Comparisons between the UK and the Australian Medical system
The Government charge to provide the Free Medical service:
In the UK, all employees pay a certain amount of their wage as the National Health Insurance (NHI) contribution.
In Australia, all employees also pay a certain amount of their wage as the National Health (Medicare Levy) contribution.
The average wage earners pay the following:
£2,250 per month wage = £195 in NHI contributions or 8.67%
$5,500 per month wage = $82.50 in Medicare Levy or 1.5%
Comparing both in the one currency: UK £195 – Aus £40, you can see that the UK system appears to have a greater funding contribution than Australia.
From this observation we should expect some differences with higher costs in Australia than we may be accustomed to. But we must weigh this against the lower medical charge that we pay via our wages.
UK: In the UK these are generally free for children and a charge of £7.20 for adults.
AUS: In Australia you will normally pay for them, including for children. Most prescriptions on the Government approved list (PBS) have a maximum charge of $32.90 (£16) as at Jan 2009, but many can be cheaper than this. Anti-biotics at $6.80 (£3.30) is a common one for me.
Annual Prescription Limits:
UK: In the UK you can buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) for £104.00 to cover 12 months prescriptions.
AUS: In Australia, once you have spent $1,264.90 on prescriptions, you become eligible for the PBS Safety Net, which then brings the cost down to only $5.30 per prescription for the rest of the year. People on low incomes have a MUCH lower threshold, and get future prescriptions free. More details at: Pharmaceutical Benefits and Medicare Safety Nets
Visits to the local Doctor:
UK: In the UK we are accustomed to these being always free, although often a bit of a wait to see the Doctor.
AUS: In Australia, about 70% of all visits to a GP are also free, but the other 30% will incur a charge, due to the nature of the Australian system of paying the Doctors. However, the ability to see a doctor much faster should also be considered. More details on this can be seen at Bulk Billing in Australia
UK: Transport by ambulance in the UK is free.
AUS: Transport by Ambulance in most Australian States comes with a cost. This cost can be from $200 – $300 up to $6-7,000 depending on the mode of ambulance: Road, Plane or Helicopter. Inexpensive insurance is available for those States that do charge for this. More details at: Ambulance Cover in Australia
Would be good if there were some references to refer to.
It’s important to realise that healthcare in Australia costs far more than the Medicare Levy (1.5% for middle income earners) provides. The Levy simply forms a part of our Income Tax rate (without being called a Tax!), but was introduced nominally to pay for the Medicare system when it was introduced.