The head of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has railed out against the numerous health insurance policies being sold in the country.
"There is a bewildering number of policies, and it worries us that this might be quite deliberate," said AMA President Michael Gannon in a speech to the National Press Club earlier this week. “The truth is there are literally thousands and thousands of different types of policies."
He believes that many policies do not cover treatment for many illnesses and are ripping people off. He said: "Policies for people over the age of 60 that exclude them from having their hips or knees fixed, or having their eyes fixed, are silly.
"Policies that literally will enable a single man to access maternity care, but exclude him from something else he might need are again so ridiculous, it would be funny if it wasn't so serious."
Dr Gannon called for the law to be changed to ensure all policies contain a minimum level of cover.
“There are more than 20,000 policy variations around the country,” he said. “They are littered with inconsistent terminology and a bewildering array of exclusions, caveats, carve-outs, and excesses. Private health insurance should serve the needs of health consumers who have paid for it. Patients should not have healthcare options available to them curtailed for profits.”
But Private Healthcare Australia Chief Executive Dr Rachel David said the large number of policies had not been intentionally designed to confuse the public.
"The reason that there has been an increase in the number of products where some treatment areas are excluded is because consumers are offered more bespoke products or products that are tailored to their life stage."