The profiles of public and private patients in maternal healthcare: A longitudinal study to examine adverse selection

Jananie William*, Bronwyn Loong, Catherine Chojenta, Deborah Loxton

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this article, we investigate differences in the profiles of patients within the Australian mixed public-private maternal health system to examine the extent of adverse selection. There are conflicting influences on adverse selection within the private health sector in Australia due to government regulations that incentivise lower risk segments of the population to purchase community-rated private health insurance. We use a two-phase modelling methodology that incorporates statistical learning and logistic regression on a dataset that links administrative and longitudinal survey data for a large cohort of women. We find that the key predictor of private patient status is having private health insurance, which itself is largely driven by sociodemographic factors rather than health-or pregnancy-related factors. Additionally, transitioning between the public-private systems for a subsequent pregnancy is uncommon; however, it is primarily driven by changes in private health insurance when it occurs. Other significant factors when transitioning to the private system for a second pregnancy are hypertension, increased access to specialists and stress related to previous motherhood experiences. Consequently, there is limited evidence of adverse selection in this market, with targeted financial incentives likely outweighing the impact of community rating even during childbearing years where private health service use increases.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129-137
    Number of pages9
    JournalAnnals of Actuarial Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


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