Private health insurance, mental health and service use in Australia

Leach, Liana S., Butterworth, Peter and Whiteford, Harvey (2012) Private health insurance, mental health and service use in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 46 5: 468-475. doi:10.1177/0004867411434713


Author Leach, Liana S.
Butterworth, Peter
Whiteford, Harvey
Title Private health insurance, mental health and service use in Australia
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
1440-1614
Publication date 2012-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0004867411434713
Volume 46
Issue 5
Start page 468
End page 475
Total pages 8
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Sage Publications
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To report on the private health insurance (PHI) status of individuals with and without a mental health problem, and examine whether PHI status is associated with access to psychological services.

Methods: This is a descriptive study of nationally representative population-based data collected in 2009 (HILDA) with participants aged 15–93 (n = 13,301). Key measures included: PHI status (categorised as ‘hospital cover only’, ‘extras cover only’, or ‘both hospital and extras cover’); mental health status (categorised as ‘have a mental health problem’ or ‘do not have a mental health problem’ using the Mental Health Index (MHI) of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form); mental health service use (access to a mental health professional (psychologist/psychiatrist) in the past 12 months categorised as ‘yes’ or ‘no’).

Results: Individuals with a mental health problem were less likely to have PHI than those without a mental health problem. However, PHI was not associated with access to a mental health professional in the past 12 months.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that while the discrepancy in PHI status is a marker of inequity between those with and without a mental health problem, it is not a key factor in facilitating access to mental health services.
Keyword Private health insurance
Mental health
Service use
2007 National-Survey
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online before print: January 5, 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
 
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