Your simple guide to the changes to private health insurance
and what they mean for you
In October 2017, the Australian Government announced changes to the Private Health
Insurance industry in an effort to make it easier to compare and more affordable.
The details of the changes were recently finalized by the Government.
While most of the changes will have taken effect from 1 April 2019,
some of the key changes are able to be implemented by private health insurers over
a 12 month period leading until 1 April 2020.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key changes and
they might affect you.
Simplifying levels of cover
In the past, names, tiers and levels of cover and the terminology used to describe covered
treatments have been inconsistent from fund to fund, making it hard for members to compare
The new Government changes are aimed at offering simplicity for all members and creating a
consistent tiered level system for hospital cover across every health fund (with the aim of a
new standardised way to describe categories of hospital treatment).
As part of the Government changes, all health funds must,
by 1 April 2020, offer all Hospital and Combination products under
four Product Tiers: Basic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Under each tier is a set of minimum requirements for inclusions,
which form the baseline for what a policy must offer –
to ideally make comparing products between funds easier.
Products that offer extra inclusions above the minimum requirements
will be able
to use “Plus” or “+” within the name of the product, for example
“Basic Plus”. This applies to all tiers except Gold which has the
highest level of cover.
We will be categorising our products under the new tiers and
communicating the specific impacts of this to our members soon.
The impact for most Australian Unity members is likely
to be minor, however, we’ll contact our customers shortly with
more information on which tier their product will fall into and
how to review their cover.
What else is changing?
Removal of some natural
From 1 April 2019, the Government will cease providing
the Australian Government rebate for extras policies
that offer certain natural therapies. It is the opinion
of the Government that these therapies don’t have the
supporting evidence as to their therapeutic benefits.
As such, in order to offer complying health insurance
products, these excluded natural therapies must be removed
from all health insurance policies effective from 1 April 2019.
The following natural therapies
will no longer be covered under any
health fund policy, including Australian
Unity's, and will be
from all products.
Remedial Massage, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture will
not need to be removed as part of the Government changes.
Removal of 16 natural therapies from private health insurance
As with all funds, Australian Unity will be
updating its products to remove the excluded
natural therapies listed above, effective
1 April 2019. If you are an Australian Unity
member who is currently covered for these
natural therapies, we will be contacting you
soon with more information about the changes
and the relevant updates that will be happening
to your policy.
While these natural therapies will not be
covered by private health insurance from
1 April 2019, Australian Unity encourages
those that find benefit in using these natural
therapies to continue to do so.
What else is changing?
Increase to maximum excess levels
From 1 April 2019 health insurance funds will have the
option to offer members the ability to pay a higher
excess when going to hospital in exchange for a lower
monthly premium, similar to the way car insurance currently works.
Previously, the maximum excess customers could pay
with any health fund was $500 (for singles).
From 1 April 2019, private health insurers will be
able to offer members the option of paying up to
a $750 excess for singles and up to $1500 excess for couples and
From 1 April 2019, Australian Unity plans
to offer members the option to pay a higher
excess on selected health insurance products.
Australian Unity members will only have their
excess increased on existing products if they choose
to, otherwise it will remain at the current level.
What else is changing?
Changes to tax statements
As part of the Australian Government changes to Private Health Insurance, health funds are no longer required to automatically provide members with an annual tax statement.
Australian Unity will be issuing tax statements in July to all members for the final time this year. Tax statements will be issued from 10th July 2019.
If you lodge your tax return online with myTax or a registered tax agent, your health insurance tax information should be automatically populated in your tax return by 20 July. You won’t need to enter this information yourself.
If you lodge your tax return on paper, you will need your tax statement for the required information.
We’re providing your tax statement this year but in future we won’t automatically send it to you. Instead, you’ll be able to access it through australianunity.com.au/memberservices by clicking on the ‘Communications’ menu. Or you can call us on 13 29 39 to request a copy to be sent to you.
When is this happening?
We have been a trusted partner for Australians for over 175 years and we are committed to
guiding you through the coming changes.
Australian Unity will be in contact with our members before 1 April 2019 to notify them of
how the changes will specifically affect them and their policy.
Want to talk to someone?
If you have any other questions about how these changes
might affect your health cover
email us by logging into your Online Member Services.