Private health insurer Australian Unity welcomes the Coalition government’s reforms to private health insurance as a significant step on the path to improving affordability and value for consumers.
In particular, Australian Unity applauds the government’s calling out of the rorts in the medical device supply chain by introducing reforms to prostheses pricing, a reform that will be quickly reflected in the premiums of those holding private health insurance.
“Australian Unity will, like other insurers, pass on to consumers all the savings from prostheses cost reductions in the calculation of future premiums,” Australian Unity group managing director Rohan Mead said. “This is a clear win for consumers, both in terms of cost and safety, and it is one we are happy to support,” Mr Mead said.
“That said, the job of private health insurance reform is far from done. Further work is needed, notably in the area of transparency of health information such as clinician costs and outcomes data, to drive efficiencies in the cost of health care for Australians,” he said. “To borrow a phrase, this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning for private health insurance reform in Australia.”
Mr Mead said Australian Unity understands the difficulty consumers can face in understanding their PHI coverage, and has worked as part of the broader industry response in developing the government’s new Gold/Silver/Bronze/Basic classifications to be introduced in 2019.
“We want our customers to know what they are buying, and be sure that it provides security and value at their particular life stage,” he said.
The government’s reforms include a Lifetime Health Cover Discount for people aged 18-29 to encourage younger Australians to cover themselves for hospital visits, a mental health safety net allowing people to upgrade their cover to access in-hospital mental health services without serving a waiting period, and a new list of standardised clinical terminology to allow consumers to more easily compare policies.
“The reforms recognise the importance consumers place on their private health insurance and may help make PHI a more affordable part of the household budget,” Mr Mead said.
“We are pleased that steps are being taken to encourage and incentivise younger Australians to take up PHI, and also that mental health is a focus of the reforms, and will be monitoring these initiatives closely to see if they deliver the desired benefits.”
Stephen Lunn, Head of Government Relations and Advocacy, (03) 8682 6705 or 0401 704 352
About Australian Unity
Australian Unity is a national health, wealth and living mutual company providing services to almost one million Australians, including 300,000 members. Australian Unity’s history as a trusted mutual organisation dates back to 1840. It has grown organically—by continually evolving to provide the services and products needed by the communities it serves—as well as through successful strategic mergers and diversification in to new business activities.