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The impact of age and sex on person-level Medicare costs

To the Editor: The impact of population ageing on health care expenditure was a hot topic in the late 1990s in Australia.1 Previous studies have adopted various modelling approaches to estimate age- and sex-specific health care costs to inform population health care expenditure projections.24 Medicare funds about 3800 medical services, including consultations provided by general practitioners and specialists, medical diagnostic services (such as medical imaging and pathology), dental surgery, optometry and selected allied health services through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). It also funds about 2100 pharmaceutical therapies, or about 80% of all prescription medications dispensed in Australia, through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

This letter reports annual Medicare costs at the person level for 10-year age and sex groups, drawing on de-identified Medicare linked data. Medicare randomly selected 10 000 men and 10 000 women from each of the following 2009 age groups, irrespective of their associated Medicare expenditure: 15–24, 25–34, 35–44, 45–54, 55–64, 65–74 and 75–84 years. Health…