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Articles on this Page
- 01/21/18--18:16: _Australian Consumer...
- 01/24/18--15:26: _Lowest premium incr...
- 01/30/18--21:58: _No pot of gold in h...
- 02/03/18--16:56: _Capping premiums wo...
- 02/12/18--02:37: _States must follow ...
- 02/12/18--17:43: _Health Funds delive...
- 02/25/18--16:44: _ALP confirms health...
- 03/24/18--22:29: _No Link Between Hig...
- 03/28/18--13:00: _Senate Report highl...
- 03/30/18--16:00: _The Value of Privat...
- 04/01/18--23:33: _PHI Rebate keeps Au...
- 04/03/18--18:25: _How many low-income...
- 04/29/18--22:47: _Health funds back e...
- 05/08/18--19:49: _Turnbull Budget del...
- 05/16/18--19:42: _Total PHI membershi...
- 05/23/18--19:35: _State Governments m...
- 05/27/18--17:59: _Urgent action on ou...
- 06/01/18--00:42: _Cancer claims incor...
- 06/26/18--18:22: _Arbitrary cap on pr...
- 07/03/18--20:30: _Revelations about s...
- 01/21/18--18:16: Australian Consumers Value Basic Cover
- 01/24/18--15:26: Lowest premium increase in 17 years
- 01/30/18--21:58: No pot of gold in health funds
- 02/03/18--16:56: Capping premiums won’t fix rising health costs
- 02/12/18--17:43: Health Funds deliver record benefits to members
- 02/25/18--16:44: ALP confirms health funds paid record benefits back to members
- 03/24/18--22:29: No Link Between High Priced Surgery and Quality
- 03/30/18--16:00: The Value of Private Health Insurance
- 04/01/18--23:33: PHI Rebate keeps Australia’s health system sustainable
- 05/08/18--19:49: Turnbull Budget delivers safety and quality in healthcare
- 05/16/18--19:42: Total PHI membership hits record numbers
- 06/01/18--00:42: Cancer claims incorrect
- 06/26/18--18:22: Arbitrary cap on premiums threatens future of smaller health funds
Australia’s peak representative body for the private health insurance industry has cautioned interest groups against reigniting the campaign to abolish low priced health cover, as consumers on those policies would face a premium increase of at least 16%.
Private Healthcare Australia CEO, Dr Rachel David said the Government’s decision to retain entry level policies as part of the PHI review was in the best interest of Australian consumers.
Australian health funds have demonstrated their commitment to improving the affordability and value of private health insurance for their members by delivering the lowest average premium increase in 17 years
Australian health fund margins have remained stable at 4.5-6% over the last decade with funds consistently paying 86 cents in the premium dollar back to members to funds their healthcare.
Private Healthcare Australia Chief Executive, Dr Rachel David said the Leader of the Opposition’s statement that “some of the biggest health insurance providers pocket a return of over 20 per cent” was misleading and painting an inaccurate picture for health consumers.
“The Opposition Leader’s policy to fix premiums at 2% for the first two years of a Labor Government won’t fix the challenges facing Australia’s health system and will undo years of reform which is just starting to deliver real dividends to Australian consumers,” said Private Healthcare Australia CEO, Dr Rachel David.
“There is only one reason premiums increase and that is because health funds are paying for more healthcare. The introduction of a capped premium model will do nothing to address increasing utilisation of private and public health services. The key driver of premium growth is increases in input costs such as the cost of medical devices, hospital accommodation, and provider fees charged by medical specialists and allied health providers. Health funds are strongly committed to continuing to provide these services to members.
“The COAG agreement on public hospital funding and health reform has put the issue of improved transparency firmly on the agenda, and this is very much in the interests of patients,” the CEO of Private Healthcare Australia, Dr Rachel David said today.
“The issue of harvesting patients from Emergency Departments and pressuring them to go private is now firmly on the national political agenda and we welcome this initiative. Public hospital cost-shifting to health funds adds more to premium costs than the average year’s premium increase. The issue of Emergency Department harvesting of private patients adds $1 billion a year to premiums and this is paid for mostly by pensioners and low income people with private insurance,” Dr David said.
Today’s APRA Quarterly Report confirms that health funds are delivering value for their members and returning the highest percentage of the premium back to members of all insurance types.
