THE Federal Government has announced sweeping reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for Leichhardt residents.
Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch said every dollar counts for local families, and these reforms will give them better value and make policies easier to understand.
“Private health insurance is an essential and valuable part of the Australia’s health system,” Mr Entsch said.
“Younger Australians now have an incentive to take up private health insurance with insurers allowed 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.
“On a one-off basis, people with hospital insurance who do not have full cover for mental health treatment can upgrade their premiums to access mental health services without a waiting period. This will significantly enhance the value of private health insurance for young people,” Mr Entsch said.
“To support people living in regional areas like Far North Queensland, insurers can now offer travel and accommodation benefits for people who need to travel for treatment. This will significantly benefit people in Leichhardt.
“For the first time since 2001, the Government has increased the maximum excess consumers can choose under their health insurance policies to allow them to reduce their premium increase in 2019, “ Mr Entsch said.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said many Australians currently find private health insurance confusing and their level of cover hard to understand.
“We will act to simplify private health insurance by requiring insurers to categorise products as gold/silver/bronze/basic, and use standardised definitions for treatments to make it clear what is and isn’t covered in their policies,” Minister Hunt said.
“The privatehealth.gov.au website will be upgraded to make it easier to compare insurance products, and insurers will be able to provide personalised information to consumers on their product every year.
“We’re also boosting the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and increasing its resources to ensure consumer complaints are resolved clearly and quickly,” Mr Hunt said.
The Federal Government is committed to private health insurance and supporting more than 13 million Australians who have taken out cover.
“We are investing around $6 billion every year in the private health insurance rebate to help keep premiums affordable for families across Australia,” Mr Hunt said.
“By contrast, Labor hates private health insurance and has already confirmed 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 Federal Government is committed to improving private health insurance into the future, and our reform work will continue,” Mr Hunt said.