Half of us cannot afford health insurance
ALMOST half of Fraser Coast locals do not have health insurance.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows our region has one of the lowest uptakes of health insurance in the country, with just 44,422 – 52.1 per cent – insured.
Private Healthcare Australia CEO Dr Rachel David said a lack of private medical providers in regional areas and the cost of insurance were behind the low take-up of health insurance.
“Most people take out health insurance because they want access to surgery on time, access to mental health services and to subsidised dental care,” she said.
“Wages haven’t really risen since 2009 but health inflation – that is the cost of meeting claims or services – has been rising about 5–6 per cent a year.”
Queensland Council of Social Services CEO Mark Henley said most Australians could not afford health insurance.
“Research shows about 63 per cent of families experienced financial difficulty in the past 12 months,” Mr Henley said.
“People across the state are having to make compromising decisions on paying their power bills, rent or to put food on their table.
“They are struggling just to pay for the essentials and health insurance is not considered by these people as an essential.”
The Federal Government expects to roll out legislation allowing policyholders to claim travel and accommodation related to hospitalisation.
“Our private health insurance reforms mean policies will be simplified and more easily understood so consumers get a clear picture on what is included in their policy,” a spokesman for Health Minister Greg Hunt said.