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Industry News

06 Nov 2019

Australian Medical Association: "Private health insurance must be made more attractive"

AMA ReportPrivate health insurance must be made more attractive for more Australians if it is to survive, says the Australian Medical Association. The AMA has released its latest report card into private health insurance (PHI) and has warned that urgent action is needed to fix the troubled sector.

In launching the "AMA Private Health Insurance Report Card 2019", AMA President Dr Tony Bartone said PHI in Australia is on the precipice. He called on all stakeholders to work together to improve the system and make it more palatable for consumers, especially for young Australians.

The AMA Private Health Insurance Report Card 2019 provides consumers with clear, simple information about how health insurance really works. It also highlights an insurance system under pressure.

2019 has seen the implementation of the Commonwealth Governments reforms to Private Health Insurance. Reforms that have created the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic categories of insurance. The AMA has delayed the release of the Report Card to ensure the coverage of the implementation of these significant reforms appropriately. This years Report Card contains a section on what these reforms mean for your cover.

According to AMA, the Report Card highlights the varying levels of benefits and gaps across policies and the significant variation that can occur on a State-by-State, basis even across the same insurer. But the 2019 Report Card also shows a system on a precipice. With increases in premiums are averaging 3 to 5 per cent a year, while wages growth is firmly stuck at around 2 per cent. Premiums are going up because an ever-increasing number of younger and healthy Australians are opting out of private health insurance. This is leaving a higher proportion of older, less healthy, expensive-to-insure patients in the system.

AMA further states that Australians need a private health insurance system that offers affordable, transparent, and appropriate cover. The AMA calls on the Government to ensure that the private health sector remains efficient, robust, and productive. The Government must build on the reforms of 2018 and start to address indexation and variation in rebates and insurer contracts.

The full report is available at: https://ama.com.au/system/tdf/documents/AMA%20Private%20Health%20Insurance%20Report%20Card%202019_1.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=51510

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