14/10/2017

Wide Bay residents to benefit from major private health insurance reforms

Federal Member for Wide Bay, Llew O’Brien said the Coalition Government has announced a wide ranging package of reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for people in Wide Bay.

“Private health insurance is an essential and valuable part of the Australia’s health system and these reforms make it more attractive for people to take out cover,” Mr O’Brien said.

“We are encouraging younger Australians to join private health insurance by allowing insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 per cent. The discount will phase out after people turn 40.

“People with hospital insurance that does not offer full cover for mental health treatment will be able to upgrade their cover and access mental health services without a waiting period on a once-off basis. This will significantly enhance the value of private health insurance for young people.”

“To support Australians in regional and rural areas, insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits for people in those areas who need to travel for treatment. This is of significant benefit to people in Wide Bay.

“We also understand that some people would like to be able to select a higher excess in exchange for lower premiums, so the maximum excess consumers can choose under their health insurance policies will be increased for the first time since 2001. 

“Many Australians find private health insurance confusing and their level of cover hard to understand. The Government is acting to simplify private health insurance by requiring insurers to categorise products as either gold/silver/bronze/basic, and use standardised definitions for treatments to make it clear what is and isn’t covered under their policies.”

The www.privatehealth.gov.au website will be updated to make it easier to compare insurance products, and insurers will be able to provide personalised information to consumers on their product every year.

The Government is also boosting the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and increasing its resources to ensure consumer complaints are resolved clearly and quickly. 

The Coalition Government is committed to private health insurance and committed to supporting the more than 13 million Australians that have taken out cover.  We are investing around $6 billion every year in the private health insurance rebate to help keep premiums affordable.

By contrast, Labor wants to undermine private health insurance and has already confirmed that they will cut the rebate. This will hurt millions of Australian families.  In Government, Labor cut $4 billion from the private health insurance rebate and means tested it. And now they’ve confirmed they want to do it again.

The Coalition Government is committed to improving private health insurance into the future, and our reform work will continue.