Chronic care items favour lower income groups

A survey of 2862 patients aged 55 years or older found that, after controlling for need, MBS expenditure was relatively evenly distributed across income groups, but spending on chronic care items favoured patients in the lower income bands.

Chronic care items included those under the Chronic Disease Management (CDM) program, the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS) and various allied health services.

“This study provides evidence that Medicare funding is progressive in that a greater proportion of government subsidies for out-of-hospital Medicare items flow to lower income groups,” the study authors wrote.

While dental plans such as the CDDS – due to end on 1 December – have been taken up to a greater degree by lower income groups, people located in regional and remote areas were 69% less likely to use the CDDS than those in cities.

The two lowest income groups represented received 2.5 times the funding of