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2016 Major Report

Future health service use and cost: Insights from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

This report uses ALSWH data to identify expected trends in health status, health risks, and behaviours over the next two decades, and to compare trends across cohorts. Analysis of linked data on key health service use for women with different health and social needs provides an indication of potential service burden. The report also examines projected health disparities between women with different sociodemographic characteristics.

The overall effects of population ageing and population growth will result in an increase in healthcare expenditure. However, these effects are not equal for all population subgroups. A major driver of increased expenditure is obesity, with obesity rates increasing with age and over subsequent generations, and with obesity being a major driver of healthcare costs. Smoking is also a major driver of healthcare costs, but rates of smoking are projected to decrease so that smoking will account for a lower proportion of costs. Other factors likely to drive large increases in healthcare costs in the future include dementia and declines in phsyical function with consequent increased need for help with daily tasks. Education levels are projected to increase, potentially offsetting some increases in healthcare costs since women with higher levels of education have lower overall healthcare costs.

Mishra G, Chan H, Hockey R, Waller M, Kanesarajah J, Byles J, & Dobson A. Future health service use and cost: Insights from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Report prepared for the Australian Government Department of Health, June 2016.

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