New Plan to tackle rising health insurance premiums
Health Minister Greg Hunt has initiated another review of private health insurance that aims to reduce premiums and reverse declining membership, which experts warn risks pushing out wait times in the public system.
The review follows on from recent reforms which included a new clinical category for pain management as well as inclusion of pain management without a device in bronze, silver and gold categories.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) release of its Private Health Insurance Annual Coverage Survey for 2018, sparked a series of concerns, with the report noting that that 65,000 fewer Australians had health insurance in December 2018 compared to a year earlier. The numbers marked the largest 12-month fall in private hospital coverage in 15 years, with falls across most age groups - and the most pronounced falls among healthy young adults.
Grattan Institute health economist Stephen Duckett, who released a paper this month warning that the private health insurance sector was in a "death spiral", said the new data "only reinforces the point" that drastic change was needed.
The minister is now looking for savings and wants stakeholders to come to him with suggestions, having already cut the cost of prosthetic devices such as hip and knee replacements.