Insurers paint picture of health on reform package
HEALTH insurers Medibank Private and NIB have backed Federal Government health insurance reforms and say they will pass on the savings to customers.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced changes that include allowing insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29-year-olds by up to 10 per cent. The measures also include incentives for young people to take up insurance, lower prostheses prices and measures to make mental health services more accessible.
Medibank chief executive Craig Drummond said the affordability of health insurance was a key customer concern.
“This reform package is essential to keeping premiums affordable for our customers, with Medibank committing to return every dollar of these savings to customers,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“In an environment where the cost of healthcare continues to rise, reforms like this are paramount to addressing the issue of affordability.”
NIB chief executive Mark Fitzgibbon said lower prices for medical devices — such as artificial hips and knees or pacemakers — and the discounts in premiums for young people were particularly welcome.
Mr Fitzgibbon said NIB and other insurers had made “ironclad” undertakings to the Government to pass on reduced prices to policyholders.
He said patients in private hospitals had been paying up to five times the cost of medical devices compared to what public hospital patients paid for the same device.
He said that easily the most effective way to keep premium increases low was to attract more young people into private health insurance.
“That’s simply because it lowers the average claim cost,” he said.