Health insurance review only sensible way forward

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A comprehensive review of private health insurance by the Productivity Commission, as put forward by the Opposition today, is the only sensible way forward out of the mess that private health insurance has become, says Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

‘Years of premium increases in a time of low wage growth and well-above-CPI increases, combined with proliferating exclusions, gap fees and policy documents which are constantly changing and often incomprehensible, has left many Australians wondering why they bother with health insurance.

‘This is an industry subsidised to the tune of $6 billion by taxpayers; has accrued $1.8 billion in profits; and holds around $6 billion in excess capital stocks above and beyond prudential requirements. It’s time for independent scrutiny by the Productivity Commission to determine if taxpayer dollars are being well-spent and to investigate if there are better ways to finance our public-private health system’, says Ms Verhoeven.

‘Labor’s proposal to cap premium increases to 2% per annum for two years while this review is under way, and to expand the regulatory powers of the ACCC to put a stop to further exclusions and tricky policy changes, will also be welcomed by policy holders.

‘Health insurance review processes in recent years have been dominated by insurers, private hospitals and doctor groups. Only a Productivity Commission review can provide a truly independent assessment of the value of private health insurance in funding our health system’, says Ms Verhoeven.


For more information on the AHHA, visit

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, Primary Health Networks, and community and primary healthcare services.

Media enquiries: Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association, 0403 282 501