“Health fund profit margins were 5.16% in the 12 months to December 2017 and health fund profits have remained stable over the last decade running between 4.5 and 6%, significantly below the returns made by private hospital groups and medical specialist practices,” said Private Healthcare Australia CEO, Dr Rachel David.
“This report by PHI industry regulator APRA should leave no doubt that there is no pot of gold hidden in health funds, and put an end to misleading statements that “some of the biggest health insurance providers pocket a return of over 20 per cent”. (Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, NPC, 30 Jan 2018)
Private Healthcare Australia CEO, Dr Rachel David, said Labor’s latest crack at the private health insurance industry only confirmed that health funds were paying the highest percentage of premium back to customers of all insurance types.
“It makes no sense as it simply proves what we have been saying all along. Health funds are consistently paying 86 cents in the dollar back to their members in the form of benefits (it has been above 85 cents for 15 years) and this compares with 64 cents for general insurance.
“The figures also verify that there is no pot of gold hidden in health funds. Health fund profit margins were 5.16% in the 12 months to December 2017 and health fund profits have remained stable over the last decade running between 4.5 and 6%, significantly below the returns made by private hospital groups and medical specialist practices.
Private Healthcare Australia’s CEO Dr Rachel David says the majority of medical specialists in Australia try to the right things by their patients, but she has advised consumers to ask for quotes up front in advance of surgery.
Responding to media reports about excessive out-of-pocket costs, Dr David said most specialists are aware that patients are in a vulnerable position when discussing the potential costs of treatment, but there are exceptions.
“Many patients are able to have their treatment with no gap or a known gap, but it pays to be prepared well in advance of surgery,” she said.
Private Healthcare Australia has called for increased transparency across the medical device supply chain in response to Senate Inquiry report into the “number of women in Australia who have had transvaginal mesh implants and related matters”.
PHA Chief Executive, Dr Rachel David, said the report highlighted the need for a more rigorous evidence base to ensure that medical devices are safe for patients, including effective post‐marketing surveillance on all implants and formal registry data for new implants.
“Better post-marketing surveillance will help to avoid these adverse events in future, ensure they can be quickly identified and addressed in the interests of patient safety,” Dr David said.
The report identifies hundreds of women who have been adversely affected by transvaginal mesh devices that were on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods and the Prostheses List over a period of many years.
“Private Health Insurance gives consumers the peace of mind to know exactly when they can be admitted for surgery and other essential medical treatments and that is why the vast majority of consumers value it despite concerns about affordability,” according to Private Healthcare CEO Dr Rachel David.
Dr David said while this year’s average premium increase of 3.95% was the lowest in 17 years, no one liked to see premiums rise and the PHI industry had demonstrated its commitment to improving affordability by returning savings from medical device reform to health fund members.
Private Healthcare Australia CEO Dr Rachel David said Labor’s failure to guarantee the future of the Private Health Insurance Rebate (Catherine King, Sky News 2 April 2018) will cause great concern among low and middle income earners and older Australians who value their private health insurance.
“The means-tested PHI rebate is paid to individuals on low and middle incomes to help them access non-emergency surgery, mental health care and dental care among other medical procedures. It is not paid to health funds.
“About 50 per cent of people with private health insurance have an annual income of under $50,000 a year. The majority of those are either full pensioners, part pensioners or superannuants on low incomes and these people will be hardest hit by further change.
Australia’s peak body representing the Private Health Insurance industry says Labor should clarify how many policies will have the PHI rebate removed and how many low income earners will be hit with big premium increases caused by this policy change.
“Labor must explain the changes it has “already announced” to the Private Health Insurance Rebate for the sake of millions of low-income earners who value their PHI. After refusing to rule out further changes to the rebate on Monday (Catherine King, Sky News 2 April 2018), Labor issued a clarification saying there would be no changes in addition to what had already been announced,” said Private Healthcare Australia CEO Dr Rachel David.
“In the media today Labor said it would remove the rebate on so-called junk policies, but to date no-one has explained how a ‘junk policy’ is defined. Labor should come clean and explain how many policies are affected, who will be impacted, and by how much premiums will increase in the future as a result of this measure.
Private Healthcare Australia CEO, Dr Rachel David, said the Government’s response to the latest MBS Review Taskforce recommendations was an endorsement of evidence-based healthcare in Australia and would lead to better health outcomes and value for consumers.
