost of healthcare for a cohort of people with asthma. It examines the costs to the health system and patient out-of-pocket costs. Methods A longitudinal observational study of asthma-related healthcare costs in a cohort of people with asthma (n=252). Participants were followed for three years using six-monthly postal surveys and individual administrative data. The factors associated with health system and patient out-of-pocket costs were investigated using generalised linear mixed models. Results There was substantial variability around the average costs of healthcare for asthma which were associated with asthma-related health measures and socio-demographic variables. The health system costs were less for those living in regional areas relative to Sydney residents and both the health system and patient out-of-pocket costs were highest in the oldest age group and lowest for children. The health system and patient out-of-pocket costs were highest for the high income group while the middle income group had the lowest total cost. Conclusions Our findings suggest that variations should be explored in developing strategies for chronic disease management and that Australia has achieved reasonable equity in access. However, out-of-pocket costs may be a deterrent for the middle income group, which should be a general concern for policies targeting the most disadvantaged group to the exclusion of concern with universal access.

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    File Function: First version, December 2008
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    Paper provided by CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney in its series Working Papers with number 2008/7.

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    Date of creation: Dec 2008
    Handle: RePEc:her:chewps:2008/7
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    1. Buntin, Melinda Beeuwkes & Zaslavsky, Alan M., 2004. "Too much ado about two-part models and transformation?: Comparing methods of modeling Medicare expenditures," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 525-542, May.
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