The federal government is introducing a new system to allow private health insurance consumers understand what they are paying for, from April next year.
The government has unveiled the minimum hospital treatments covered by the new policy bands —gold, silver, bronze and basic—for the more than 70,000 private health insurance policies around the country, held by about 13 million Australians.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt argued the measure would give consumers more information about their coverage, and set benchmarks for the minimum services that would be offered under each policy regardless of insurer.
He said that the system will not lead to a change in prices for procedures. "What this means is we take the existing policies, no change in price, no change in coverage, but we make it simpler so everybody can see in one page exactly what is in place," he said.
The government has recommended that 20 basic hospital treatments including appendix surgeries, chemotherapy and tonsillectomies would be covered by all bronze policies. A gold policy includes everything, that may also include treatments many people don't need. Procedures such as IVF and joint replacements would be in this top gold band.