New insurance rules revealed
The Federal Government wants private health insurance premiums to be ranked to help consumers know what they are paying for.
The Government has unveiled new categories — gold, silver, bronze and basic — for the 70,000 private health insurance policies currently held by about 13 million Australians.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says consumers need more information about coverage. He also wants benchmarks for the minimum services offered under each policy regardless of insurer.
“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 changes should see more cancer treatments covered by private health, particularly for breast and ovarian cancer.
“There's been a disparity in the past between coverage of men and women for different types of cancers, so it's another important day for cancer treatment for women,” Mr Hunt said.
Shadow Health Minister Catherine King welcomed the new ranking system, but claimed not enough is being done to get rid of low-cost policies that provide little coverage.
Private Healthcare Australia (PHA), which represents major insurers, welcomed the new measures too.
“The basic and bronze tiers also provide affordable entry-level products for younger, healthier people who frequently go on to upgrade as they get older and their life circumstances change,” PHA chief executive Dr Rachel David said.
“The key issue with the lower cost tiers is effective communication to consumers about what is and isn't covered so they know what they are buying.
“The new classification and information system addresses this.”