BACKGROUND: Since the introduction in 1984 of Australia's publicly-funded universal healthcare system, Medicare, healthcare financing has relied on a mix of public and private sources to meet the needs of the population (Sowa et al., Appl Health Econ Health Policy 15:31-41 , 2018). However, in recent years, there has been a decline in the number of Australians choosing to purchase private health insurance (PHI), particularly within the young adult age group with the proportion of insurance customers aged 20 to 29 falling from 10.3 to 9.4% between 2012 and 2017 (Sivey, The Conversation , 2017). Young adults are critical to private health insurance funding models as their involvement offsets the drawdown by older adults (Dalzell and Borys, ABC News , 2019). While this issue is widely reported in the Australian media, few empirical studies have explored the factors that enable or constrain young adults' enrolment in PHI .
METHODS: To address the scarcity of research about the motivational factors behind young adult decision-making, this study conducted a survey of 594 Australian young adults aged between 18 and 30 years . Within this age group, the survey sought an equal split of participants who were members and non-members of PHI schemes .
CONCLUSION: The findings identified perceived value and trust in insurers as additional motivational factors alongside traditional measures of recognition of the problem and involvement in the problem . Differences between the insured and uninsured groups were identified which help to shape a more holistic understanding of the key motivational factors and barriers in relation to Australian young adults' enrolment in PHI.
Index: Australia, Private health insurance, Trust, Value, Young adults