Mind the gap: Price transparency in the Australian healthcare system

Project Details

The Australian healthcare system has come under intense pressure due to increasing demand and rising healthcare costs. Concerns have been raised by high and unexpected out-of-pocket fees charged by specialists and private hospitals. This in turn has resulted in consumers dropping private coverage, not seeking or delaying treatment, joining the queue for treatment in the public system, or using crowdfunding to reduce costs. Initiatives to improve price transparency have been proposed by the government and industry bodies to reduce pricing uncertainty and ‘bill shocks’ faced by consumers. The research aims to investigate the sources of variation in out-of-pocket costs and fees, and examine the impact of price transparency on consumers and providers’ behaviours.

The research program will utilise a mixed-methods research design involving three studies. Study 1 is a quantitative analysis of price variation using patients de-identified unit-record Medibank data on hospitalisations and detailed doctor’s survey information linked to claims data (MABEL-MBS linked data). The data cover a number of years to examine the association between patient, organisation, doctor, and market-area factors on fees charged. Study 2 is a qualitative analysis using data collected from interviews to understand how providers set their fees, participation in gap agreements with private health insurers, and impact of price transparency initiatives. Study 3 is a quasi-experimental study design using de-identified unit-record Medibank data to examine the effects of price transparency websites.

If you are a non-GP specialist working in the Australian private sector and are interesting in participating in an interview, click here for further information.


Professor Adam Elshaug

Professor Anthony Scott

Associate Professor Jongsay Yong

Dr Khic-Houy Prang

Dr Susan Mendez

Dr Camille La Brooy


The University of Melbourne

Medibank Better Health Foundation

Research Group

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Centre for Health Policy

MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.