Media releases

June 12, 2016

MEDIBANK WELCOMES COALITION COMMITMENTS ON AFFORDABILITY, TRANSPARENCY AND VALUE OF PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

Medibank welcomes today’s announcement by the Coalition that, if re-elected, it will focus on greater transparency and value for money for Australians with private health insurance.

“Medibank understands that our 3.9 million members are seeking greater transparency, affordability and value from their private health insurance,” Medibank Acting CEO, David Koczkar, said.

“Through the reform process to date, we have put forward a number of proposals to support these aims. We are pleased to see many of those ideas reflected in today’s announcement, including raising product standards, simplifying terminology and improving information sharing between consumers and insurers.

“New initiatives to avoid bill shock, standardise definitions and clearer commission arrangements will go a long way to ensuring that Australians find it easier to choose and use their private health insurance. This is consistent with Medibank’s goal of embedding greater transparency across our healthcare system.”

Mr Koczkar also welcomed the Coalition’s commitment to structural and regulatory reform, with a focus on ensuring the ongoing affordability of private health care in Australia.

“We clearly share the Coalition’s view that private insurance is a critical component of our world class health system, ensuring the sustainability of the entire system by taking pressure off Medicare and public hospitals. But if we are to maintain this success, action is needed on structural issues that are impacting affordability.”

“In particular, we need to address failed Prostheses List arrangements, cost shifting within the system and better incentivise insurers to invest in preventative and integrated care programs,” he said.

Mr Koczkar said the outdated Prostheses List process was seeing private health fund members charged up to five times the price for the same product as in the public system.

The Government announced in the 2016-17 Budget that the Prostheses List Advisory Committee will be refocused to deliver better value for consumers.

“We expect the Committee will deliver on the Government’s commitment to adjust pricing benchmarks so that private patients pay a fair amount for prostheses, with the savings going directly towards reducing the pressure on premiums,” Mr Koczkar said.

Prostheses make up 14 per cent of the costs paid by private insurers to hospitals. In FY14, the industry paid approximately $1.75 billion for prostheses items.

“There is much that can be done to improve the affordability of health care and in particular the transparency and value of private health insurance. We welcome the Coalitions recognition and ongoing commitment to the significant contribution private health care, and in particular private health insurance makes to the whole health system to the benefit of all Australians,” Mr Koczkar said.

“We call on the Opposition to support this important reform agenda and offer our commitment that we will work with any future Government to help achieve these reforms and ensure the ongoing sustainability of our world-class health system.”


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