Australian Unity rejects consumer advocacy group Choice’s assertion (“Time to Trash ‘Junk’ Health Insurance Policies”) that our Basic Hospital cover is a “junk policy” offering no value to policyholders.
The facts are these:
- Australian Unity’s Basic Hospital cover is designed for young people with no major health issues, but who require hospital cover for peace of mind if they have an accident or require hospitalisation for a range of select procedures. The procedures covered under Australian Unity’s Basic Hospital policy are the most commonly claimed by those aged 20-39 (excluding pregnancy and related services and psychiatric hospitalisation):
- Removal of wisdom teeth, tonsils, appendix and adenoids;
- Joint reconstructions including procedures such as knee and shoulder reconstructions which are common requirements from sporting injuries; and
- Emergency ambulance transport and attendance where transport is not required
- Basic Hospital cover ensures policyholders don’t have to pay an additional Medicare levy when their income is above the base threshold set by the Federal Government and they don’t have an appropriate level of private health insurance, a significant financial consideration.
- Every Australian Unity customer is taken through a full assessment to ensure their policy suits their requirements. Where a consumer elects to purchase a lower level of cover we ensure they are aware of the procedures and services for which they are covered.
- Further, we ensure we communicate with policyholders to review their cover every two years or as their life circumstances change.
Australian Unity understands private health insurance is a complicated, confusing and increasingly expensive product for our customers. We explain to policyholders their level of cover and ensure it is the right policy for them and their family.
In terms of the cost of private health insurance, unfortunately Australian Unity, like other health funds, is severely restricted in its capacity to control rising costs in the healthcare system. For example, we are required by law to pay for all in-hospital procedures listed on the Medical Benefits Schedule even if they have been identified by healthcare safety experts as having low or no health benefit to patients.
That is why Australian Unity continues to advocate for fundamental reform of the health system to reduce the substantial amount of waste and inefficiency, and to focus more acutely on preventative health to keep people out of expensive hospital settings. This will reduce healthcare costs and the pressure on health insurance premiums in coming years.
Chief Executive Officer – Australian Unity Healthcare
For more information contact Stephen Lunn, Senior Manager Public Policy (03) 8682 6705
About Australian Unity
Australian Unity is a national healthcare, financial services, and independent & assisted living organisation providing services to almost one million Australians, including around 300,000 members. Australian Unity’s history as a trusted mutual organisation dates back 175 years. It has grown organically—by continually evolving and providing the services and products needed by the communities it serves—as well as through successful strategic mergers and diversification into new business activities.