Changes to benefit the elderly
NATIONAL Seniors Australia has welcomed the Federal Government’s reforms to health insurance, including the Prostheses List for devices that it said had been priced too high for too long.
The government unveiled the changes earlier this month aimed at bringing stability to a health insurance sector that is under pressure from falling membership.
National Seniors chief advocate Ian Henschke said the reforms were long overdue.
“Prostheses include everything from a new knee or hip to a heart valve,” Mr Henschke said.
“These are not optional extras – they are necessities to improve the lives of people, or even save their lives, so the reforms will help ensure seniors are not priced out of devices they may need urgently.”
Mr Henschke said older people also welcomed the new rating system for health cover policies.
“Rating them as gold, silver, bronze and basic is a lot simpler than the complex process in place at present,” Mr Henschke said.
“It will allow people choosing or switching health funds to compare policies more easily.
“These reforms are a step in the right direction but it remains to be seen if they can stop health fund members from downgrading their level of cover or dropping it altogether.
“Many older people are bailing out of health funds because they cannot afford to pay the premiums, as well as the power bill, and put food on the table.”
Mr Henschke said it was good to know the Health Insurance Ombudsman would have extra resources to investigate health funds, because greater scrutiny was critical to ensure cost reductions were passed on to consumers.