“The PHI industry has long supported this clinician-led review which makes recommendations to the Government on how the MBS can be modernised to improve patient outcomes, safety and reduce waste,” said Dr David.
The Turnbull Government’s 2018-19 PHI Budget measures demonstrate its commitment to making quality healthcare more accessible and affordable for all Australians.
The Government’s response to taskforce recommendations from the Medicare Benefits Schedule Review will ensure best clinical practice and save $189.7 million over three years.
PHA Chief Executive Dr Rachel David said the review was delivering evidence-based healthcare in Australia, better health outcomes for patients and value for consumers.
Private Health Insurance reforms have had a positive impact on PHI membership with the latest APRA figures showing an extra 50,000 Australians have taken out health cover in the 12 months ending March 2018. There is now a record 13.58 million Australians with either hospital cover, extras or both.
Private Healthcare Australia CEO Dr Rachel David said APRA’s data corrects a flawed Roy Morgan survey that claimed 250,000 people chose to drop PHI over the past year.
“This assessment is far from the truth. In fact more Australians than ever currently hold PHI. What people say they might do and what they actually do can be quite different and our research has repeatedly shown than 80% of people with PHI value it and want to keep it”, said Dr David.
“The harvesting of patients from public emergency departments and pressuring them to go private, risks undermining Medicare and the Australian health system,” said Dr Rachel David, CEO of Private Healthcare Australia.
“The AIHW Report shows that the median wait time for elective surgery for public patients (42 days) in public hospitals is twice as long as that of patients using private health insurance to fund all or part of their admission (21 days).
“This discriminating practice by public hospitals has been highlighted as an issue of national concern but the latest AIHW Report Admitted patient care 2016-17: Australian Hospital Statistics shows no sign that public hospitals are reducing their cash grab from the private sector.
Private Healthcare Australia Chief Executive Dr Rachel David has called for a whole-of-sector commitment to increase transparency and tackle escalating out-of-pocket costs faced by consumers in the private health sector.
The need to challenge growth in out-of-pocket medical expenses for consumers has been highlighted by the ABC’s Four Corners program.
Private Healthcare Australia contributed to the investigative report, which sought to expose the extent to which unexpected and unexplained out-of-pocket expenses are undermining the private healthcare system.
PHA’s Chief Executive Dr Rachel David said despite health funds having no legal influence over specialists’ fees and charges, consumers often blamed them for gap payments.
Media reports that women will only be covered for breast cancer treatment under the most expensive health fund policies are wrong, PHA Chief Executive Dr Rachel David said today.
“These claims cause unnecessary concern and stress for health consumers.
“Health funds have worked with the Government, hospitals, doctors and consumers to develop a plan that makes it easier for people to choose and use the products that are already available, which will be released in coming months.
The CEO of Private Healthcare Australia Dr Rachel David has confirmed Australia’s smaller regional and employee-based health funds will be under threat in the immediate future, if premium increases are arbitrarily capped at 2%.
“If something sounds too good to be true it usually is, and Labor’s 2% premium cap policy is no exception. The reason premiums increase is because health funds are paying for more healthcare. The reasons for this are the same as in the public system - an ageing population and advances in medical science,” said Dr David.
“The introduction of a capped premium model will do nothing to address increasing utilisation of private and public health services. The key driver of premium growth is increases in input costs such as the cost of medical devices, hospital accommodation, and provider fees charged by medical specialists and allied health providers.
“Health funds desperately want to offer lower premiums and higher value, but this can only be done if Government and stakeholders work cooperatively to drive down input costs and address inappropriate regulation.
“Revelations by the ABC 7.30 Report yesterday about secret rebates paid against cardiac device benefits must be swiftly dealt with by the Federal Government. The regulation of transparency in the medical device market must dramatically improve,” CEO of Private Healthcare Australia Dr Rachel David said today.
"This is a clear indication medical device prices in the private sector are still overvalued, putting upward pressure on health fund premiums for all health fund members, and exposing patients to the risk of over‐servicing and unsafe care, as the incentives are wrong.”
"The Federal Government has taken an important first step by decreasing mandated benefits for cardiac devices by 30% over 2 years, but we need a proper system of mandated price disclosure and reference pricing to bring the medical device market in line with the pharmaceutical sector”
“This means device benefits will reflect real market prices, and the real sale price and any cash or other benefits paid to providers must legally be disclosed by the device companies.”