Time to knuckle down on healthcare affordability

With the federal election result settled, health insurers say they’re focussed on providing value for members and keeping costs down. 

Bupa’s Managing Director of Health Insurance, Dr Dwayne Crombie, welcomed the opportunity to work with the Morrison Coalition Government and contribute to policy discussion that will reduce out-of-pocket health costs for patients and improve affordability and value for money for health insurance members.

“We need to make sure value for our customers is at the centre of everything we do,” said Dr Crombie.

“Health insurers like Bupa need to work cooperatively with governments to look at reform across the entire health sector, not just singling out insurers.”

The peak lobby group for the private health insurance industry, Private Healthcare Australia, said a proposed Labor promise to cap private health insurance premium rises at 2% a year for two years would have put smaller funds at risk and threatened competition in the sector.

This year has seen the lowest increase in premium rises in 18 years, with an average of 3.25%. The federal government’s reforms to health insurance have seen the introduction of 4 categories to simplify insurance: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic.

AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, says the government needs to ensure the private health system remains strong.

“The private health insurance reforms need to be bedded down, and the integrity of the private health system and its symbiotic balance with public hospitals needs to be supported and maintained.”

This view is backed by Dr Crombie.

“Everyone in the health system, whether they are GPs, specialists, hospitals, governments or insurers needs to put consumers front and centre.”

“We can’t afford to carry on as if it’s business as usual. The pressure is on us all to come up with ideas and policies that will ensure the sustainability of the public/private balance that serves Australia well.”

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