Reforms spur insurers to target young customers
HEALTH insurers Medibank Private and NIB have backed Federal Government health insurance reforms and say they will pass on the savings generated by the changes to customers.
Medibank Private and NIB welcomed changes announced by Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday that include allowing insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29- yearolds 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 and affordable.
Medibank CEO Craig Drummond says the affordability of health insurance was a key concern for customers.
“This reform package is essential to keeping premiums affordable for our customers, with Medibank committing to return every dollar of these savings to customers,” Mr Drummond said in a statement yesterday.
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 Federal Government to pass on reduced medical device prices to policyholders.
Mr Fitzgibbon 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 – a situation that Mr Fitzgibbon described as “bordering on scandal”.
He said easily the most effective way to keep premium increases low was to attract more young people into private health insurance.
Under the reforms announced, the discount on policy premiums for young people will phase out after they turn 40.