Private Health Insurance Review: much ado, not much done

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) is disappointed by the lack of progress in the Turnbull Government’s Private Health Insurance Review with the only follow-up action in tonight’s Budget being funding to establish a committee process.

During the consultation process, there were broad calls, including from the AHHA, for simpler products, better communication, policies which meet consumer need, better business practices, the removal or better application of the Private Health Insurance Rebate, and assurance that Australians without insurance would continue to have equitable and affordable access to health care.

“Tonight, Australians learn the Turnbull Government has kicked the can down the road and has not progressed its Private Health Insurance Review,” said AHHA Chief Executive Alison Verhoeven.

“The Turnbull Government will delay action on Private Health Insurance reform for three years while it establishes a committee and awaits a report even though 40,000 Australians provided input into the future of Private Health Insurance during the Government’s 2015 consultation process.

“Australians have expressed concerns about the complexity of private health insurance products, the lack of information provided by insurers and the value they receive for their insurance policies.

“In 2014–15 the Australian Government spent $5.8 billion on the Private Health Insurance Rebate, meant to assist Australians meet the cost of private health insurance. There is international evidence that the cost of subsidising private health insurance exceeds the fiscal benefits to the public sector.
“Three years is too long for action,” said Ms Verhoeven.

“Healthcare reforms must be considered as part of a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of care across the primary, acute, aged and disability care sectors. The lack of action on private health insurance is a lost opportunity.

Read AHHA’s Private Health Insurance Consultation submission here.

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