Government Reform Packages for Private Health Funds Causing More Discouragement

Published: March 19, 2018

Government Reform Packages for Private Health Funds Causing More DiscouragementWhile private health insurance members await their yearly premium increase on 1 April 2018, you might soon have to pay even more to remain covered for joint replacements, IVF, hearing loss surgery, heart attacks and insulin pumps.

The Government’s private health insurance reform package will kick in next year on the 1st April 2019. The package is meant to simplify health insurance comparisons by introducing Gold/Silver/Bronze and Basic product categorisation.

It has now become clear that while such categories might make it easier to compare health funds, it will only be the top policies, soon to be known as Gold cover, that will provide members with coverage against more expensive benefits, including dialysis, cataract surgery, weight loss surgery and sleep studies.

Of the 17 general treatment areas, a health department issue paper shows that a Bronze package will cover a minimum of 4 general treatments, rendering it almost useless. Only when you commit to a pricey Gold package would you get access to treatments for podiatry, chiropractic, hearing aids and audiology and occupational therapy.

The proposed reforms would also make Silver cover impractical when planning to start a family because pregnancy and birth-related services will only be available in Gold packages.

These reforms are “clawing away at the value of health insurance” said Dr Michael Gannon, the Australian Medical Association president. Ian Burgess, Chief Executive Officer of the Medical Technology Association of Australia, concurred by saying that when limiting members to Gold to gain access to life-changing services it will only exacerbate the problem.

To this we ask, is it any wonder that complaints about health insurance have increased by a record of 30% within one year?

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