A ministerial advisory committee is recommending that health insurance funds be required to offer a standard low-cost insurance policy.
With Health Minister Greg Hunt under increasing pressure to address affordability in the health insurance sector, the reform proposal could present an opportunity to intervene at the lower end of the market and help stabilise the sector, reported the newspaper, The Australian.
The Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee has been working to categorise tens of thousands of policies into Gold, Silver and Bronze. The committee, with insurance, hospital, clinician and consumer representatives, is also seeking to better understand members’ choices and perceptions.
Earlier this month, after health insurance premiums rose by an average of 4.84%, the committee discussed modelling by Deloitte actuaries on likely categories of health insurance and the impact on membership and premiums. Deloitte has been asked undertake further modelling and analysis on the services that could be covered by a basic health insurance product.
Meanwhile, a survey of more than 2,000 consumers has found that unnecessary health insurance extras are costing Australians millions each year, according to finder.com.au.
The survey of found around 15% of those with extras cover as part of their health insurance have not claimed anything in the last 12 months.
Separately, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority statistics reveals that 1.8 million of the 12.2 million Australians with extras cover are not putting it to use.
Speech therapy, naturopathy and lifestyle products like gym membership rebates were the least used extras with just 2% making claims.